This week sees the start of the Rogers Cup in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, featuring both the men’s and women’s game. What was initially looking like a strong line up for each event, both have been hit by some withdrawals, most notably that of Rafael Nadal and Li Na. Two time major winner Na has been forced to pull out of both the Rogers Cup and US Open with Nadal out for two to three weeks, putting his US Open place under threat.
However, rather then seeing this as a disappointment, the withdrawals could open the series up completely, making for a close, well fought contest right the way up to the US Open itself. Last year, Nadal took the US Open series by storm, winning in Montreal, Cincinnati and of course Flushing Meadows. Meanwhile, the withdrawal of Li Na, along with that of Yvonne Meusburger, has given an opportunity to America’s Alison Riske. Further good news for US tennis sees four American players receiving wildcard entries in to the Western and Southern Open, with Jack Sock, Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey and Robby Ginepri now entering the main draw for the tournament.
Following the Citi Open event last week, winner Milos Raonic now ties John Isner at the top of the men’s series standings with 70 points each. Isner was been disappointed with his performance and made reference to the fact his match was played on a secondary court instead of the main arena. Steve Johnson, his victor, also commented on how the schedule has been set for international television audiences. Nonetheless, Johnson managed to progress to the quarter final where he lost out to fellow American Donald Young, who reached his first ATP tournament semi-final for the first time since 2011. So, despite Isner’s criticism, US players featured right up to the semi-final stage of the event.
Meanwhile, Serena Williams captured her fourth title of of 2014, winning the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford and in doing so climbed to the top of the US Open Series Challenge standings with 70 points. Other US players making the current ladies standings are Varvara Lepchenko, Sachia Vickery and Venus Williams. In the men’s series, Jack Sock, Donald Young and Steve Johnson all join John Isner on the leaderboard.
Moving on to the Rogers cup, the draw for both events looks very strong indeed. With one side of the men’s draw featuring Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov and Andy Murray, there are some very tasty matches in prospect throughout the tournament. Donald Young will be hoping to push on from his performance at the Citi Open and use the momentum to do well in Toronto.
Serena Williams will be reunited with coach Patrick Mouratoglou in Montreal, however, the American representatives have been given a tough draw with Madison Keys facing Citi Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round and the possibility of Sloane Stephens meeting Jelena Jankovic in the second round. Serena Williams finds herself in the half of the draw that includes her sister, Venus plus Eugenie Bouchard and Maria Sharapova, a very difficult route to the final.
Having said that, tennis fans want to see the best players playing each other and they will certainly get their wish over the course of the next week. With worldwide television coverage really starting to pick up and Flushing Meadows drawing ever closer, excitement is sure to reach a new high with the worlds best on show this week.
John Isner successfully defended his Atlanta Open title, defeating Israeli Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-4. Isner looked comfortable throughout the majority of the match. At 6 foot 10 inches, Isner towered over his 5 foot 9 inch opponent and with the hot conditions also playing in his favor, the American was firing down serves 20mph faster than Sela. Breaking Sela’s first service game of the match was the early deciding factor. The Israeli player struggled to break back (no surprise there!). Isner now moves on to the next tournament in the series, the Citi Open in Washington, DC.
Despite losing the final to Isner, Sela did manage to defeat Sam Querrey 6-2, 6-4 in the second round. This result hurt Querrey whose serve alone should have dominated Sela, but he was ultimately broken on four occasions by the eventual runner-up. On a brighter note, Jack Sock continued where he left off at Wimbledon and took the doubles crown and also reached the semifinals of the singles draw.
A stronger men’s draw featuring Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori will be a bigger challenge for Isner, Sock and Querrey at the Citi Open in Washington, DC.
Currently sitting first and third in the men’s series standings after the first tournament, Isner and Sock have the opportunity to gain more points in Washington this week and help create further public interest in the series. Sam Querrey will want to put last week behind him and try and get some momentum going as August fast approaches and the top players from around the world make their way to Montreal and Toronto. Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys will also be hoping to find their form in Washington, DC before heading to Montreal where the bigger names are yet to come in the lead up to the US Open at Flushing Meadows next month.
With the 2014 US Open Series now under way at the Atlanta Open, which US players should tennis fans be looking out for during the series? Without having too much to shout about recently, are there any US players capable of winning a tournament, or even the series?
John Isner has opted to enter every event leading up to the US Open, and can probably be considered the biggest hope for the US on the Men’s side of the game. Returning to the Atlanta Open as defending champion, Isner will hope to build on his two other final appearances last year, and make a strong challenge at Flushing Meadows.
Having performed well at both Eastbourne and Wimbledon, Californian Sam Querrey will be coming into the series with confidence despite dropping out of the top 50. Querrey enjoys playing on the hard court surface and will be looking forward to feeling it under his feet again during the US Open Series.
Another player who will be looking to impress having just won the Wimbledon doubles crown is Jack Sock. Winner of the junior US Open title in 2010, Sock will be hoping to get off to a good start in Atlanta and progress beyond the third round of the US Open, his best finish to date.
Switching attention to the ladies side of the game, Serena Williams is the name that really stands out when looking at potential US contenders. However, having suffered her earliest exit at Wimbledon since 2005 and losing in the second round of the French Open, Williams has been struggling to make an impact at the major tournaments this year. Having said that, she should be buoyed by her series win in 2013 and will be looking to replicate it this year.
After reaching the fourth round of the US Open in 2013, 21 year old Sloane Stephens will want to put her first round Wimbledon defeat behind her and focus on the upcoming series. With a game more suited to the hard court surface, Stephens will want (and need) some confidence boosting performances during the US Open Series.
Florida based player Madison Keys comes into the 2014 series having won her first WTA event at Eastbourne earlier this year. Coupled with a semi-final appearance at the Apia International hard court event in Sydney earlier this year, the 19 year old certainly has the ability to do well in the lead up to the US Open and is a potential star of years to come.
What American player do you think has the best chance to make it far in the series, and at the US Open? Let us know on our Facebook page.
The annual US Open Series returns in 2014 with a fantastic line up of events and players that will capture the imagination of US tennis and sports fans everywhere.
Spectators can see the world’s best players in action all across the country. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick are among the men who have captured the Series crown, while the women’s champions include Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki.
Launched in 2004 to bring more attention to tournaments in the US, the series continues to grow in strength, with record prize money being handed out in 2013 to both Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. By each winning their respective US Open Series and US Open titles, each player earned a staggering $3.6 million in prize money, a record for a singles tournament.
The US Open Series is structured so every tournament in the schedule matters. Bonus points are awarded to players based on their individual performances at each event. The winner of each event receives 100 points, with the runner up receiving 70, semi-finalists 45, quarter-finalists 25 and players reaching the round of 16 will receive 15 points. By structuring the points distribution this way, it keeps every player involved and accruing points, even if they fail to make it beyond the last 16 of a tournament. There are further bonus points available if a player participates in 3 or more events, thus encouraging players to play in as many tournaments as they can if they want to maximize their chances of winning big money.
The players who finish with the most points at the end of the US Open Series then have the opportunity to claim a $1,000,000 bonus if they can also win the show piece event, the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
With the first tournament in the US Open Series commencing on the July 21st, excitement is building. If you can’t make a tournament yourself, the television coverage is getting better all the time, with at least 200 hours of US Open Series tennis available and every men’s and women’s final shown live.
However, nothing beats being at the event yourself and time is running out to secure your seat at the final Grand Slam event of calendar year, the US Open. With the prestigious US Open titles and trophies on the line, along with the opportunity to win massive bonuses, this year’s event is sure to be full of great tennis and huge drama.
Each year as May approaches, we are thankful here at Grand Slam Tennis Tours for Roland Garros, or as many refer to it, the French Open. What better excuse to visit Paris than to see all the top players go head-to-head on the “dirt”, or red clay.
Held at the end of May into the beginning of June (this year’s dates are May 25 – June 8), Roland Garros is home to some of the most memorable matches the game of tennis has witnessed. Due to the slow playing surface and the lack of a 5th set tiebreak, it is considered to be the most physically demanding major.
Who could forget Nadal’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7 win over top-seeded Djokovic only last year, adding to his 58-1 record at Roland Garros? The 4 hour and 37 minute long match was one of the greatest of 2013!
If you haven’t been to Roland Garros, move it to the top of your list. We still have a few spots available – but our Roland Garros Travel Packages are going fast!
Let me walk you through our Early Rounds package for Roland Garros – an ideal, affordable way to experience tennis AND the city of Paris.
You will arrive at Hôtel du Louvre, a 5 star property located in the heart of Paris. It is between the Louvre Museum, the Opéra Garnier and the Palais Royal, and only steps away from the Place Vendôme, Place de la Concorde, the Marais neighborhood, the Tuileries Garden, and the major department stores and Notre-Dame Cathedral.You’ll barely have to board the Metro to see many of Paris’ finest!
That first night we will host a welcome dinner where you will meet fellow tennis lovers on tour, and a past Grand Slam champ. We’ll give you a brief orientation, followed by an amazing Parisian meal. Make sure to get your tennis questions ready. Our celebrity guest loves to give insight into the current game and players on tour (and is never without an opinion on this year’s projected winners, both male and female).
Included in your Roland Garros travel package is a Metro card that is good for the duration of your stay. On your days of tennis, we’ll escort you from the hotel to Roland Garros via the Metro. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get there.
Other activities included in your package are the highlights of Paris city tour on a private coach just for our tour group, an intimate farewell dinner cruise along the River Seine to see all the sites lit up by night, and a tennis playing opportunity on the red clay followed by a Parisian brunch.
Did I already mention our packages are the perfect way to experience world-class tennis at Roland Garros and the city of Paris?
If anyone has ever told you it’s easy to plan your own trip to Roland Garros, they weren’t speaking from experience. From the language barrier to connecting you with the best seats in Court Philippe Chatrier, it takes the knowledge of someone who knows what they are doing.
That’s where we come in.
Our dedicated team at Grand Slam Tennis Tours has been taking clients to Roland Garros for over two decades. We know the hotels, the city, and most importantly, the tennis. We’re there with you to help you enjoy your experience from start to finish.
Let us be your concierge to Roland Garros.
So what are you doing May 25 – June 8? Hopefully spending a few days in Paris with us…
It’s not too late to book your 2014 Roland Garros package.
Call 888.910.2714 or email Susan or Megan soon to reserve your spot!
Reviews from our 2013 Roland Garros trip:
“Everyone at Grand Slam Tennis Tours were fantastic !!!! The entire experience hotel, tennis tickets, welcome and farewell dinners, you made our trip. The only problem I can see is how can you possibly attain the same level of excellence for our Wimbledon trip in 2014. I guess repeat customers are your best advertisement.” – Ken in Toronto
“Grand Slam Tennis tours are great. It was a truly once in a lifetime trip for me and all of the staff were wonderfully accommodating of me…(They) worked hard to give us all great seats at Roland Garros, a wonderful taste of Paris (tour of the city was great), all-in-all a great experience!” – Debra in Mechanicsville, AL
The US Open is the final and, in our opinion, the most exciting Grand Slam of the year (maybe we’re a bit biased since it’s our home slam)! Labor Day Weekend in New York City is buzzing with energy and excitement — much of it in anticipation of the tennis at Flushing Meadows.
Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned veteran to the US Open, our Labor Day Weekend Package is for you.
Yes, you could plan every minute detail of the trip yourself, but why do that? You won’t get the best tickets, hotels near all the NYC attractions can be a hassle to book, and figuring out transportation to Flushing Meadows and back will waste your precious vacation time.
Instead, let us plan your entire experience so all you have to do is get to New York City and turn off your brain (make sure to turn it back on for the tennis).
Your trip will begin when you arrive at the chic and stylish Le Parker Meridien on Friday, August 29. Check in and drop off your bags in your room. Keep your eyes open while you’re walking around the hotel — there’s a good chance you’ll ride the elevator with or bump into one of the top men’s and/or women’s players hanging out in the lobby.
To orient yourself, you can take a stroll through Central Park (only 2 blocks north), or do some shopping on 5th Avenue (only 1 block east), or if you really want to stretch your legs it’s just over 10 blocks south to Times Square. You can’t beat our hotel location!
Head back to the hotel where you’ll get ready for your welcome dinner with Grand Slam Tennis Tours’ staff, other tour clients and tennis enthusiasts from around the world, and a celebrity guest – a past Grand Slam champ! We’ll give you a brief orientation, followed by a fantastic meal.
You’ll then make your way back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep so you’re well-rested to start your weekend of tennis!
Wake up Saturday morning and grab a quick bite to eat at one of the many famous breakfast cafes in the area (you can ask us and we’ll point you in the right direction). Once you’re ready for your day of tennis, a member of our staff will be waiting in the hotel lobby to put you on the shuttle to the US Open. It’s easy and seamless!
Since this trip is all about you, on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday we’ll give you the option to pick your sessions of tennis. You can choose 3 day sessions and 1 night session OR 2 day sessions and 2 night sessions. You can also choose loge or courtside seating.
Of course we’ll encourage you to attend at least 1 night session, famous for their fun, electric atmosphere. Afterwards, the shuttle will take you back to the hotel where you can grab a burger in the hotel lobby at The Burger Joint. This hip, busy NYC hotspot with one of the best burgers you’ll ever have is cleverly hidden in the hotel lobby. You have to see (and taste) it to believe it!
Since you’ll be inspired watching all the world-class tennis, we’ll even offer you the opportunity to play tennis on grass at The West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills — the former site of the US Open. Don’t worry, we won’t judge you if you can’t hit a forehand like Federer or serve like Serena!
For the entire duration of your stay, Grand Slam Tennis Tours’ staff is only a phone call away to help you with anything you need.
Sound like your ideal way to see The US Open? We think so, and so do our clients! We bring over 200 people a year to the US Open, many of them coming back year after year.
Ready to book your 2014 US Open experience?
Email Susan or Megan and use the subject line “I WANT TO GO TO THE US OPEN THIS LABOR DAY”.
Want to add a hotel night? Sure!
Want to add another session or two of tennis? Absolutely!
Do you want to go, but can’t do Labor Day week? Not a problem!
Most of you watch professional singles, but play more doubles. The only colorful doubles team getting any publicity is the Bryan Brothers, but now it’s your turn.
Submit a picture of you and your doubles partner on a tennis court dressed as your favorite “duo” or “pair.” Get creative, and think beyond tennis. Whether you dress up as Bonnie and Clyde or John Lennon and Yoko Ono, let’s see you put a tennis spin on something otherwise unrelated. The submission that gets the most votes will win a trip for two on a signature Grand Slam Tennis Tours luxury travel package to the US Open this August!
So, if you want to win a trip to the US Open, get out there and show doubles some love!
We made it back to Vermont after two spectacular weeks at the BNP Paribas Open, and let’s just say that the transition has been more than a little bit depressing. After fourteen days of nothing but brilliant sunshine, warm temperatures, and great tennis, the weather here has us in a funk. Human beings just weren’t meant to endure snain. That’s not a made up word, but a word that those of you from the northeast will understand. Snain is the awful the snow/rain combination that makes spring still seem impossibly far away while also destroying hopes of any good skiing. Anyways, I digress, because what I really want to write about is how amazed I am that the BNP Paribas Open continues to get better, and to implore those of you who have never been to make you plans to attend next year ASAP.
You’ve heard it called the fifth Grand Slam, which the Grand Slams really don’t like. You’ve heard that the venue is spectacular, that the players love it, the weather is perfect, the Larry Ellison funding endless, and that it is the best tournament in the world. Sure, it looks great on television, but, until you go, you’re allowed to be skeptical. Then you go, and you learn just how true all of those things are, and so much more. Sorry Wimbledon, you will always be the oldest, the most storied, the most elite, and still the bucket-list topper… but you just aren’t the best anymore. The BNP Paribas Open has been rebuilt from the bottom up, with no details missed. The players and the fans kept equally in mind through every stage of the process, and boy, what a difference does it make.
The players enjoy replay challenge technology on every single court, as well as the most prize money outside of the Slams. The fans enjoy the most comprehensive mobile app of any tennis event in the world, and free charging stations throughout the grounds if said app drains your battery life. It’s also hot in Indian Wells, but rather than paying eight dollars for a bottle of Evian every time you are thirsty, there are filtered water-bottle filling stations all over the grounds. Not to mention new restaurants, an INCREDIBLE new stadium, and seamless transportation to all of the areas resorts and hotels.
Needless to say, there is quite a big draw to Indian Wells in March for this amazing tournament, and at Topnotch Tennis Tours, we just had our most successful BNP Paribas Open ever. We brought over 150 happy tennis fans to the event to stay at the gorgeous La Quinta Resort and watch the world’s best tennis. With two tennis courts reserved each morning, every client had the opportunity to play tennis on some of the nation’s most beautiful courts before heading to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to watch the upset-riddled tournament unfold. The newest feature of our tour this year was the addition of a luxury suite option to our packages. Located in the northwest corner of the stadium, the suite was a resounding success, featuring food, drinks, and a wonderful air-conditioned escape from the desert heat.
Our 2015 Indian Wells Tennis Tours have just been published, and based on this year’s success, and the growth of the tournament itself, right NOW is the best time to book. Call your Topnotch Tennis Tours sales specialist today, and reserve your spot at the best resorts, in the best seats, at the best tennis tournament in the world before it is too late. Our 2015 BNP Paribas Open Packages will not last long, and you do not want to miss out again. We will be there, make sure you will too!
Li Na, and Stanislas Wawrinka. Those are our most recent Slam winners. Let that sink in for a minute. Great players? Absolutely. Front-runners? Far from it. Now, I don’t mean to discredit the bodies of work of these players, specifically Li Na. To say that she had a fighting chance at the title might even have been an understatement, having been runner up in Melbourne twice, and already owning a Grand Slam title. But, when coupling her victory with Wawrinka’s, whose underdog story dwarfs that of David and Goliath, the storyline ventures from improbable to what many all would have thought downright impossible. The stranglehold that the “Big Four” have had on the men’s game has been nothing short of remarkable. With Del Potro being the only man to break through for a Slam title since 2006, even Stan, admittedly, simply didn’t expect to even contend for a Grand Slam. But what now?
All I need is a little spark, a story, or thought even, to allow my musings into the ridiculously hypothetical. Thanks to Stan and Li, and their 451:1 odds of both taking the Aussie title, they have allowed me just that. If those two can take the titles out of the death grip that Serena and the big three (sorry, Roger) have had on them in the first Slam of the year, then what could happen by the last Slam of 2014?
Allow me to jump ahead to August/September, in the heavy, stinking humidity of NYC. Stan is still number three in the world, after validating his performance Down Under, though still seeking another Slam final berth. Nadal, after winning a record ninth French Open title, hasn’t seemed physically right since, though he is insistent that his body is fine. Dimitrov has seen improving results and is a dark-horse favorite to make a deep run in New York. That guy Roger won’t go away, but as the 7th seed, would shock analysts by advancing beyond the quarters. It’s not going out on a limb to say that we knew it would be Novak and Andy’s world soon, only even they don’t appear invincible now.
What does all this theoretical babble mean? Come the conclusion of the 2014 US Open, there will be a changing of the guard. And that doesn’t mean from Roger and Rafa to Novak and Andy; that has been happening over the past two years. What I mean is, the top of the game will finally see the volatility its been lacking for the better part of a decade. Gone will be the days where we can guarantee that one of just a few players will win each and every major title. And I think we, as tennis fans, will welcome, with open arms, the idea that matches before the quarter, or even semi-finals will matter again!
And this doesn’t go for just the men. Serena has been an incredible ambassador for tennis, and American tennis, for a very long time. For the past couple years, if she played her best tennis, the rest of the ladies were fighting for second place. If Serena faltered, Azarenka was there to pick up the scraps, or occasionally Maria, and a Cinderella Bartoli or Stosur, perhaps. The point being, for a long time now, if Serena was playing, it was her tournament to lose. And while having a dominant American was fun for us, it’s gotten bland. Sure, the occasional upset is fun, but tennis needs instability. Serena will win another Slam, maybe even two or three, but she’s no longer untouchable, and I have a feeling the rest of the ladies on tour, by the 2014 US Open, will know that. Enter Eugenie Bouchard. Welcome to the big-time, Sloane Stephens. Simona Halep? Sure. How about now, Radwanska and Woz? Doesn’t that sound like so much more fun?
Let us relish what we have had with the “Big Four,” and the dominance of Serena. Don’t read this as an obituary, and don’t show any of these players this article, the last thing they need is more ammunition. But, let’s look forward to the rest of this season, and all of its hypothetical glory, with hopes of new storylines, and some new energy in the sport we all love. By the US Open, things will be different, I’m telling you.
Though still six months away, the 2014 US Open is going to be one for the ages. It is one, that if you haven’t been paying attention for years, ought to perk up those antennas and inspire you to make plans to be a part of it. Grand Slam Tennis Tours has been taking clients to the biggest tournaments in the world for over 25 years, and the US Open packages are world-class. Stay in the official tournament hotel and ride the elevator with players, enjoy seamless transportation, and the best courtside and luxury suite seats. The US Open is always tennis’ brightest stage, but this year, look for it to be a little bit brighter.
If you are interested in attending the 2014 US Open, don’t hesitate, call Grand Slam Tennis Toursand talk to one of their experienced sales professionals about your world-class luxury tennis vacation today. Who knows, you just might see history being made, right in the front row.
If you hate sunny, perfect weather, limitless activity options, smiling faces, and world-class food, you can just stop reading now. If you love all these things, and aren’t serious about stepping up your vacation game, read on, and hopefully this verbose gushing about one of my favorite places on earth will motivate you to step it up and book your trip today. I am talking about Palm Springs, California, site of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Unless you are lucky enough to live in a warm, sunny climate year round, you know the feeling that comes with February. Days are short, and lengthening quickly enough to give you hope that Spring may be around the corner. But alas, March still looms, with all of its subzero blizzard-potential still hanging overhead, threatening to strike. Well, I’m over it, and the countdown is on. Who wants to join me in the California desert? From March 3-16, the best players in the world all flock to Indian Wells to what is, in my opinion, the best tennis tournament in the world. The BNP Paribas Open is growing at an incredible rate, with world class facilities, and near Grand Slam prize money and prestige. But the best part about it, you wonder? You can book your trip around the tournament, but enjoy so much more. Palm Springs is like one gigantic, ultra-friendly country club. Thousands of tennis courts, hundreds of golf courses, countless spas, restaurants, and hiking trails all bathed in sunshine mean you will have to build in free time outside of watching the tennis or risk not making the most of your vacation.
Topnotch Tennis Tours has created tennis-centric packages for the BNP Paribas Open this year that are unmatched. The resorts of choice, the Miramonte Resort and Spa during the first week of the tournament, and the La Quinta Resort and Club during the second, are relaxation havens. Set against the backdrop of the picturesque desert mountains, and built in-between sky-scraping palm trees that cascade shade patterns across the fifty pools at your disposal. Offering full-service spas and multiple fine-dining options “on-campus,” you’ll never need to leave. But you will.
Topnotch Tennis Tours provides seamless transfers from the hotel to the tournament grounds throughout the day. The Indian Wells Tennis Garden is the most fan-friendly of all major tennis venues. Spacious by any standards, it features many dining options, two world-class stadiums, and rare features like shot-spot challenge technology on every court. Watching the best tennis in the world will only give you the itch to play, and Topnotch Tennis Tours is happy to scratch ya. With courts reserved at La Quinta every morning, you can enjoy a casual hit-and-giggle, a clinic with Topnotch pros, or a doubles game. I know what you are thinking, there’s just not enough time. You’re right, there’s not. But, outside of moving your life and career to Palm Springs, Topnotch Tennis Tours is happy to oblige your vacation desires. The packages are customizable, so you can make it your own!
My countdown is on, I will be basking in the California sunshine in just 18 days. Will you?