Tennis Parents Wayne Bryan, Steve Johnson, Melanie Rubin from 2014 US Open

Tennis ParentsThis week’s podcast:

Since I’m not yet at the 2017 US Open, I thought I would throw things back to my last trip to our Home Slam and my conversation with Tennis Parents Extraordinaire: Wayne Bryan (father of Bob & Mike, the Bryan Brothers), Steve Johnson (father of Stevie who passed away earlier this year), and Melanie Rubin (mom of Noah). These three have so much knowledge and great advice to share to those of us coming up behind them. I hope you enjoy hearing from them.

I plan on releasing another episode later this week directly from the 2017 US Open, so please keep an eye out for it. The US Open Juniors tournament is now underway, and the Collegiate Invitational starts Thursday, both of which will provide lots of great content for another podcast!

If you aren’t following ParentingAces on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, you should go ahead and do so before I get to New York! I hope to do some live broadcasts on Facebook and/or YouTube while I’m at the Open, and if you follow us then you’ll get a notification when I’m online. Of course, if you’re at the Open this week, too, I’d love to meet up with you – who knows, maybe we can do a live broadcast together?!?!

For those interested, we are now accepting new sponsors for the ParentingAces Podcast. If you’d like to learn more, please visit parentingaces.com/sponsorshippackages-aug-2017/

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Live from the US Open

Wayne Steve Melanie

 

Be sure to take a listen to today’s radio show with Wayne Bryan, Steve Johnson, and Melanie Rubin as they discuss their sons’ preparation for the 2014 US Open. They share some great advice and insights on developing young tennis players to the highest level.

Click here to listen and learn!

 

US Open Arthur Ashe Kids Day: Parent to Parent

USTA 2014 Junior Sportsmanship Award Winners
USTA 2014 Junior Sportsmanship Award Winners

Yesterday, I got to experience Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the US Open for the very first time. You can’t believe how many families attend this amazing celebration of tennis and how many different activities are going on around the grounds throughout the day!

There are booths with face painting, balloon animals, and other kid-friendly events. Several of the outer courts are filled with the pros playing a variety of tennis-themed games with the kids. Inside Arthur Ashe stadium, the entertainment is focused around the preteen set with musical acts, dancing, and award presentations. And, of course, all around the grounds the players are practicing and preparing for their first match of the tournament, so there are plenty of photo and autograph opportunities for the fans.

After getting a quick lay of the land, I spent some time inside Interview Room 1 where USTA president David Haggerty and former player (and current Director At Large of USTA) Chanda Rubin presented the 2014 Junior Sportsmanship Award to CiCi Bellis (who, as a result of winning the National Hardcourts in San Diego earlier this month, received a wildcard into the Main Draw of the Open) and Aron Hiltzik. Following the award presentation, the player interviews began, starting with Novak Djokovic then Roger Federer, Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, Simona Halep, Genie Bouchard, and Grigor Dimitrov.

But, my priority was getting out to the practice courts to watch Noah Rubin have a hit. I had the opportunity to sit with Noah’s mom and sister as he practiced on the court with Donald Young. In the clips below, you will hear from Melanie and Jessie Rubin along with Shelia Townsend (Taylor’s mom) and Ilona Young (Donald’s mom) about what it’s like watching your child achieve their life-long dream.

 

 

Heading to the Open

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About 18 months ago, Sol Schwartz of Holabird Sports put me in touch with a fellow tennis parent he had recently met, Melanie Rubin. Sol thought Melanie and I would hit it off and wanted us to make contact.

For those of you who have been around ParentingAces a while, you may recognize Melanie’s name. She was a guest on my radio show in April 2013. She also did interviews for me at the 2013 National Hardcourts in Kalamazoo then helped me out at last year’s US Open.

If you’re new to ParentingAces, you may recognize Melanie’s name as the mom of 2014 Wimbledon Junior Champ and 2014 Kalamazoo Champ (and rising freshman at Wake Forest), Noah Rubin.

Well, my friend Melanie is about to see her son live his dream: playing in the main draw at the US Open right in his own backyard! And, I’m going to be there to document the experience from the parent’s side of things. It’s going to be a very exciting 2 weeks in New York, and I hope you’ll follow along with me to see how my amazing Tennis Parent friend fares as her son competes on one of the world’s biggest stages.

I’ll be at the Open starting this Thursday. If you plan to be up there, too, please reach out via text message, email, Twitter, or whatever so we can meet!

I know you all join me in wishing Noah and his momma all the best in his US Open debut! Stay tuned!

 

Things I Learned at the Open

USOpen2013

I know, I know. Y’all are sick to death of hearing about my week at the 2013 US Open. This will be my last article about it, PROMISE! So, please indulge me one more time as I share with you (and record for my own purposes) the things I learned at the Open.

First and foremost, I learned that Tennis Parents are Tennis Parents, whether our children are playing a tournament at the local public park for a plastic trophy or in Arthur Ashe Stadium at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for a $2.6 million paycheck. We all have a hard time not showing emotion while our child is battling on the tennis court. We all do our best to stay focused on the process and not the result, and we all know a win is much more fun for everyone involved than is a loss. It’s that way in the juniors; it’s that way in college; and it’s that way at the highest level of the professional game. We all strive to show our children that we love them no matter the outcome. We all strive to instill a love and passion in them for this sport they’ve chosen to pursue. We all strive to surround them with knowledgeable, smart, caring coaches who can help them reach their potential.

Secondly, I learned that it truly does take a deep-seated love of the game in order to reach the highest levels in our sport. Achievements in tennis, for most, come slowly and over a very long period of time. They take incredibly hard work and dedication. If the love isn’t there, the success is unlikely to be there regardless of the talent level of the individual player.

I learned that tv commentators aren’t as unbiased as they may seem. Spending time in the CBS booth on Ashe, I had the opportunity to chat with some of the announcers between matches. Turns out, just like us, they have their favorite players and secretly root for them to win. Who knew?

I learned that having media credentials at an event like the US Open opens doors. Big doors. Fun doors. Doors that allow you to walk next to your favorite athletes and their parents and their coaches. Doors that allow you to go up and start a conversation with these folks and makes them want to engage with you in that conversation. However, the bolts on those doors shut tight when you just want to take a photo with the guy who will likely win  – who won – the tournament. Just sayin’.

I learned that every top-level player grew up hitting against a backboard. They used that time to practice various shots and styles, pretending to be their favorite pros as they honed their skills. They created games to play with their peers, using the wall as an impartial 3rd player. They have fond memories of those hours spent hitting against their toughest opponent, the one that always got one more ball back.

I learned that it’s really nice to make friends early in the tournament so you have people to sit with during meals and hang out with during rain delays or bum a ride “home” from late at night. I learned that the folks who hang out in the media room are all pretty nice and willing to help out a fledgling newbie trying to learn the ropes.

I learned that riding the train out to Larchmont at 2am is really pretty safe, and that there are taxis waiting at the station even at that ungodly hour. I also learned that chivalry still exists in the world as evidenced by the young man who gave up his seat in said taxi so I wouldn’t have to wait alone at the station so late at night (early in the morning?).

I learned that a $20 food allowance can go a long way, even at the US Open. It takes some creativity and willingness to adjust your eating habits, but it can be done! I also learned that coffee is free in Media Dining. All day and all night. That helped a lot.

I learned that I want to see my son succeed in tennis, NOT because I care about rankings or where he goes to college or whether he turns pro so much as because I’ve met some incredible people through my own association to the sport, and I want him to get to spend time around those same folks. This sport is chock-full of junior coaches who know their stuff, of college coaches who embrace the challenge of taking 18 year old children and helping them grow into 22 or 23 year old incredible adults, of journalists who take a personal interest in the players they follow, of former top players who want to give back to the game that gave them so much. Who wouldn’t want their child to be in the company of these amazing human beings?

I learned that I really and truly love the game of tennis. I love being around the players and the coaches and the parents and the photographers and the writers and the commentators and the statisticians and the manufacturers and the stringers and the fans. I love being able to see behind the proverbial curtain into the inner-workings of this sport and learn what makes everything tick. I hope to have many more opportunities to see more, to learn more, and to share it with those of you patient enough to get all the way through my ramblings.

Before I close, I absolutely have to give a huge shout-out to Melanie Rubin, Meredith Corsillo, Colette Lewis, Sandra Hewitt, Marcia Frost, Pat Mitsch and, most of all, Sol Schwartz who suggested I apply for media credentials in the first place. All of these people taught me and supported me through my very first foray into sports reporting, and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude! And, to my husband, of course, who supports me every single day in everything I do.

Okay, that sounded a little like an Oscar acceptance speech – sorry!

I hope you enjoyed my reports from Flushing Meadows as much as I enjoyed preparing them for you. Now, as they say on tv, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

 

 

 

Interviews from the US Open – Bob & Mike Bryan

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Bob & Mike Bryan were going after a very lofty accomplishment in the 2013 US Open: a calendar year Grand Slam in Men’s Doubles. They won the Australian Open Men’s Doubles, French Open Men’s Doubles, and Wimbledon Men’s Doubles this year. Unfortunately, the Bryan Brothers’ quest came to an end today after a great 3-set battle versus two worthy opponents. My awesome sidekick, Melanie Rubin, was in the interview room with them after the match. Listen to what they had to say below in a portion of the press conference. Melanie’s question appears at the 5-minute mark – a transcript of her question and Mike Bryan’s answer is posted under the interview link due to the low volume on the files.

Bryan Brothers Interview

 

Q. I’m around a lot of junior players, and after a tough loss, the first thing you hear is, Well, I hope they take away a lesson or learn something from that. In this part of your career, do you think that’s true for you guys?

MIKE BRYAN: Yeah, we always take something out of every match. You know, today we’ll take out a few things. We’ll do a few things differently next time.

You know, we really wanted it. We could taste it. Sometimes you want it too much. Maybe, you know, you’re always telling yourself to keep going for your shots, maybe played a little too safe.

We could have done a few strategic things differently and maybe we played I formation a little too much, which is not our bread and butter. Probably served Leander’s to backhand, you know, he started to get a rhythm on that.

But, you know, all in all it comes down to a few points here and there. We had a break point early in that second set. We win that point, and maybe we steamroll them, you know, 3 and 3.

You don’t want to look back too much in the past. We know what we have to do now to move forward to get better, but, you know, we’ll look back and have some perspective and reflect on the great things that we did do.

 

Interviews from the US Open – K’zoo Champ vs. Bruin

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This morning, two promising American juniors faced off in Louis Armstrong Stadium in Round 3 of the Junior US Open. Their match was televised live on the Tennis Channel, and I watched from the comfort of my living room. But, my partner in crime, Melanie Rubin, was there live and in person, and she had the opportunity to sit in both of their post-match interviews. I’ve posted the interviews below. You might want to share these with your own junior player(s)!

20130905-203609.jpgCollin Altamirano Interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mackie McDonaldMackenzie MacDonald Interview