Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (8)
Coverage from ATP 250 Tournament in Newport, Rhode Island, July 4-10, 2011
The Induction of Andre Agassi and Peachy Kellmeyer into the International Tennis Hall of Fame
ANDRE AGASSIEarlier in the week of the Class of 2011 Induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, journalists who have been covering the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships and the Hall of Fame inductions for many years concurred that the best speech they had witnessed was Andre Agassi's introduction of wife Stefanie Graf during her induction in 2004. "Not a dry eye in the place," someone remarked.
On Saturday, July 9, one could see sunglasses covering up teary eyes on many in the media section as Agassi showed he's no two-time wonder (his speech at retirement during the 2006 US Open was also one of the most memorable in tennis). In his moving and eloquent speech, the honoree talked of his father's dreams, his heroes Arthur Ashe, Billie Jean King, and Nelson Mandela, and his gratitude to the sport for giving him the opportunity to become who he is today.
He credited his serve for his win, noting the week in Newport had been the best service week of his career, but John Isner, the 2011 Campbell's Hall of Fame Champion, believes that he has other weapons as well. He believes he has improved his all-court game but has not been "putting things together" during matches. Isner had not won back-to-back matches since the Sony Ericsson Open in March before coming to Newport. He had also lost three straight ATP Finals in 2010, in close matches against friends Sam Querrey (twice) and Mardy Fish. Thus, nerves crept in during the second set of Sunday's Final, as he failed to convert all five break point opportunities he had. But Isner was able to overcome them, winning in a tiebreak, 6-3, 7-6(6).
Isner's opponent in the Final, Olivier Rochus, agreed that the American, "has much more than the serve," praising Isner's touch at net, slice, and movement "for a guy his size."
- atp newport
- tennis tournament
- tournament coverage
- campbell's hall of fame tennis
- singles title
- doubles winners
- ryan harrison
- exhibition match
- brad gilbert
- andre agassi
- todd martin
- owen davidson
- davidson tennis
The main attraction on Saturday was, quite obviously, the induction of the Class of 2011 Hall of Famers Peachy Kellmeyer and Andre Agassi into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Excited crowds gathered to watch the sold-out ceremony. While honoree in the Contributor category Kellmeyer is more than worthy of her place in the Hall, having been integral to the development of women's tennis, the fans came out for Agassi. As Agassi noted in his speech, tennis has certainly "loved him back," and judging by the fans' applause, will continue to do so.
Do It, Do It, Do It Again
The Induction Ceremony began twice today, as Christopher Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, was over a minute into his opening speech when he was forced to halt and repeat the introduction. The culprit? While the ceremony started on schedule at 12:30, Tennis Channel, which broadcast the induction, was not quite as prompt.
- tennis doubles
- john isner
- olivier rochus
- andre agassi
- ryan harrison
- tennis coverage
- tennis hall of fame
- michael yani
- tobias kamke
- induction ceremony
- peachy kellmeyer
- oli rochus
- casino curse
- tennis tournament
- campbell's international hall of fame tennis championships
- tennis championships
- todd martin
Visitors to the International Tennis Hall of Fame come to see tennis history. But what is it like to look through history if you helped to shape it? Only a few will know, and the short list certainly includes legendary journalist Bud Collins, who, with wife and photographer Anita Klaussen, joined Mike and Betty Agassi, Andre’s parents, in the museum Friday morning.
Pictures from an Exhibition
In a room solely devoted to Andre Agassi at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, video of the 2011 Inductee’s career highlights plays. While Mike Agassi is answering some questions for the ATP World Tour, Andre’s mother Betty watches the screen with obvious pride, enthralled, as if seeing her son on television for the first time. She walks off after a bit, and Mike takes her place. He watches, with the same emotion.
“He was a character, huh?” Mike Agassi says to me, asking for validation. His voice is shaking, and I don’t know if that’s part of his accent, or if he is holding back tears. I nod. “With the handkerchiefs on his head… Those handkerchiefs were selling like crazy.” Mr. Agassi returns his attention to the TV screen. He watches Andre in the early years, losing on clay, triumphing on grass, holding up trophies.
“Time to move on, Mr. A,” says Betty Agassi as her husband lingers in a room dedicated to what Andre has written had been Mike Agassi’s lifelong dream.
On the day of his first round upset of Ivo Karlovic, Denis Kudla woke up just 45 minutes before the 11:00 match start, having forgotten to set his alarm. But today, Kudla was on the grounds just in time for breakfast, as were his quarterfinal opponent Michael Yani, 2011 Hall of Fame Inductee Peachy Kellmeyer, Miss Rhode Island, and the legendary Bud Collins. They all came out early to participate in the Angela Moore Fashion Show and Champagne Breakfast fundraiser. Collins, tennis' favorite storyteller, wore his famous colorful pants, of course, demonstrating at least three different designs.
Every morning, the U.S. national anthem is performed at start of play at Newport, and the tournament pauses. Not only all the spectators in the stadium, but also club members playing on the open courts behind it, stand. And only the crisp sound of a ball struck against a racquet at high speed disrupts the majesty of the a capella performance. It comes, of course, from the ATP players' practice courts. Professional tennis doesn't stop for anything.
Firsts and Seconds
An ATP 250 draw like Newport's provides many opportunities, opportunities for players like John Isner who are in a bit of a slump to hit a few great serves and make a first semifinal of a year, or for players like Kudla and Yani to have their breakthrough, at 18 or at 30.
During Tommy Haas' first round match over Michael Berrer, a photographer in the photo pit enquired why a player of Haas' caliber would take a wildcard into an ATP 250 tournament following a Grand Slam. The answer could be simple – Haas had not won a match since San Jose last year, and even that tournament was a brief precursor to the German's long injury absence. Beating Berrer in straight sets, Haas looked fit and healthy. And even in practice this morning, there was no obvious sign of his chronic lower back injury. Yet the injury was there, and, after getting treatment early in the Second Round match and attempting to play, Haas retired down 2-5. His comeback thwarted, it is hard to tell how soon and how many times we'll see the 33-year-old on court again.
Patrick McEnroe's suggestion earlier this year that American youngsters should see more clay courts is being heeded here at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. With the help of Har-Tru Sports, a new green clay (or HAR-TRU) court was opened today on the grounds, with a kids' clinic held to initiate it. In addition to being equipped with special hydration through "Hydro Court" technology, the court also has special lines for 10 & Under tennis, and works with the guidelines of USTA's Quickstart program for kids. Now, there will be two ways of getting green stains on your tennis gear here.
"I came here believing I can win this tournament," said Denis Kudla, the young victor over Ivo Karlovic. Kudla, who trains at a USTA academy in Florida, attributed his confidence from practicing with the professionals. In his sophomore year on the main Tour, the Ukrainian-born 18-year-old has noticed that he can play as well as any of the up-and-comers of his generation (he noted Bernard Tomic, among others), and that he has "every shot" but makes a lot of errors.
Karlovic served well in his first-round match, but returned even less effectively than usual, allowing the American to adjust to his serve and finally break the Croatian in the deciding set, winning 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4.
Although he is ranked just barely in the Top 400, Kudla's ambition is admirable, and his win over Karlovic showcased an ability to adapt and impose his own rhythm. His strength will certainly get tested in the Second Round, however, when he faces second seed Grigor Dimitrov.
On the way to historical Newport, Rhode Island, one drives through two arched bridges high above yacht-infested waters, then turns into a town much unchanged in at least a century and a half, save for the car traffic on its narrow streets. The old-town feeling only intensifies upon entering the grounds of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the host of Campbell's Hall of Fame Championships, the only grass-court tournament outside Western Europe. The compact green (even beyond the courts) grounds, the architecture, and the wooden seating all contribute to a relaxed, village-like atmosphere of lawn tennis perhaps lost on other surfaces and even at the bustling Wimbledon grounds.
German vs. German
Dustin Brown, who, beyond the famed dreadlocks, is tall and lean and looks like he has just the right type of game for grass, played sub-par tennis in the first two sets of his match against fellow German Matthias Bachinger. Bachinger has only won two Tour-level matches in his career prior to today, but he has a steady grass-court game, and reached the final at the ATP Challenger in Nottingham last month.