News from 2007

Flashback - 1993 Australian Open Final

[12.18.2007]

Seles on Koz Show

[12.17.2007]

Monica Seles will return for an interview with Dave Kozlowski—this time it is on Inside Tennis With the Koz on Tennis Channel this week.

They worked together for over a decade in Sarasota, FL. Monica Seles was the "Touring Professional" of Laurel Oak Country Club. Dave "KOZ" Kozlowski was the director of Tennis for the development.

The 9 Slam title-holder helped Koz launch his tennis broadcast career by being his first guest on a local Comcast cable network.

"Just weeks after her return to the tour following a 26-month competitive tennis hiatus from the back-stabbing, Seles had over 4,000 interview requests. Monica granted two - the other Dave (Letterman that is) and mine. She came on to do a 30-minute live broadcast. What a way to get a rookie-broadcaster started! As the tennis world knows, Monica has always been one of the most genuinely gracious professional athletes in the sporting arena. Her love of life and tennis is non-paralleled. Getting to know Monica has been a major enjoyment in life for me," explained The Koz.

Monica will again be appearing with Kozlowski on air. Tennis Channel's "Inside Tennis With The Koz" host will be taking his viewers to the historic Berkeley Tennis Club in Berkeley, CA for the Alta Bates Summit Tennis Classic where Seles and former WTA number one-ranked doubles player Corina Morariu recently headed up the Northern California fund-raiser.

Also rounding out the award winning 30-minute magazine style talk show will be a visit to the USPTA Professional Tennis Management program conducted at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI headed up by USPTA first vice-president Tom Daglis.

The show will premiere on Tuesday December 18 @ 8 AM eastern. For additional airing dates and times visit www.insidetenniswiththekoz.com.

*Note: We have The Tennis Channel and will try to post this video Tuesday afternoon. Stay tuned.

*Update: Monica was not on this show today. There must have been a program error. We will keep you updated if and when this show does air.

Source

Tennis Stars at Riviera

[12.12.2007]

Nine-time Grand Slam winner Monica Seles and former French Open doubles champions Luke and Murphy Jensen hosted the inaugural Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic Saturday at Riviera Tennis Club.

They were joined by three-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Capriati, ATP Tour players Vince Spadea, Taylor Dent and Justin Gimelstob, former ATP players Bill Scanlon, Robert Seguso and Jeff Tarango, WTA Tour player Vania King, former WTA player Carling Bassett-Seguso, actors Danny Nucci, Peter Jason, David Duchovny, Eric Braeden, Chad Lowe, Scott Foley, Ryan O?Neal, Donna Mills, Paula Marshall and Maeve Quinlan, musician Gavin Rossdale and comedian Jon Lovitz.

The fun-filled day included a tennis pro-am, kids' clinics, a pro-celebrity exhibition and an "Evening with the Stars" gala featuring top entertainment and a live auction.

Coordinators were Giancarlo Cava and Kirk Schaff and ball kids included Blake Anthony, Ben Brown, Carly Brown, Sam Catanzaro, Kate Christensen, Jeremy Cohen, Samantha Kogan, Spencer Pekar, Kayla Shapiro, Reid Shumway, Eden Weinberg and Calre Young.

The tennis exhibition featured "Team Luke" and "Team Murphy." All matches consisted of eight games with the team winning the most total games being declared champion.

The event raised money for a number of Jensen designated youth charities, including the Jensen-Schmidt Tennis Academy for Down Syndrome, the National Down Syndrome Society and The Riviera Foundation.

Source

Bank of The West Pro-Celebrity Classic

[12.11.2007]

Monica, along with other celebrities, participated in the Bank of The West Pro-Celebrity Tennis classic this past Saturday. Luckily for us, Rhonda from Dogmom's Dish was in attendance and was kind enough to share some photos from the event. Please visit her excellent website to read all about her experiences in Los Angeles. Thanks Rhonda for sharing this news with all of us!

Source

At 34, Seles aims for a tennis comeback

[12.03.2007]

The former top-ranked player hopes to be back on the women's tour by March, and she'll be in an exhibition in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Sunday was Monica Seles' 34th birthday, and with it came news that would be a gift to tennis fans.

She is considering a comeback.

The nine-time winner of the sport's Grand Slam events will be in Los Angeles Saturday, as a participant in the first Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic. Hosts of the event are former players Luke and Murphy Jensen, who raise money for a foundation that funds youth-oriented charities. It will be an all-day event at Riviera Country Club, ending with an evening gala.

The Riviera event is exhibition tennis, and Seles will be joined by other former stars such as Jennifer Capriati, Carling Bassett-Seguso and her husband, Robert; Justin Gimelstob and the Jensens.

But by March, specifically at the major tournament hosted each year in Miami, Seles may be striking the tennis ball in real competition after what would then be nearly a five-year layoff.

She played her last match at the 2003 French Open, an event she had won three times. She lost to Nadia Petrova in the first round and hasn't played competitive tennis since, other than a few matches in TeamTennis.

She had sprained her ankle badly in the Australian Open that year and lost in the second round. By the time the French came around, she had such severe back and foot problems that she had to stop playing after her loss.

There never was any retirement announcement. She just kind of went away.

She was told the back injury would take at least nine months to heal, and the foot injury, caused by a bone that still needs to be removed but will not allow her to play effectively again if it is, continued to linger.

Soon, Seles was retired in the minds of tennis fans, if not in her mind.

She lives in Sarasota, Fla., and is surrounded by people in the area that she can and does play with now, including Capriati, Jimmy Arias and Martina Navratilova.

"I still love to play. That has never lessened," she said. "And what I know now, I wish I had known then. Like stretching more, before and after matches. You'd go out and win, 6-3, 6-1, and say that was easy and you wouldn't stretch."

She said she has been inspired by the comebacks of the likes of Lindsay Davenport, who had a baby in the summer and was back playing at her usual high level by the fall, and swimmer Dara Torres, who came back at age 40.

"What Lindsay did was just so cool," Seles said.

Seles was the No. 1 player in the world in 1991 and 1992. Starting with the French Open in 1990, she won eight of the next 12 Grand Slams, while not even playing at Wimbledon in 1991. After she won the Australian in '93, she was playing in a match in Hamburg, Germany, when, in April '93 , during a break in her match when she was seated courtside, a man named Guenter Parche came down from the stands and stabbed her in the back. She didn't play again until August, 1995, and won only one more Grand Slam, the 1996 Australian.

"I guess I kind of had two tennis careers," Seles said.

And now, perhaps a third.

"I certainly would not ever be able to do a full schedule again, because of the foot," she said, "but I'm thinking about the Slams and about some of the better tournaments that lead into them.

"I won't decide for sure until the beginning of the year, and the Australian is certainly not possible. But Miami. Maybe."

Source

Happy 34th Birthday Monica!

[12.02.2007]

God gave a gift to the world when you were born; a person who loves and cares, who sees a person's need and fills it, who encourages and lifts people up, who spends energy on others rather than herself, who touches each life she enters & makes a difference in the world. May the love you have shown to others return to you multiplied.

Monica Wins!

[11.22.2007]
The voting is now over and the results are in from The Tennis Channel's Open Access - Fan Favorite Poll. And the winner is....Monica Seles! Congratulations to Monica for being voted as the Fan Favorite! Monica has been out of action since 2003 but this champion is certainly not forgotten.

Enjoy the video!

Seles Speaks

[11.11.2007]


She revolutionized women's tennis by playing a bold baseline game and producing power and short angles seldom seen in the sport. Monica Seles possessed perhaps the most lethal return of serve in the history of women's tennis, and a stirring shriek that accompanied her stunning shots. In many ways, Seles was ahead of her time, but when she surveys the tennis landscape today, Seles said the women's game needs more rivalry and intensity.

"(Justine) Henin has on average dominated the (WTA) tour, but if you look at the championships in Madrid, you see Henin beat (Marion) Bartoli 6-0, 6-0," Seles told Steve Hartman, Mychal Thompson and Vic "The Brick" Jacobs in a radio interview she conducted on Friday on "The Loose Cannons Show" on AM 570 KLAC. "Those scores shouldn't happen in the championships. You want to see the top players play each other. That's the only way the fans will tune in."

The former World No. 1 conducted the interview to promote her appearance in the inaugural Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, Dec. 8, at The Riviera Tennis Club. Grand Slam champions Seles, Jennifer Capriati and Luke and Murphy Jensen, actor David Duchovny and musician Gavin Rossdale are among the tennis and entertainment stars scheduled to join the host Jensens for the event.

Seles touched on several tennis topics in the interview including:

* On being stabbed at a match April 30, 1993 in Hamburg, Germany: "I was only 19 when I got stabbed. It would never have happened in any other sport. I said to myself, `Why me,' but I was proud of myself that I was able to move on and to get back to the sport that I loved and adore. That to me was the final triumph after a few bad years."

* On the lack of punishment to her attacker: "I really felt that I could not justify in my own brain someone stabs you in front of 7,000 people, admits that he planned it, and never spends a night in jail. I don't feel safe playing there (in Germany) again after what happened to me."

* On returning to tennis after her stabbing: "I was lucky. My mom and dad had really strong personalities and supported me. At the end of the day, the love I had for the game I started at 7 years old motivated me to come back. I never imagined I would make a great living and travel throughout the world. I started playing tennis because I loved it. I tell kids, `don't look at the fame and the money. Play tennis because you love it.' I missed it."

* On not hearing from other players after her stabbing: "The women's tour is very competitive. There's a lot of money at stake. It is what it is. It was very unfortunate. It changed my career and it changed Stefi's (Graf). That's life. It is a business."

* On playing in the 1998 French Open after her dad, Karoly, died: "My dad passed away a couple days before the French (Open). I thought, `What would my dad want me to do?' He battled cancer. I thought, `follow your heart,' and my heart told me to go out and play for my dad. He was a cartoonist. He always saw the lighter side of everything. Part of me said stay home, but I knew that was not what my dad would have wanted."

* On her dad's coaching philosophy: "He saw the bigger picture of sports, instead of just win or lose. He was human. Sports is a business and cutthroat and people will do anything to win, but I was lucky I had my dad as my coach and he never put pressure on me. Win or lose, the love he gave me was the same. Sadly I see too many cases are the other way now."

* On the state of women's tennis: "(Justine) Henin has on average dominated the (WTA) tour, but if you look at the championships in Madrid, you see Henin beat (Marion) Bartoli 6-0, 6-0. Those scores shouldn't happen in the championships. You want to see the top players play each other. That's the only way the fans will tune in."

* On tennis players having shorter careers due to other distractions: "It's harder now. You have to be a multi-media athlete. You have to look good, speak well and do all the off the court stuff. In the old days, we did much less. Tennis is a brutal sport. We play 10 and a half months a year. It's hard to stay injury-free. A lot of the top players struggle with that. Roger (Federer) has a different game. It doesn't take as much out of him as Serena (Williams). Roger has played every Grand Slam since 1999. That statistic alone is amazing."

* On becoming a U.S. citizen in 1994: "It was the happiest day of my life. Playing in the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 and representing our country was the biggest honor I've ever had. It surpasses all the tournaments I played in."

Expected to join Seles, Capriati, Duchovny, Rossdale and the Jensens are former UCLA star Justin Gimelstob, former WTA Tour player Carling Bassett-Seguso and Robert Seguso, actors Scott Foley, Donna Mills and Eric Braeden, as well as other stars from sports, television, music and film. The fun-filled day of tennis and an "Evening with the Stars" gala will raise money for a number of Jensen designated youth-oriented charities, including Jensen-Schmidt Tennis Academy for Down Syndrome, the National Down Syndrome Society and The Riviera Foundation.

The Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic gets underway with a tennis pro-am from 9-11:30 a.m. on Dec. 8, followed by a kids' clinic from noon-1:30 p.m. A pro-celebrity tennis exhibition will be played from 1:30-4:30 p.m. The activities climax with the "Evening with the Stars" gala from 7-11 p.m. at The Riviera Country Club. The gala will feature top entertainment and a live auction.

"I'm honored to be asked to co-host the Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic," said Luke Jensen. "It's going to be a special day and night that will benefit three great causes and we are especially excited to have Monica join us for the event."

The Jensen Brothers designated youth organizations, including the Jensen-Schmidt Tennis Academy for Down Syndrome, will help meet the sport specific needs of children and young adults with Down Syndrome and other special needs. In addition to meeting sport specific needs, the other designated organizations will use multiple avenues in assisting special needs and disadvantaged children.

For more information on the Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, please phone C & H Events at (888) 85-YOUTH. For tickets to the exhibition, please phone 877-888-6433.

Source

Jensens to Host Pro-Celebrity Tennis Event

[11.07.2007]

Luke and Murphy Jensen will host the inaugural Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, December 8, at The Riviera Tennis Club.

Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, actor David Duchovny and musician Gavin Rossdale are among the tennis and entertainment stars scheduled to join the Jensens for the event. Also expected to join them are Justin Gimelstob, Carling Bassett-Seguso and Robert Seguso, actors Scott Foley, Donna Mills and Eric Braeden plus many other sports and entertainment stars.

The fun-filled day of tennis and an "Evening with the Stars" gala will raise money for a number of youth-oriented charities, including Jensen-Schmidt Tennis Academy for Down Syndrome, the National Down Syndrome Society and The Riviera Foundation.

It will be an all-day affair with a tennis pro-am followed by a kids' clinic and a pro-celebrity tennis exhibition. The activities climax with the "Evening with the Stars" gala from 7-11 p.m. at The Riviera Country Club. The gala will feature top entertainment and a live auction.

Source

Vote for Monica!

[10.21.2007]

The Tennis Channel's Open Access is voting on The Top 10 Fan Favorites. Right now the William sisters are in the lead. Let's try to get Monica closer to the top!

Click here to vote for Monica!

Monica in New York.

[10.15.2007]

Monica Seles arrives at The 28th Annual Salute to Women in Sports Awards Dinner at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Classic

[10.11.2007]

Seles, Capriati, Duchovny, Rossdale among tennis, entertainment stars supporting new charity event

Pacific Palisades, Calif. - Former French Open doubles champions Luke and Murphy Jensen will host the inaugural Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, Dec. 8, at The Riviera Tennis Club. Nine-time Grand Slam winner Monica Seles, three-time Grand Slam champion and Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Capriati, actor David Duchovny and musician Gavin Rossdale are among the tennis and entertainment stars scheduled to join the Jensens for the event.

Expected to join Seles, Capriati, Duchovny, Rossdale and the Jensens are former UCLA star Justin Gimelstob, former WTA Tour player Carling Bassett-Seguso and Robert Seguso, actors Scott Foley, Donna Mills and Eric Braeden, as well as other stars from sports, television, music and film. The fun-filled day of tennis and an "Evening with the Stars" gala will raise money for a number of Jensen designated youth-oriented charities, including Jensen-Schmidt Tennis Academy for Down Syndrome, the National Down Syndrome Society and The Riviera Foundation.

The Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic gets underway with a tennis pro-am from 9-11:30 a.m. on Dec. 8, followed by a kids' clinic from 12-1:30 p.m. A pro-celebrity tennis exhibition will be played from 1:30-4:30 p.m. The activities climax with the "Evening with the Stars" gala from 7-11 p.m. at The Riviera Country Club. The gala will feature top entertainment and a live auction.

"I am honored to be asked to co-host the Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, "said Luke Jensen. "It is going to be a special day and night that will benefit three great causes and we are especially excited to have Monica join us for the event."

"I'm still a tennis player, but I also have been studying very hard to become an actor, so the fact that I can be a part of an event that will bring tennis players and celebrities together in L.A. is just way too cool," Murphy Jensen said.

"I am excited to have the opportunity to participate in the Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic along with Luke and Murphy," said Seles, who was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1991-92.

"At Bank of the West, we have a strong commitment to the communities we serve and especially endorse activities that bring people together to support worthy charitable causes," said Rick Davis, Southern California Division executive. "We are pleased to sponsor this event to benefit children's charities."

About Bank of the West: Founded in 1874, $58.4 billion-asset Bank of the West (http://www.bankofthewest.com/) offers a full range of business, corporate, personal, trust and international banking services and currently operates more than 700 branch locations and commercial banking offices in 19 Western and Midwestern states.

The Jensen Brothers designated youth organizations, including the Jensen-Schmidt Tennis Academy for Down Syndrome, will help meet the sport specific needs of children and young adults with Down Syndrome and other special needs. In addition to meeting sport specific needs, the other designated organizations will use multiple avenues in assisting special needs and disadvantaged children.

C & H Events, Inc., which owns and will operate the Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, is a full-service event management and marketing company based in Boca Raton, Fla. Please visit www.chevents.com for further details about C & H Events.

"It is very exciting for C & H Events to head west and bring to Southern California the exciting Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic," C & H Events President Michele Cope said. "We are looking forward to working with Luke and Murphy Jensen as hosts of this charity event, and to forge a strong alliance with our title sponsor Bank of the West and our site host The Riviera Country Club. We're hoping our hard work will result in some very worthwhile charities receiving generous checks to help children in need."

For more information on the Bank of the West Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, phone C & H Events at 888-85-YOUTH. For tickets to the exhibition, phone 877-888-6433.

Source

New Orleans - Monica def. Martina

[09.28.2007]

Here are six clips featuring the Monica Seles vs Martina Navratilova exhibition match from New Orleans. Thanks again to Blazen for sharing the video!

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Monica & Blazen in New Orleans

[09.28.2007]

Blazen with Monica Seles in New Orleans.
Fellow fan, Blazen, with Monica Seles in New Orleans.

Blazen attended the exhibition match in New Orleans. He lives in Louisiana and was kind enough to send us a copy of the match! We will now be able to share clips of the match with the rest of the Seles fans! We all owe Blazen a big thank you. Thank you Blazen!

Alta Bates Summit Foundation Celebrity Classic Tennis Tournament

[09.25.2007]

Watch tennis legends Monica Seles and Corina Morariu in the exhibition matches to benefit Alta Bates Summit Medical Center's nationally recognized life changing programs for youth and their families, Thunder Road and Youth Bridge.

Monica Seles became a tennis sensation in 1990 when she became the youngest ever winner of the French Open at 16, beating Steffi Graf in straight sets. With a punishing two-fisted forehand, fierce backhand and a strong return of serve, she is considered by many to be the first power player in the women's game. Corina Morariu began her professional career in 1994. Predominantly known as a doubles specialist, she won the women's doubles title at Wimbledon in 1999 with Lindsay Davenport. In 2001, Morariu was diagnosed with leukemia. She has since made a full recovery and has returned to competition.

Many local television, radio and sports celebrities will be on the courts for this exciting day of tennis at the Bay Area's number one celebrity tennis tournament.

Tickets to the celebrity tennis event are $25 and include a box lunch; children 10 and under are free. The exhibition match will begin at 11:30. Sponsored players and celebrities will compete before and after the exhibition match, until approximately 4:30 p.m. Tickets to the gala dinner at 6:00 p.m. are also available.

The Alta Bates Summit Foundation is dedicated to securing resources so that Alta Bates Summit Medical Center achieves its mission of enhancing the health and well being of the community. The Foundation supports clinical care, Alta Bates Summit Centers of Excellence and 137 programs that reach out to all members of the community. Together with thousands of caring, generous community members, Alta Bates Summit Foundation is helping dedicated medical professionals create miracles each day.

Since 1987, Alta Bates Medical Center's Thunder Road Program has developed strategies to support more than 6,000 youth and their families in the challenges to recover from the abuses of alcohol, drugs, and nicotine. The program is designed to support youth to grow and develop as healthy, connected and honorable members within our communities. Thunder Road is a nationally recognized comprehensive treatment center and the only Chemical Dependency Recovery Hospital and Group Home for adolescents in California.

Established in 1990, the Youth Bridge program includes academic instruction in job-readiness and health-related careers, mentoring by caring adults, paid summer internships at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and key community organizations, leadership building and community service. Of the hundreds of youth served by Youth Bridge since it's inception, 99 percent have completed high school and 75 percent have continued on to higher academic or vocational education.

Saturday, September 29th 11:30 a.m.
Berkeley Tennis Club
(510) 204-1667
www.absfdn.org

Source

Monica wins in Romania!

[09.16.2007]

We are still waiting for an article in English, but Monica Seles has defeated Martina Navratilova in the Bucharest, Romania exhibition match. The score was 3-6, 6-3, 10-7! Congrats Monica!

New Orleans Exhibition

[09.15.2007]


Michael, Ronny, Monica, & James in New Orleans.

Monica Seles def. Martina Navratilova 6-4, 6-2

We are back from New Orleans, where we got to watch Seles and Navratilova battle it out at the New Orleans Arena. Before the exhibition began we got to meet junior player Michael from the Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Michael is the one who sent us a photo of him and Monica a few weeks ago. We talked for a bit and took some photos together. It was a nice surprise to meet him, we were not expecting that! A few minutes later Monica and Martina came out to play and we saw Mike Sell sitting in the VIP section!

Singles: Getting right to the point, Monica had no problem dispensing Martina after winning the first set 6-4. In the beginning she was down 1-3, but then started finding her rhythm and started stringing points together. Once she won the first set, it was all over. If she continued to play this well, she was on track to win the second easily. With those amazing ground strokes, she quickly took the lead in the second set hitting powerful passing shots and serving up a few aces to win the match 6-4, 6-2. In the end, Martina was probably left wondering if Monica had forgotten that it was an exhibition.

After Monica won the singles match, we were able to get her attention by yelling out "we love you Monica!" She noticed us and motioned that we would talk after the doubles (That was a big relief for us, because we were already starting to think we might not be able to talk to her this time).

Doubles: They only played one set of doubles, first team to get four games won. The doubles was obviously just a filler (just for fun), since Navratilova/Jensen won even though the score was only 3-1. We are not even sure of the name of the person Monica was playing with. It was getting very late and Monica and Martina both had to catch an early morning flight to Romania - so the chair umpire suddenly said "next point wins", which Martina's team won.

After the doubles, Monica was signing autographs and Michael came over to us. We asked him to ask Monica if we can come over the railing to see her (we were getting paranoid that maybe we wouldn't get to talk to her since it was so late). When he finally got to talk with her after waiting his turn, they both looked over and she motioned for us to come over. So we got to talk and get pictures. We told her that Michael had sent us the photo of them two together and we had posted it on our site, Monica said she saw it! Michael must have shown her our site so that she could see the photo of them two together. We joked with her that we didn't see the doll we gave her on her Yonex bag anymore, she politely said that this was a new bag. We complimented her on her play that evening and how well she was striking the ball. She said that once she won the first set she got her rhythm going more. We talked a little longer, wished her a safe trip to Romania, and said our goodbyes. She spent a good amount of time talking with us and Michael - she seemed to enjoy the reunion. We did too!

Unfortunately video cameras were prohibited, we weren't allowed to video tape (sorry guys). But we did get some photos.

New Orleans Photos

Quite a Racket

[09.15.2007]

Seles, Navratilova thrill fans in exhibition match for charity at N.O. Arena

By BENJAMIN HOCHMAN

The children cheered wildly for a couple of ladies whose heydays were before the kids were born.

The adults, who told the children about the greatness, cheered on Friday as well, part in appreciation, part in awe, for the ladies still can play.

Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles, tennis luminaries, played an exhibition on Friday night at the New Orleans Arena, where generations of fans united.

"It is just unbelievable seeing them live," said Abrie Duplooy, one of the promoters of the event.

Seles won the best-of-three match 2-0, but the estimated 3,000 fans were entertained by the intensity and prowess of Navratilova, 50, and Seles, 33.

"They can still place the ball where they want to," said Susie Brown of Mandeville, sitting in the second row. "Their skill level is still there."

The event raised money for American Cancer Society, the New Orleans Recreation Department and New Orleans Recovery School District.

Before the match, representatives from NORD presented the players with an official proclamation from Mayor Ray Nagin, which declared Sept. 14 as a day for honoring the tennis legends and their commitment to New Orleans.

After the match, the players donated a check to Girls First, a non-profit organization, which provides opportunities to underprivileged girls in New Orleans.

"We hoped to inspire some young kids to pick up a tennis racket," said Seles, who won nine singles grand slams. "It is such a fun sport. Maybe in 20 years someone from this crowd will be here in our place."

Though Navratilova, who won 18 singles grand slams, didn't win a set Friday, the match was still entertaining and hard fought. Navratilova took a 3-1 lead in the first set, but Seles clawed back, one trademark grunt at a time. Suddenly, it was 3-3. Navratilova took the lead briefly with a blistering left-handed forehand down the left side, but Seles tied the game at 4 on an equally emphatic play. Using her two-handed backhand, another trademark, Seles' desperation shot barely stayed in play down the right side, and Navratilova's return went long.

Then leading 5-4, Seles made the play of the night, right after Navratilova made what seemed like what would be the play of the night. With a little magic from the old days, Navratilova gently placed the ball over the net, and the ball just sputtered off after landing in play. But Seles responded on the next serve, chasing down a ball that she seemed unlikely to get to.

Not only did she make it in time, but she also smashed the ball past her opponent. She proceeded to win the game, and the set.

Perhaps the loudest cheer of the night came in the second set, when Navratilova, down 3-0, responded with resilience and made it a surmountable 3-1 set, instead of 4-0. But Seles served the next game, and capped it off with such an emphatic serve that Navratilova could only lunge and swing at the ball, which she missed, an ace to win the point and the game. Navratilova won the next game, but Seles won the following two, clinching the victory on a two-handed backhand.

"Monica just played too well," Navratilova said. "She's hitting her serves so well, I had a very hard time returning the serves."

The evening was a light and joyous night, though for Navratilova, the day began with frustration and sadness.

" I drove around today, and it's astonishing how little has been done here," she said. "I'm from the Czech Republic, and there was a huge flood there a few years ago. You would never know it. It was all rebuilt.

"It's astonishing to me that we left these people behind. The insurance company has failed and the people in the government have failed."

Source | Newspaper Scan | TV Advert

Another Monica Interview from the U.S. Open

[09.05.2007]

Monica Seles being interviewed for The Early Show.

Monica Interviewed at the U.S. Open

[09.04.2007]

Monica Seles being interviewed during the Henin vs S. Williams night match at the 2007 U.S. Open.

Monica at the U.S. Open

[09.02.2007]

Monica at the US Open

Monica at the US Open

Monica at the US Open

News from IMG Academies

[08.31.2007]

Monica & Michael

Michael, a student at IMG, recently sent an email telling us about his meeting with Monica. He said that Monica was at IMG earlier this month playing some doubles. He had his photo taken with her after she played doubles.

Michael mentioned that Monica looked great and was having lots of fun. He also said that after the doubles she was playing some one on two tennis and that she was winning everything!

"She was amazing, she still has such a great game", he said.

A few weeks later, we received another email from Michael saying that Monica had been back all week. He said that Monica had been doing a lot of drills. He also said that Monica had been playing practice sets with Nicole Vaidisova and was playing very well against her.

Thank you Michael for the great photo and for the "inside" word on Monica. We hope you have more news to share in the future!

Get Ready, Get Set, Get Moving

[08.09.2007]

By JASMIN K. WILLIAMS

We love tennis. Today's page gives you a brief history and some tips from tennis champ Monica Seles on how healthy and fun playing this wonder sport can be.

It's not always easy to get out and get exercise. You're in school all day, sitting at your desk. When you get home, there's homework, dinner and TV. Perhaps you have a recess at school or a gym class. If not, it's even harder to get in a little time for fitness.

But, with too little exercise and too much junk food, you can quickly find yourself with a few more pounds than you'd like.

Tennis is a great way to have fun and stay fit. Tennis offers you a full body workout in a sport that you can begin playing as young as 4 and continue playing all your life.

Playing tennis burns tons of calories while helping your heart. In just a half-hour, a 140-pound person can burn 254 calories. That's about what you'd get in a slice of pizza.

Here's a little history on the sport:

Tennis is a "ball sport," meaning that you need a ball to play. Ball sports can be traced back as far as 1500 B.C. to the Egyptians, who played them as part of their religious ceremonies. The game was first played by hitting a ball off a wall.

Christian monks refined it into what would become tennis. It was played indoors, with a leather glove to control the ball. Later, a handle was added to the glove, creating the first tennis racquet.

The balls went from being solid wood to leather filled with bran.

The sport was hugely popular with European royalty and nobles, but it soon found favor with the masses, and moved outside in the 19th century.

The term "lawn tennis" was coined by British statesman Arthur Balfour in 1875. The sport gained international fame after the England Croquet Club offered lawn tennis as a bonus. The club, which was located in the suburb of Wimbledon, had its first lawn-tennis tournament in 1877 and the world's most famous tennis tournament was born.

Tennis champ Monica Seles talked to Classroom Extra about her love of the sport.

"I started playing at about age 8 after watching my brother play. I played on a wall where we lived in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia," she told Classroom Extra.

It didn't take Monica long to get the hang of the game. At 14, she played in her first professional tournament. By 17, she was the best female tennis player in the world. She's won more than 40 titles.

But for Seles, tennis is more than just tournaments. It's just a great all-around sport. "You should play because you love it," she said.

Seles championed the benefits of the sport. "Kids learn hand-eye coordination, concentration and discipline. Kids are so very easily distracted, and playing tennis helps because you have to concentrate on the court. You can learn about teamwork, but also about individuality," she said.

Seles is one of the great players of the game, but tennis has also given a lot to her. "Traveling as a professional athlete, tennis has given me great friendships around the world and an understanding of different cultures that I will have for the rest of my life," she said.

If tennis is not for you, there are other fun things you can do to keep fit, like walking, taking the stairs and riding your bike. So get up and get moving, but most of all have fun.

Source

Navratilova and Seles to play in Bucharest

[08.08.2007]

World Top tennis players Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles will have an exhibition game in Bucharest, in the Romanian Open, Romanian Tennis Federation announced here on Tuesday.

The Romanian Open, the 12th edition, starts on September 8 in Bucharest with the qualifications and end on September 16 with the finals, when the exhibition game between Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles is scheduled, President of Romanian Tennis Federation Dumitru Hardau said at a press conference.

The tournament will have 32 participants: 23 are directly accepted, 4 will play the qualifications, 3 wild cards will be granted and 2 places are offered to top players willing to come to Bucharest.

The Romanian Open will offer prizes worth of 353,450 euros (487,760 U.S. dollars) in total. The winner will receive 55,820 euros (77,030 U.S. dollars) and 175 ATP points.

Source

Country club welcomes Monica Seles

[07.30.2007]

Tennis enthusiasts at the Kingwood Country Club were served a treat on Saturday when former tennis star Monica Seles spent the day giving tennis tips and signing autographs.

Members and their children had an opportunity to show off their swings and hit practice balls with Seles assisting nearby. Seles told the assembled crowd that she started playing in exhibition games when she was 6 years old and practiced six hours per day.

She continued to answer questions as the club's tennis pros hit balls over the net for her to return. She advised the players to keep the ball out of the middle and laughed when it was pointed out that she had hit back every ball that came over the net. "I'm like a ball machine," she mused.

"Monica was number one in the world for many years, and she has nine Grand Slam titles, and here she is working with our kids," said Jim Ward, director of tennis. "This is really great for our members, and it's fun for our pros to work with someone like this. We couldn't have found a neater person."

Kevin and Corina Mauth brought their daughter, Matilda Mauth, 4, to learn a few tips from Seles. Matilda was very excited to present Seles with a portrait she drew. "This is a great inspiration for Matilda," said Kevin Mauth. "It's exciting."

Bonnie Edwards, who brought her son and daughter to meet Seles, is a huge fan. "She was my favorite player by far," said Edwards. "I love everything about her. On and off the court, she is the best player I have ever seen."

Donna Griffith's 12-year-old daughter, Rachel, was there to see Seles' two-handed forehand and backhand. "Rachel does the same thing, without changing the grip, too," said Griffith. "Rachel wanted to come see how she does it."

James Williams, 15, was also there to watch Seles hit with her signature grip. "It's interesting to see," said Williams.

Kingwood is the only Texas tennis club that Seles stopped at during her promotional tour with Yonex, an athletic equipment company. "I am very happy Yonex brought me out here to Kingwood," said Seles. "It is a beautiful community, it's like a forest." She said she enjoys coming to different communities and working with young players. "I try to inspire them to play," said Seles. "Tennis is a sport for a lifetime."

Source

Tennis star Seles to play in New Orleans

[07.01.2007]

Her love of tennis is enough temptation for Monica Seles to follow Wimbledon. The emotional aspect, however, limits her TV viewing.

"I've only watched bits and pieces. It's not my favorite thing to do, because part of me still wishes I was there," said Seles, during a recent interview in advance of a Sept. 14 exhibition match against Martina Navratilova at the New Orleans Arena.

"I did watch the French Open, though," Seles said.

That's where Justine Henin matched Seles' feat as the only women to win three consecutive French Open titles in June. Seles, 33, who lives in Sarasota, did it from 1990-92.

Henin advanced Friday at the rain-soaked Wimbledon. She's an oddsmaker's favorite to reach the women's singles finals.

Seles, who advanced to her only Wimbledon singles final in 1992, losing to Steffi Graf, expects a few upsets this week.

"I think you have a few wild cards," said Seles, a nine-time winner in Grand Slam tournaments. "It's been raining, so the grass is going to be playing lower, it's going to be a faster, so it's always going to favor the more agressive player.

"Of course, you have to look at Justine, obviously the defending champion (Amelie) Mauresmo, Serena (Williams) is playing really well right now and I think the more matches she gets, the better she'll be.

"I still think it's wide open on the women's side."

Seles is attempting one final comeback in her career. Part of her return includes playing charity exhibition matches like the one in New Orleans. The event is part of the Men's USTA $50,000 Tournament scheduled for that week. The Seles vs. Navratilova match will be followed by a concert featuring Theresa Andersson.

"I think it's great we're bringing tennis to the fans there," Seles said. "What the people have gone through is heartbreaking. I love New Orleans, I love the city. I've gone to JazzFest many times over the years.

"I played my third (professional) tennis tournament there, back in 1989, so I have some great memories from the place. My best friend got married there, so there is a lot of personal stuff for me there, too."

The week's events will include a children's clinic that Seles and Naratilova will participate and teach. The goal is to provide a continued boost for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

"Obviously these are two of the biggest names in tennis history that people have a chance to see," event promoter Leif Olson said. "One of the things we're focused on is getting as many underpriviledged kids as possible out to this event."

Seles has stuck with a rigorous training regimen each day, in hopes of regaining elite status. For now, she'll take a peak at the climactic end of Wimbledon.

"As a player, you want all the players to be healthy, because you want Grand Slam events to be won when everybody is playing them," Seles said. "That's what you have this year at Wimbledon with the Williamses, Henin, Mauresmo, (Maria) Sharapova, and others.

"In the past, you didn't have all the players. So it's good to see that."

Seles is hoping she might soon add to the mix.

Source

Seles-Navratilova In New Orleans Exhibition

[06.14.2007]

Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles will continue their exhibition series when the left-handed Grand Slam champions face off on Friday, Sept. 14 at the New Orleans Arena. Luke Jensen will emcee the event and play mixed doubles. A concert by Theresa Andersson will follow the singles and mixed doubles matches.

Tickets for the exhibition start at $30 and will go on sale on Saturday, June 16. To purchase tickets, please visit Ticketmaster.com. For information on participating in the pro-am with Seles and Navratilova, please call (504) 401-3861 or (985) 634-6229.

Sarasota residents Seles and Navratilova have a shared tennis history and will share the court in a series of exhibitions this year. In 1993, Seles beat Steffi Graf, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, to capture her third consecutive Australian Open championship. It was Seles' seventh major title in her last eight major appearances. Playing near the peak of her powers, she would go on to beat Navratilova in the Chicago final before Navratilova snapped Seles' 34-match winning streak with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(3), victory in the Paris indoors final.

Seles won 10 of her 17 meetings with Navratilova. They have won 27 major singles titles between them and when Navratilova is asked to identify the greatest woman tennis player in history, she doesn't have to look very far. "I know I'm one of the top three women athletes of all time. And I'm the greatest tennis player who ever played the game," Navratilova told The Houston Chronicle. "When you're up there with an elite group of people, that's good enough. But I probably was the greatest. I know my best was better than anybody else's."

A stress fracture in her foot forced former No. 1 Seles to step away from the WTA Tour four years ago. Though she never officially retired, the nine-time Grand Slam champion has not played a match since limping out of the French Open in a 6-4, 6-0 loss to Nadia Petrova in May of 2003. It was the first time in her storied career that Seles suffered a first-round loss in a Grand Slam.

While she still enjoys hitting, the two-handed titan has said in the past that lingering foot pain prevents her from putting in the practice time necessary to prepare for a return to competitive tennis.

In her younger years, Seles revolutionized women's tennis by playing a bold baseline game and producing power and short angles seldom seen in women's tennis. The woman who took the ball so early it looked like she was hitting half volleys from the baseline, possessed perhaps the most lethal return of serve in the history of women's tennis, and a stirring shriek that accompanied her stunning shots.

"The ball is being hit harder and harder, and the girls are much more complete players than they used to be, physically stronger," Seles told Tennis Week in a past interview. "I think I probably was one of the earliest to start it. I brought in power with two hands from both sides. I was one of a few players that brought on this power game and they've taken it to a new level. Then the grunting part, everybody is now doing it. It's like normal now. Seeing women play such aggressive tennis is really great."

The owner of a 595-122 record, Seles claimed 53 career championships, concluded 1991 and 1992 as World No. 1 and inspired a legion of top players, including Venus Williams and Serena Williams. In a past interview with Tennis Week, Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors said Seles' fighting spirit, willingness to play even closer to the lines on pivotal points and her aggressive baseline style made her the player that most reminded him of himself.

Though the 33-year-old Seles has limited her competitive appearances to World TeamTennis and exhibition matches in recent years, she still plans to pursue her favorite tennis past-time with a passion: hitting. The simple act of hitting the ball over the net over and over again still brings genuine joy to one of the sharpest ball strikers in the sport's history.

"I had a very unusual career, to say the least," Seles said. "I had some highs and lows. But at the end of the day, I got to do something I loved to do. As a little girl, how I started playing tennis was very simple. That part, I'm proud to say, has never changed. To me, I get a great joy just hitting the ball."

Source

French Open Flashback

[06.07.2007]

Today during the Henin vs Jankovic match, ESPN aired a short flashback clip of the 1992 French Open Final. Here is the clip for your enjoyment!

And here's another nice clip from the Tennis Channel that was aired during the same match. Martina Navratilova speaks about Monica.

Idolized

[05.31.2007]
Monica & Serena 2003

In an article from the LA Times, Serena Williams talks about Monica Seles. Here is the excerpt from the article. Click on the source link for the full article.

Then there's Serena Williams, born in 1981, who as a child idolized Monica Seles, born in 1973, then grew up to become an idol for Michaella Krajicek, born in 1989.

Now Williams will play Krajicek in a third-round reminder that Krajicek might feel what Williams used to feel when Williams played Seles.

"That's awesome," Williams said, when told Krajicek idolized her. "That's so sweet. I know the feeling because I loved Monica Seles, so whenever I got a chance to play her, I was just still really excited. And, you know, winning against her was like the ultimate goal. Every time was just so cool. So I know the feeling. It's just kind of strange to be in the opposite position."

Source

For Seles, the barrier was gender

[05.24.2007]

Monica Seles at the Hope Club.by Mike Szostak

PROVIDENCE — When the little girl was 7, her father wanted to take her to his club to play tennis.

“She can’t play tennis here. She has to wait until she’s 12,” the manager told them.

Undeterred, the father took his daughter home, stretched a string between two cars parked in the lot of their high-rise, and hit with her. Later, when the pint-sized kid who was “smaller than the tennis net” started winning tournaments and getting publicity, the club relented and allowed father and daughter to play, but “at hours that were still very unfavorable.”

From those humble beginnings, Monica Seles rose to the top of the women’s tennis world, winning 53 tournaments and 9 Grand Slam singles titles on the women’s pro tour, earning $14.8 million, reaching No. 1 in the Women’s Tennis Association computer rankings in 1991 and 1992. After recovering from a 1993 stabbing that sidelined her for two years and three months at the peak of her career, she regained the No. 1 standing in 1995.

Seles, 33, has been retired from competitive tennis for about four years as a result of a chronic foot injury. She recalled her childhood and her life in pro tennis yesterday for an audience of about 150 professional women as guest of the Women’s Initiative, a group of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge female lawyers and their clients that meets periodically to network and discuss issues of interest.

The setting was ironic because the Hope Club on Benevolent Street was a bastion of male power in Providence for decades.

Seles didn’t dwell on April 30, 1993, when a 39-year-old unemployed lathe operator, Gunter Parche, leaned over a 3-foot barrier and stabbed her in the back with a 10-inch kitchen knife while she rested during a changeover of her quarterfinal match at Hamburg, Germany. She simply divided her career into two parts, before the incident and after, and said, “I realized in that moment that life can change.”

Instead, Seles spoke enthusiastically about her start, joining the women’s tour at 14, meeting Billie Jean King, feeling empowered by playing tennis, coming to understand how fortunate athletes in America are, working with pre-schoolers in Florida to help them avoid obesity, and using the tools she learned in tennis to address her future.

Seles paid tribute to her parents, Karolj and Ester, but especially to her father, her first coach, who fought against traditional beliefs so she could play.

“Even in my own family, playing sports was not allowed. I remember how many times my father, who was my mentor and my coach, fought with my grandmother, who really believed that girls shouldn’t play any sports. She should just be playing with her friends or playing with dolls. She would get me these Barbie dolls,” she said.

She recalled an argument her father and his mother had over the callouses that little Monica was developing. Seles’ grandmother lamented that “She’s not going to be feminine if she going to have these callouses. What are you doing to my grandchild? . . . I was 8 or 9 and winning tournaments under-12. Her concern wasn’t that, ‘Gosh, I might have a granddaughter who could one day be a tennis player,’ but it’s more about ‘What is this going to do down the road for her?’ ”

Seles credited her parents for standing up for her and saying, “My daughter will get to do whatever she wants to do. If tomorrow she wakes up and doesn’t like tennis any more, that’s fine, as long as she does do something in her life.”

That tomorrow, of course, never dawned. Seles won the prestigious Orange Bowl tournament, caught the eye of junior tennis guru Nick Bollettieri and enrolled in his academy, moved with her family to Florida and grew up to be a tennis star.

“I realize now how lucky I was to have such wonderful parents who encouraged me and let me follow my dream,” she said.

Seles became a U.S. citizen in 1994. She had heard about Billie Jean King but did not meet her until 1996 with the U.S. Federation Cup team for a match in Japan.

“She’s a lady who is so amazing,” Seles said. “I had so much to learn from her. We just sat there and listened to her stories.”

Seles spoke about the value of sports for girls. She said sports taught her discipline and the value of a strong work ethic, mentioning that when she was No. 1 she worked harder because she knew there was a hungry player coming up who wanted her position.

Tennis, she said, empowered her. “I knew who I was. I am a strong person. It gave me so much self-confidence. The skills you learn as an athlete in any sport are life skills.”

Her work with pre-schoolers in Florida is an attempt to teach them to have fun and to help moms, so busy with work and households and family, to interact with their youngsters in a healthy activity, she said.

Seles appeared relaxed as she mingled with female professionals of all ages. She joked about her height, saying she grew 2 1/2 inches in the two years she was out of action.

She was critical of the emphasis popular culture and the media place on size and appearance.

“We live in an age when the media takes over . . . What role models are kids seeing? What they’re seeing is unattainable.”

This was Seles’ first visit to Rhode Island. As Renee A.R. Evangelista of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge said in her introduction, she will be back at some point for her induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

“Even in my own family, playing sports was not allowed. I remember how many times my father, who was my mentor and my coach, fought with my grandmother, who really believed that girls shouldn’t play any sports.”

Source

Monica Plays Polo

[04.22.2007]

Monica Seles plays polo

"So, I've been on a horse. But this is definitely a first." Double Olympic gold medalist hurdler Edwin Moses was ready to trade his pony for a pair of boots that fit, while former tennis champ Monica Seles wondered how she was suckered into it. "I've never even seen a match before," she said. ...

Click on the source link for the full article.

There is another photo at Getty Images.

Source

Seles Sighting: Monica plays Martina in exhibition

[04.09.2007]

By Sarah Alvanipour

Monica Seles has remained quiet since being sidelined with a chronic foot injury in 2003, but she had a great deal to say on the court when she played an exhibition match at the River Oaks Country Club last week, her first public match in quite some time.

The 33-year-old, who makes her home in the tennis haven of Sarasota, Fla., arrived on the morning of her scheduled match against fellow tennis great and former rival Martina Navratilova. After three practice sessions, the 9-time Slam winner took to the court, her sea foam green and white Yonex clothing hugging a much slimmer figure, highlighted well by her blonde highlights.

Seles' nervousness was apparent from the start, but as the match progressed, the former World No. 1 showed shades of the player that once dominated the women's game before her career was cut brutally short. Broken in the ninth game of the first set, she immediately broke back and held at love to consolidate the break on her serve, using the same punishing ground strokes that led her to three French Open crowns.

The contrast of styles - Navratilova's one-handed serve-and-volley game versus the double-fisted forehand and backhand from the baseline-hugging Seles produced some quality tennis with a bit of humor mixed in for good measure. Seles, although playing an exhibition, appeared to have more than the typical hit-and-giggle mentality, focusing on the match point by point as if rankings points were at stake - she offered only a half-apology for a net cord at one point.

But the rust on court was not confined to the color of the clay, she even forgot to switch sides after six points in the opening set tiebreak.

"I'll take whatever I can get right now", she told the crowd after a lucky winner. And take she did, winning the tiebreak and the set.

Navratilova came back in the second set, which took an entertaining turn when a drop shot off Seles' racquet drew the 50-year-old veteran wide. Navratilova went sailing off the court and nearly into the first row of seats, where she playfully grabbed a spectator's drink and took a sip. Realizing it was an alcoholic beverage, she quipped, "That is the first and last time I'll ever do that. Now I'll have a smile on my face no matter what."

That proved difficult to live up to, however, because she double faulted on match point to hand Seles the match, 7-6 (1), 2-6, 10-1 (match tiebreak).

Having faced and overcome adversity in her career, spotlighted by the stabbing she suffered at a tournament in Germany in 1993 and the death of her father and mentor later in her career, Seles' resolve is as much a credit to her as her accomplishments on the court. But off the court, she remains somewhat shy, flashing her unassuming smile when complimented or approached by fans, who packed the stadium to watch her play in dipping temperatures and give a rousing round of applause.

And the feeling was mutual.

"Except for [the groin pull], I am happy with everything, and especially my foot," she told the Houston Chronicle. "This was a good start and I am looking forward to playing more."

Source

Seles satisfied

[04.09.2007]

Other than suffering a slight groin pull, Monica Seles came out of her 7-6 (1), 2-6, 10-1 exhibition victory over Martina Navratilova at River Oaks on Thursday night feeling good about her evening's work and the reception she received from Houston's fans.

"Except for (the groin pull), I am happy with everything, and especially my foot," she said, speaking of the injury that has kept her off the tour for almost four years and has required two surgeries. "This was a good start and I am looking forward to playing more."

Seles, who flew in from her home in Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday morning, had three warmups, which spoke to her admitted nervousness about playing in front of a paying audience for the first time in ages.

Navratilova was herself going all-out for the first time since celebrating her 50th birthday last fall.

She had arthroscopic knee surgery in November, having injured it "playing on very bad clay in Warsaw."

But she likes the way she's playing, too, although she did add: "The problem isn't hitting the ball. It's getting to it."

River Oaks tennis director Van Barry said Seles called as soon as she got back to Florida to thank him for the experience, saying she couldn't have been treated better.

Source

Our Houston Experience

[04.06.2007]

River Oaks International - Houston TexasWith all the rain this past week in Texas we were lucky that it wasn't raining, and it was sunny in Houston. When we arrived Massu was playing Dorsch and we went and sat down in our seats to watch some. They were playing really good, we stayed and watched a few games and then went to the concession stand. We decided to stay down on the grounds while the match was playing because there were a few pro players walking around. Plus Monaco and Vemic still needed to play after Massu's match so we had some time before needing to settle in for the exhibition match.

A lot of kids and teens were running around getting autographs, we saw Goldstein, M. Jensen, Ginepri, Delic, Tursunov, and Fred Stolle - no sign of Monica and Martina though until maybe an hour before the exhibition actually started. We were standing in the back kind of away from the crowd funneling through, and we see this guy holding a Yonex bag and walking behind us towards the golfing area - and then there's Monica walking up from behind us. He greats her and they start walking by and we said hello, and she looked over at us and then we started talking. She loved the doll, she remembered us, we took photos, we talked about certain things regarding our last meeting, and then said she would see us after the match and went into the players lounge.

She is such a nice person (its hard to describe in words), she makes you feel like you are the only person in the world when she is talking with you - she gives you her full attention and seems genuinely interested and asks questions. A wonderful person to talk with. After that we felt like we could go settle in, so we went and watched the last part of the Monaco and Vemic match which was running later than expected.

Soon Monica and Martina were out on the court and we weren't sitting really close - and we don't have a good camera so we didn't get great photos, but we tried. Martina won the coin toss and elected to receive. Monica held serve and they went to 2 all eventually, but then Monica's serve seemed a tad off and Martina went ahead in the 1st set. But Monica started cracking winners left and right and came back to win the first set in a tie-breaker 7-6 (1). Monica was striking the ball very well although her first serve was a little off. But the two handed ground strokes as usual, were right on. Even hitting one handed forehand winners at times but mainly using her two handed forehand.

In the 2nd set Martina started doing her thing and playing to the crowd - she even took a drink off a man's margarita during the 2nd set after Monica won a game (haha)! Monica's first serve was still missing though and Martina was playing great after loosening up and playing to the crowd - Martina took a quick lead in the 2nd set. But Monica was all smiles though, she got a kick out of it and thought it was funny as did the crowd. Monica got her first serve together at the end and hit a few aces but too late, and Martina won the 2nd set 6-2. But once the 3rd set 10 point tie break started, Monica put on her game face again and ran away with the tie-breaker hitting winners all over the place and hitting a few more aces to close it out 10-1. Final score being 7-6 (1), 2-6, 10-1.

Fred Stolle asked Navratilova a few questions and she said it's hard coming out here and playing singles when the last time you played singles was when I played her (Monica), 2 years ago. Murphy Jensen asked Monica how she felt playing tonight and what she missed most about playing professionally. She said the nerves before playing still, but once you get out there you can shake off the nerves and play some good tennis. She said that she missed the excitement from playing great tennis with the thrill of the crowd cheering.

Once the crowd was thanked for coming and everyone was leaving the stadium, Monica was coming through and signing autographs for the fans. We got to talk with her again and we were so elated to see that she had attached the doll we gave her, to her Yonex bag!! We mentioned it and she asked if we wanted another pic, so we did. We got hugs and kisses while she asked if we were staying the night in Houston or driving back home tomorrow. We said that we were going to drive back tonight and she wished us a safe drive home and thanked us again for coming and for the doll.

It was another magical experience for us and one that we will cherish for always!

Click here to view a few more photos from the event.

Ronny & James with Monica in Houston

[04.05.2007]

Ronny & James with Monica Seles in Houston, Texas.

Monica leaving the stadium in Houston with the doll we gave her attached to her tennis bag.

We're back from Houston and we had a great time! As you can see from the above photos, we got to meet and talk to Monica again. It was another dream come true for us! We gave her a little "Monica" doll that we made for her and she loved it. She even attached it to her Yonex tennis bag!

Also, regarding the article from the Houston Chronicle, they misprinted the score. Monica actually won the match 7-6(1), 2-6, 10-1.

It's getting very late (actually early Friday morning), so we will have more details and photos later!

Seles is driven by her love of the game

[04.05.2007]

Monica Seles has had a great run in tennis, and she wants to go out on her own terms

By DALE ROBERTSON

Monica Seles beat Martina Navratilova in an exhibition during the River Oaks International in Houston, Texas.Monica Seles does not look back with anger or remorse, only with occasional regret. And Seles' regret is tempered by two truths, that she was a victim of bad luck, not bad behavior, and that her life has been almost incomprehensively wonderful.

Yes, she got stabbed in the back in the middle of a match, derailing a career that might have broken all the records. Yes, a chronic foot problem, resulting in two operations, has made these last few years frequently hellish while prolonging her official tennis swan song. But there is no hint of bitterness when she speaks.

"I had terrible luck, that's true," Seles said. "What happened to me has never happened to any (athlete). But what happened was beyond my control. I didn't do anything wrong. Even the foot ... it just happened. I'd be lying if I didn't say there were a lot of bad days, but I've always tried to roll with it and stay positive."

Seles, 33, misses competitive tennis, and that as much as anything explains this long goodbye. Almost four years after her last tour match, a first-round loss at the French Open, she remains unretired.

Taking on Navratilova

That's why she played Martina Navratilova at River Oaks on Thursday. The exhibition, which Seles won 6-7 (1), 6-2, 10-1, served as the first step to determining the when, the where and the why of the last step.

"My personal theory is, if you're retired, you're retired," Seles said. "You don't come back. And I don't feel like I'm ready to say that. I'm in such good shape. I only wish I was in this good a shape when I was playing. It's hard to accept that, just because of an injury, you're finished."

Seles dreams of playing the French Open again. The Australian and U.S. opens, too, if not Wimbledon.

She believes she has maybe five tournaments left in her reconstructed foot and, she said, "I want to make sure I'm fully prepared. The tournaments I played injured were the worst times of my life. I told myself I'd never do that again."

Wear and tear had caused a bone in the bottom of her foot to disintegrate, causing pain.

"The last three years have been so frustrating," Seles said. "For me, it's so simple. I just love to play tennis. Anyone that's been close to me can see the ups and downs I've been through, feeling that it's going to be OK, then being very disappointed and down all over again. I could write a book on rehab.

"Finally in December, when I started hitting again, I thought, 'Hey, this is feeling pretty good.' I still have to be very cautious, to take every other day off, but I called Martina and said (playing an exhibition) would be really fun. I told her, 'I know you're done, but I'm not really sure I am.' "

Navratilova sort of owed her. When she was coming out of retirement again a couple of years ago, she had recruited Seles for a pair of matches in New Zealand, winning both. Back in the day, as Seles was coming up and Navratilova was going down, they squared off 17 times in less than four years. Seles won 10, including the 1991 U.S. Open final and a Wimbledon semifinal in 1992.

Navratilova's career would become the antithesis of Seles' interrupted one, enduring and fruitful. Seles has been forced to settle with fruitful.

"What happened to Monica," Navratilova said, "was ludicrous, so unfair."

Seles collected nine Grand Slam titles, eight of them before she turned 20 — and seven of the last eight she contested before being stabbed in the back by an unemployed Steffi Graf-obsessed lathe operator in Hamburg 14 years ago this month. With Seles gone from the tour for the subsequent 2 1/2 years, Graf collected six of her record 21 majors, three more than Navratilova's total.

There are plenty of players like Seles. She invented a genre. Her two-fisted power game from the deep backcourt, accompanied by a guttural symphony of grunts, moans and shrieks, foretold where women's tennis was headed.

Beating an idol

But she would prefer to write the final chapter. And, if that's going to happen, it will have started in Houston, where the story began. In 1989, Seles, then 15, beat Chris Evert at Westside Tennis Club to claim the first of her 53 WTA titles. She remembers every detail.

"You're 15 years old, you've watched Chrissie who is kind of your idol and suddenly you're across the net from her," Seles said. "I'd lost to her pretty bad a couple months before in Boca Raton and, to just actually win a tournament, against Chrissie, that was amazing.

"Growing up, everybody says, 'Oh, Monica is going to be great, blah, blah, blah.' But, until it happens, you never really know. As a player, you have doubts. (Beating Evert) was almost a validation. I said I don't care if I ever win another tournament. At least I won one. I'll never forget taking that big (cardboard) check they used to give you in the old days onto the airplane with me. I still have it somewhere. It was for more money than I'd ever seen — $50,000. How could I forget that?"

Source

Navratilova, Seles play tonight

[04.05.2007]

Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles, two tennis legends with much Houston history between them, will square off not before 7:30 tonight in the biggest women's match at River Oaks since just after the dawn of the sport's Open Era.

Neither has ever played at the club, which has held a men's tournament since 1931 but last hosted a women's event in 1969, when the great Australian Margaret Court won the title. However, Seles and Navratilova combined to claim nine WTA tournament championships between them at other local venues between 1976 and 1992.

Navratilova, 50, retired for a second time last fall after winning the U.S. Open mixed doubles with Bob Bryan. Seles, 33, hasn't participated in a sanctioned event since Roland Garros in 2003 because of chronic foot problems. She plans to use the exhibition as a step toward making a decision as to whether she'll attempt to play again.

Navratilova won six of the 10 Houston women's tour events she entered, including four in a row from 1976 through 1979. Seles' first of 53 professional titles was claimed at Westside at Chris Evert's expense in 1989.

Grandstand tickets, priced at $50 each, are still available.

Source

Monica in Barcelona

[04.02.2007]

BARCELONA, SPAIN - Former tennis player and Laureus World Sports Academy member Monica Seles attends the Laureus Sports Awards at the Palau Sant Jordi on April 2, 2007 in Barcelona, Spain.

Greatness: It's all just a state of mind

[03.21.2007]

If only every athlete were this brutally honest.

I asked Martina Navratilova: "How do you rank yourself against the all-time greatest of women's tennis?"

She said, "I know I'm one of the top three women athletes of all time. And I'm the greatest tennis player who ever played the game. When you're up there with an elite group of people, that's good enough. But I probably was the greatest. I know my best was better than anybody else's."

Brutally honest ... and correct.

Navratilova is coming to River Oaks Country Club April 5 for an exhibition match against Monica Seles. For ticket information, call 713-874-6333.

Source

Navratilova, Seles set to meet

[03.06.2007]

They've never been to River Oaks Country Club, but Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles, who will face off in an exhibition match there April 5, have plenty of good memories of the tennis they have played in Houston.

Navratilova claimed six titles in 10 tries, including four in a row from 1976 through 1979, back when the WTA Tour passed through town every year.

She also won in 1983 and 1985 in the middle of a 61-month stretch that saw her win 71 tournaments, including 12 of 17 Grand Slams.

Seles was a three-time champion of the Virginia Slims of Houston, recording the first of her 53 career championships as an unseeded 15-year-old out of the former Yugoslavia in 1989 when she upset Chris Evert in the final.

She most recently won at Westside Tennis Club in 1992, when she beat local favorite Zina Garrison for the title, dropping only eight games in four tournament matches.

She never has lost in singles here, an unblemished record she'll put on the line against Navratilova on the Thursday night during the River Oaks International men's event.

Navratilova, 50, only recently retired from the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles circuit and mixed doubles play at the Grand Slams, and Seles, 33, met 17 times between 1989 and 1993, with Seles winning 10, including their 1991 U.S. Open final.

Although Seles never has officially retired, she last played on the Tour in 2003, when she was beaten in the first round at Roland Garros.

In recent years, River Oaks has held a special match during its annual spring tournament. But on the only previous occasion two women were slated to square off — Anna Kournikova vs. Carly Gullickson in 2004 — Kournikova was a no-show, claiming illness.

The Seles-Navratilova Houston match is part of a series of exhibitions they are slated to participate in this year.

Source

Seles vs Navratilova Exhibitions?

[01.31.2007]

In a recent article about Martina Navratilova, it mentions that Martina is planning some exhibitions with Monica Seles. Here is the portion of the article that mentions the exhibitions. See the "Source" link for the entire article.

"She has been busy promoting her fitness book called Shape Your Self. She is planning a series of exhibition matches with Monica Seles, who also lives in Sarasota. She might have some interest in coaching and definitely has plans to spend some time in the broadcast booth, starting with the French Open in May and continuing through Wimbledon."

No other information is available at this time.

Source