Bonus podcast episode with Mark and Trey Hilderbrand:
I hope you enjoy this Bonus Episode of the podcast, live from the US Open!
Seventeen year old Trey Hilderbrand and his father, Mark, joined me in the interview room at the US Open to discuss his incredible run at this year’s US Open Juniors event. Mark and I have been Facebook friends for several years, but this is the first time we met in person. It was eye-opening for me to sit courtside in Trey’s match and watch the now-legal interaction (at least for this event) between father and son, player and coach. This duo shares details about Trey’s tennis development and his plans for the future.
I have had a great week at the Open and have had the opportunity to interview several of the junior and college players participating in this year’s events. Stay tuned for more content coming over the next few days!
We appreciate the support for our podcast. If you are interested in sponsoring one or more episodes, please click here.
After arriving at La Guardia Airport around 11am, navigating my way through their convoluted rental car process, driving to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and figuring out where to – temporarily (thank you to the nice policeman who let me leave the car next to his!) – park my car so I could pick up my credentials and parking permit, I finally got to settle in and watch some tennis yesterday around 1pm, just in time to see American CoCo Vandeweghe earn her spot in the Semifinals!
There is an energy at the US Open that’s somehow different from other tournaments I’ve attended. I don’t know if it’s because it’s our Home Slam or because it’s New York, but it is something special and electric to experience.
Forget about the fact that we now have 4 American women in the US Open Semifinals for the first time since 1981 (the year I graduated high school). Forget about the fact that, until late last night, we had the hope of seeing Roger and Rafa finally meet at the Open. Forget about the fact that we have a former college player in the men’s semis (WTG Kevin Anderson!). Like I said, I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s there and I feel it.
Today is going to be an incredible day – OF FREE TENNIS!!!! – filled with wheelchair players, doubles, juniors, and the American Collegiate Invitational. With yesterday’s rainy weather, no junior matches were played, so the schedule is jam-packed starting at Noon, and I’ll be jumping between Courts 4, 5, and 6 early in the day to Courts 10-17 later on.
For the latest on results in the Juniors, check out today’s ZooTennis post here. I had the pleasure of running into Colette yesterday afternoon and am looking forward to spending some time with her the rest of the week!
I will continue to do Facebook Live posts, so be sure you “like” our page at Facebook.com/ParentingAces/. As I mentioned before, if you’re on the Grounds, please hit me up and let’s find a time to meet. You can message, tweet at, or text me, and I promise I’ll respond!
Here is my Facebook Live video at the end of yesterday:
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?!?!
I know many of you will be spending the Labor Day Weekend at the US Open – lucky you! It’s such a fun time to see the Open – the crowds, all the “extras” going on around the grounds, and, of course, some amazing tennis! In case you’re new to the Open or just need a refresher, I wanted to list some of the things you can see and do while you’re on site this weekend.
Watch the pros practice: The practice courts are right inside the West Gate next to Arthur Ashe Stadium. The practice schedule is posted on a big board next to the courts, but you can also find it on the US Open app. After they practice, most of the pros are very gracious and will sign autographs and pose for photos with fans. There is a roped-off area where you can wait for them. Honestly, when my son was younger, this was his favorite part of the Open!
Junior US Open Qualies: The top junior players in the world will be on site starting today, practicing and playing for a spot in the Main Draw of the US Open Junior event which begins on Sunday. These are the stars of tomorrow. If you look at the list of past winners, you will see names like Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov, Victoria Azarenka, CoCo Vandeweghe, and Kayla Day who won the Junior event in 2016 and is still in the Main Draw Women’s Doubles this year with partner Caroline Dolehide.
Follow the NextGen players: Tennis is on the brink. Our top players, especially on the men’s side, are well past 30 years old, and we have a deep cache of Young Guns waiting to take the reins. Among those still in the US Open this year are Sofia Kenin (age 17) who faces Maria Sharapova tonight on Ashe in Round 3, Andrey Rublev (age 19) who took out Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets yesterday and faces Bosnia Damir Dzumhur tomorrow, Canadian Denis Shapovalov (age 18) who defeated Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the night match on Ashe 2 days ago and faces Kyle Edmund today, and Borna Coric (age 20) who beat fellow NextGener Sasha Zverev in the 2nd round and faces former University of Illinois standout Kevin Anderson today on the Grandstand.
Follow the college players: I love how many former college players are still in the Main Draw in both singles and doubles! Representing my alma mater UCLA is Jennifer Brady. Jen beat the 23-seed Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-1 yesterday and will play Monica Niculescu tomorrow. On the men’s side, in addition to Anderson we also have UGA’s John Isner playing on Ashe tonight. In doubles, watch out for Jen Brady who is playing with Allie Riske, Stanford’s Nicole Gibbs who is playing with Julia Boserup, former Stanford star Kristie Ahn playing with former Georgia Tech player Irina Falconi, and former UNC star Nick Monroe who is playing with former Tennessee star JP Smith.
Player Meet-and-Greets: Each day the Open hosts meet-and-greets with several players. Today you can meet NextGeners Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe. Check the US Open app for up to date information on these and other interactive events.
Shopping & Eating: There are several booths, kiosks, and full-on stores on the grounds to do some major shopping. If you have an American Express card, you can register it through the US Open app and get a $20 credit when you spend $100 on site. Chase Bank is offering Charge & Watch, a device that will charge your phone while you watch exclusive live event coverage. There are also several charging stations around the grounds that you can use while taking a break from the tennis (though I don’t know why you would ever want to do that!). As far as eating goes, the US Open takes stadium food to a whole new level! There are even gourmet vegetarian, gluten-free, and kosher options for those with dietary restrictions. Of course, if you want a hamburger or hot dog, you can get those, too. And, for those in the over-21 category, be sure to try the US Open’s signature cocktail, the Honey Deuce.
For more information on the best way to visit the Open, check out my friend PJ Simmons’s in-depth blog here.
Have a great weekend at the Open! I’ll be there starting Wednesday and look forward to meeting up with you then.
I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I wanted to let you know about a very cool initiative from Wilson that’s continuing through the US Open Singles events this year.
In conjunction with the 2017 US Open Tournament, Wilson Sporting Goods Co., has partnered with the USTA Foundation to launch the “Ultra Aces” program to help fuel the Foundation’s efforts to grow the game of tennis in the U.S. The program has been created to demonstrate the powerful difference the tennis community can make when it works together to make the sport more accessible.
The “Ultra Aces” program will kick off with the first round of the 2017 US Open Tournament and will conclude following the Men’s and Women’s Singles championship matches.
For every ace recorded by a Wilson-sponsored Men’s and Women’s Singles player that takes the court with the brand’s new 2017 Ultra high performance tennis racket, Wilson will donate $200 and a new Ultra Racket directly to the USTA Foundation.
Wilson and the USTA Foundation will direct all donated funds generated by this program towards rebuilding tennis in the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Donated rackets will go towards the Foundation’s Excellence Team Program, which empowers under-resourced youth interested in playing tennis at a high performance level throughout the U.S.
Official social hashtag of the program is #TogetherWeArePowerful.
The 2017 Ultra performance tennis racket line is designed for singles and doubles players who seek a racket that can provide effortless power on every shot, while enhancing the effectiveness of their play.
You can follow the “Ultra Aces” program on social media through Wilson Tennis and the USTA Foundation profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @WilsonTennis and @usta (on each social media network).
The program is off to a great start, despite the almost-total rainout on Day 2! Wilson is tweeting daily updates, and I saw this yesterday morning:
After yesterday’s 87 singles matches (!), I suspect that “50” will be a much bigger number once Wilson reports its update today!
While this current initiative is seated in philanthropy, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’ve been playing with the new Wilson Ultra racquet for the past 6 weeks or so, and I LOVE it! “Our 2017 Ultra line is by far the most comprehensive and versatile collection we’ve created to date, said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager of Wilson Racquet Sports. “We have high expectations for this racket as it delivers on what we have heard from a wide range of professional, avid and amateur players – ‘I want more power without losing feel’. Ultra reflects a unique blend of modern design and novel technologies that expand the hottest part of the racket’s sweetspot by 15 percent. This translates into a racket that gives more power and force where and when it is needed while enhancing feel.”
Now, I’m just a 4.5 player – certainly no Madison Keys or Gael Monfils (!) – but I can absolutely feel the difference in the amount of power and control I get with this new stick. And the new paint job is pretty slick, too: navy and bright blue accent colors, matte finishes, and velvety paint make the Ultra look and feel amazing!
In its release on the new racquet, Wilson tells us that the 2017 Ultra line has been designed to enhance the performance of a wide range of players. It consists of six models: the Ultra 100 Countervail® (CV), Ultra 100L, Ultra 100UL, Ultra 105S CV, Ultra 110 and Ultra Tour. Each model has been developed to reflect differences in athlete age, size, and ability, and varying head sizes, weights, technologies and string patterns allow players to select a model that is right for them based on their individual needs and style of play.
The Ultra 100L and Ultra 100UL are two maneuverable, lightweight options ideal for juniors and smaller adults. Each 2017 Ultra model is compatible with the brand’s X2 Ergo handle technology, which is a customizable handle shape for the top hand of two-handed backhands to create optimal feel for the modern two-hander. This provides players with more power, versatility and leverage.
And, even though Roger Federer isn’t using the new Ultra – he uses the Wilson Pro Staff – here’s a little behind-the-scenes look at how his racquets get strung during the US Open, courtesy of ESPN Sports – Enjoy!
An in-depth look at how Federer’s rackets get made – ESPN Video
In celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Title IX Statute of the Education Amendments of 1972, the USTA will host the sixth annual Sports Diversity & Inclusion Symposium today during the 2017 US Open. USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO and President, Katrina Adams will be joined by International Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King and “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts for a panel event to discuss the historic impact Title IX has had on women in sports, on and off the playing fields.
The event is the annual conference of the Diversity and Inclusion in Sports Consortium (DISC). The Symposium is presented by the members of DISC, including, MiLB, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, PGA of America, PGA Tour, RISE, USOC, USTA and You Can Play, as well as US Open broadcast sponsor ESPN, highlighting D&I best practices in the sports industry. Symposium attendees include Diversity & Inclusion practitioners, leaders of the DISC member organizations, leaders from sports business partners and related companies, as well as New York-based corporate D&I leaders.
Also in conjunction with the Title IX anniversary, HBO is re-airing its 2006 documentary on Billie Jean King. Not coincidentally, I’m sure, I started seeing promos for the upcoming film – BATTLE OF THE SEXES – about the Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs match during last night’s US Open tv coverage, as well. It seems everyone is paying close attention to this ground-breaking legislation and the woman behind it.
Per release from HBO . . .
The HBO Sports presentation BILLIE JEAN KING: PORTRAIT OF A PIONEER explores the personal and professional life of the landmark athlete and activist, whose remarkable career on the tennis court was equaled only by her impact on the struggle for women’s equality during the 1970s. The acclaimed film, which debuted in April of 2006 on HBO, will have an encore play on the network SUNDAY, SEPT. 3 (6:30 p.m. ET/PT). The documentary tells the story of an athlete who revolutionized sports for women, and in the process encouraged women to pursue endeavors outside the traditional realm of the home.
There will be a special encore airing on Wednesday, September 20 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on the HBO2 service, 44 years to the day when Billie Jean King scored her landmark win over Bobby Riggs at the Astrodome in Houston.
Other replays include Monday, September 4 at 11:45 a.m. ET/PT (HBO2) & Friday, Sept. 22 at 4:40 p.m. ET/PT (HBO).
Born Billie Jean Moffitt on Nov. 22, 1943, in Long Beach, Cal., King was the daughter of a stay-at-home mother and a firefighter father. She honed her tennis game on public courts in Long Beach, and won her first noteworthy championship in 1961 in the Wimbledon doubles competition with partner Karen Hantze. King won her first singles championship at Wimbledon in 1966, which led to her number-one world ranking.
BILLIE JEAN KING: PORTRAIT OF A PIONEER takes an in-depth look at King’s rise as an international icon of women’s equality, with the defining moment coming on Sept. 20, 1973. On that day, King battled former 1939 men’s Wimbledon champion Bobby Riggs in a match that King herself said would “ruin the women’s tennis tour and affect all women’s self-esteem” if she was not victorious. In the contest, termed the “Battle of the Sexes,” the 29-year-old King “manhandled” the older and slower Riggs, defeating him 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. An estimated 90 million television viewers worldwide witnessed the victory of the pioneer whose ultimate mark on society far surpassed her 39 Grand Slam titles.
This exclusive presentation features HBO Sports’ acclaimed combination of rare footage, archival photos and revealing interviews, with King herself speaking openly and honestly about her life on and off the court. She discusses the impact of having her private life made public, and her emergence as a leader in the gay community.
Coach Craig O’Shannessy knew there had to be more to developing players and analyzing matches than simply relying on the opinion of others. He looked to other sports like baseball, basketball, and soccer and found that those sports relied on a unified method of collecting data, analyzing it, then using it to improve performance. The eyes, afterall, don’t always tell the whole story!
In early 2010, Craig started Brain Game Tennis (click http://www.braingametennis.com to go to his website) so he could share his data with others in the tennis world. As Craig writes on his site, “Tennis looks like a game of pinball, with the ball careening here, there, and everywhere. But it’s not. It’s actually the exact opposite. Tennis is a game of repeatable patterns in four specific areas – serving, returning, rallying and approaching. Study the patterns, learn the winning percentages, and make the game simple. That’s what Brain Game Tennis stands for. No more guessing. No more opinions. Just the facts please…”
And now Craig has introduced Gameplan, his newest product for use in junior development, college tennis, and beyond. Listen to this week’s podcast for more information on Gameplan and how you can purchase it. Then go to this link (https://www.braingametennis.com/stop-guessing-start-knowing/) to read more.
NOTE: If you purchase Gameplan – or any of Craig’s other Brain Game Tennis products – during the two weeks of the 2017 US Open, you will receive a 20% discount.