News from 2012

Coaches Across America kicks off in New Orleans

[11.05.2012]

Monica Seles & Robby Naish

NEW ORLEANS--Laureus Academy members Edwin Moses, Marcus Allen, Robby Naish and Monica Seles will kick-off Laureus USA/Mercedes-Benz USA's Initiative to launch Up2Us' Coach Across America Program in New Orleans Nov. 5.

The nationwide collaboration supports after-school sports programs.

The New Orleans program places 26 coaches in 11 local programs, henefitting 3,250 area children.

When: Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Where: Samuel J. Green School

2319 Valence St.

New Orleans

Who: Laureus World Sports Academy Members Dr. Edwin Moses, a two-time Olympic champion and chairman of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA, Marcus Allen, a Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, Robby Naish, widely acknowledged as the greatest windsurfer of all time, and Monica Seles, former World No. 1 professional tennis player and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, will kick-off a collaboration between the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA (Laureus USA) and Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) to launch Up2Us' Coach Across America (CAA) program in New Orleans.

What: The New Orleans initiative places and trains 26 Laureus/MBUSA sponsored Coach Across America (CAA) coaches in 11 after-school sports programs, benefiting 3,250 underserved youth in 30 communities in New Orleans. These include: Gentilly, Marrero, Gretna, Algiers, New Orleans East and Broadmoor.

Moses, Allen, Naish and Seles, along with CAA coaches, will participate with children in a series of sports activities.

With a $1.3 million national commitment from MBUSA to Laureus USA, the program focuses on training and placing 250 CAA coaches in sports-based youth development projects in underserved neighborhoods in five U.S. cities: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans.

New Orleans, a new market for Coach Across America, is the final stop for the collaboration in 2012.

Why: On September 19, a 15-year-old was killed as he was part of a triple shooting in the Central City neighborhood. An 18-year-old was also among the victims in the shooting.

Public-private partnerships like Laureus USA and MBUSA remain key to sustaining vital after-school opportunities and helping bridge the gap and encourage more youth to be physically active and not turn to violence.

Community-based coaches can play a crucial role in developing character and keeping students engaged in constructive physical activities instead ofturning to the streets. A recent GAO report confirmed that despite the important role of coaches, quality coaches are in short supply.1 Proper coaching increases thechance of better grades, better behavior, healthier lives and longer life due to fitness activity. Laureus USA has selected the groundbreaking Coach Across America program as its partner to ensure kids and communities in underserved areas have access to the most highly trained coaches in the country.

About Laureus USA

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA (www.laureususa.com) is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity in the United States. It is part of the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation global network, which includes theglobal Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, the Laureus World Sports Academy, and the Laureus World Sports Awards. Collectively, the Laureus global network harnesses the power of sport to promote social change and celebrate sporting excellence. Laureus champions the universal power of sport to bring people together as a force for good, pursuit of excellence, overcoming challenges,celebrating achievement, and winning against the odds.

About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and the SLS AMG supercar.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans and smart in the US. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com.

Source

Monica Seles and Juliette Kayyem join ICSS Advisory Board

[09.07.2012]

The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), the international organisation that specialises in safety, security and integrity in sport, has today announced the appointment of Monica Seles and Juliette Kayyem to the ICSS Advisory Board.

Seles, a former world number one, is one of the most-decorated female player's in tennis history, winning a career total of nine Grand Slam titles and 53 WTA tour singles titles before retiring from the game in 2007. In 1990, Seles became the youngest ever winner of the French Open, aged just 16 years and six months, when she beat then-world number one, Steffi Graf, in straight sets. Injured in an on court attack, Seles will provide the Advisory Board with a unique perspective into security at major sport events, as well as offering a wealth of experience within the international media as a former athlete.

The ICSS has also appointed Juliette Kayyem to its Advisory Board. Kayyem, a lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, brings with her 15 years experience in national security and foreign policy, including Assistant Secretary to President Obama for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.

Kayyem has also managed security efforts for a number of major sport events, including Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the Caribbean Games and the World Equestrian Games. As part of her role on the Advisory Board, Juliette will offer considerable insight into the role of Government policy in bidding for and hosting major sport events, as well as advising and supporting the ICSS on best practice in working with local authorities and government departments.

Mohammed Hanzab, President of the ICSS, said; "Monica's and Juliette's appointments to the ICSS Advisory Board are important milestones in the history of the organisation. As a legend in her sport, I am sure Monica will bring with her the unique insight that only comes with playing sport at the highest level. Alongside this, Juliette, with her extensive experience in sport and government, is an exciting addition to our team and I am looking forward to working with her and Monica on a range of projects over the coming months, including our forthcoming Integrity Symposium and 3rd International Sport Security Conference."

Speaking on her appointment, Monica Seles said; "I am delighted to be joining the ICSS Advisory Board and would like to thank them for giving me this opportunity to help make the world of sport a safer, more secure environment for everyone involved. I hope that, through my experiences as an athlete, I can contribute to the important work and knowledge sharing that the ICSS is currently undertaking in the field of sport safety, security and integrity."

Juliette Kayyem said; "With many new nations looking to host major international sport events and federations striving to grow their sports in new territories, the ICSS, with its team of international experts, is a much needed hub of knowledge, expertise and advice. Effective collaboration with governments is now a crucial element to hosting successful major sport events and I look forward to sharing my experience and working closely with my colleagues on the ICSS Advisory Board to ensure safe, secure and clean sport."

Seles and Kayyem join a distinguished collection of security and integrity experts on the ICSS Advisory Board, including Lord John Stevens (Chairman of the ICSS Advisory Board and Former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police), Khoo Boon Hui (President of Interpol), Peter Ryan (Security Advisor to the International Olympic Committee), Ali Soufan (CEO, Soufan Group), Eric Drossart (Former Chairman and Chief Executive of IMG Europe, Middle East and Africa), Horst Schmidt (Vice President, Local Organising Committee for 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany?) and Rick Parry (Former CEO of the Premier League and Liverpool Football Club).

Source

Where are they now: Monica Seles

[09.03.2012]

Monica Seles was born in Yugoslavia (now Serbia). She was the top ranked girls under 18 player in the world by the time she was 13 years old. In 1990 at the age of 16, she became the youngest female player ever to win the French Open. She became a United States citizen in 1994.

She won a total of 9 grand slam titles: Australian Open, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996; French Open, 1990, 1991, 1992; and the U.S. Open, 1991, 1992. She was the year-end number 1 ranked female player in 1991 and 1992.

In April 1993, while playing in a tournament in Germany, she was the victim of an on-court incident when a man ran onto the edge of the court during a change-over between games and stabbed her in the back. She did not return to competition for over 2 years. Although she enjoyed some success after resuming her tennis career, she was never able to show consistency at top form. She played her last match at the French Open in 2003 and officially retired in February 2008.

Upon her retirement, Monica said, "I'm now opening a new chapter where I hope to share how I found balance, strength, and happiness in my life after a roller coaster ride of exhilaration, accomplishment, and sometimes overwhelming tragedy."

In 2008 she competed on the U.S. television show 'Dancing with the Stars'. She and her dancing partner did not make it past the second round of competition, but her appearance put her back in the public eye.

In July 2009 she became a member of the International Tennis hall of Fame. In June 2011, she was named one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis, Past, Present, and Future", by Time magazine. In 2012, the Tennis Channel created a list of the 100 greatest tennis players of all time, and Monica was listed as the 19th greatest.

She has indicated her toughest battle after the attack was chronic overeating in an effort to deal with the stabbing and subsequent mental and physical rehabilitation. In 2009 her book, 'Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self', was published. In it she chronicles, among other things, her bout with depression, addiction to food subsequent to the stabbing, and life beyond tennis.

Monica has devoted much of her time since retirement from tennis advocating for healthy eating, physical fitness, self-image, and self-confidence. She is a goodwill ambassador for IIMSAM, a non-profit organization working to promote the use of Spirulina against severe malnutrition. She recently, August 2012, served as the keynote speaker for an event to benefit Happiness House Charity. Happiness House offers programs and services for children and adults with disabilities.

Source

Seles recalls the Grand Slam of fate

[08.25.2012]

You are at the 1992 U.S. Open, a few rows from courtside in Louis Armstrong Stadium, watching a teenage tour de force hit a tennis ball. You've never seen anything quite like it. You've never heard anything like it, either, the way Monica Seles, a kid from Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, would swing, two-fisted on both sides, and hit impossible angles at an absurd pace, and punctuate every one with a two-tone grunt, a baseline assault and an aural assault all at once.

You were never sure if Monica Seles was hitting a forehand or a backhand, not that it mattered. You were sure you were seeing the greatest sensation in her sport. Monica Seles was 18 years old at that Open, 20 years ago this week. She was about to roll through seven rounds in Flushing Meadows in 14 sets and about seven hours time, winning her second straight Open singles title, the world's No. 1 player on in the midst of winning seven out of nine Grand Slams, a ball-bashing marvel who announced herself by winning the French Open at age 16, and seemed certain to dominate for years to come.

"I was learning to be a professional - starting to understand the fame and the money and the requests and everything that comes with it, never expecting what would happen six months later," Monica Seles says.

What happened six months later, of course, is that the sports world changed forever, and so did Monica Seles' charmed young life. It changed on a changeover on red clay, April 30, 1993, Seles leading 6-4, 4-3 in the second set of a quarterfinal against Magdelena Maleeva in Hamburg, Germany, where a stocky man in jeans and a print shirt leaned over a barrier and plunged a nine-inch boning knife into Seles' upper back.

The man was named Gunther Parche and he was described as an unemployed lathe operator and fan of Steffi Graf who was upset that Seles had overtaken her in the rankings.

So he did something about it, and Seles, who was seemingly the most delightfully innocent prodigy you would ever meet — a sweet, slightly goofy, unscripted kid who was in complete wonder of the world she was moving in — became the ultimate sporting victim.

It remains the most horrific moment of her life, and her least favorite subject. Seles wrote a remarkably candid book "Getting A Grip" a few years ago, talking in depth about depression and her eating disorder, her battles with weight and the cockeyed, media-driven images of what a woman should look like. She devotes five reluctant pages to the attack on her in Hamburg.

"I don't think about it," Seles says. "I try to erase it from my mind. It took some great years out of my life, and (caused) tremendous stress on my life. It happened. And now I've moved on, and want to leave it in the past."

Seles would miss nearly 2½ years because of the assault, and though she won her ninth, and last Grand Slam, in Australia in 1996, and had a memorable 1995 final against Graf at the Open, she was never close to being the same player again. When her father and longtime coach, Karolj, died in 1998, so did the abiding connection she had with the game. Not because he pushed her or pressured her, at all, but because it was a love they shared for almost all of Monica's life. Seles laughs faintly and says she never cared that much about winning or losing. She had the most fun of all when she was in juniors, when she was just playing.

"As crazy as it sounds, I didn't even like to keep score. I just loved to go out and hit the ball. I loved to play, loved to hit the ball. That was when it was the most fun."

Now 38 years old, long since an American citizen who lives on the west coast of Florida, Seles still plays recreationally, and works out on the elliptical, and speaks out as much as possible to help young girls achieve healthy body images, and be comfortable with themselves. She is working with a co-author on a series of young adult books called The Academy, and works with the Laureus Foundation, trying to affect social change through sport.

Seles hasn't been to the Open for the last three years, but will be back this year, for the final four days. She hopes to connect with her old friends, Mary Joe Fernandez, Iva Majoli and maybe Jennifer Capriati, whom she beat in an epic semifinal in 1991, a 16-year-old vs. a 15-year-old, one of the great Open women's matches ever.

"Everybody was cheering for Jennifer, because she was the American," Seles says, laughing.

Two decades after she won her last Open, at the pinnacle of her grunting, ball-bashing powers, Monica Seles says she's looking forward to being back amid the Flushing Meadows mayhem that always agreed with her. She says she won't be thinking at all of the innocence, or the Grand Slams, that were lost so soon after she held up her trophy in Queens 20 years ago.

"I'm old enough to know there will still be highs and lows," Monica Seles says. "It's just important to keep track of what's really important and remember that not much else really matters."

Source

Monica Seles talks nutrition during stop in Rochester

[08.14.2012]

During her rise to No. 1 in the tennis world in the early 1990s, Monica Seles beat the best. But her toughest foe off the court was struggling with chronic over eating for years while coming back from being stabbed during a match in Germany in 1993.

Seles, 38, talked about that Tuesday morning in front of a crowd at the Tennis Club of Rochester and also played some doubles in Pittsford. She promoted her 2009 book, "Getting A Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self," while also helping raise money for Happiness House, a non-profit agency that serves Ontario County children and families.

"Her message is about eating right and self-image and self-confidence and being fit - not so much model-perfect," said Mike Coppola, one of the event organizers who works for one its sponsors, Paychex.

"We're all pushing our kids to succeed in sports ... I think part of Monica's message was to keep in mind that drive or desire to excel is sometimes at the expense of the kids' well-being."

Seles declined to be interviewed during the appearance, but she has spoken candidly over the years about her binge eating. Now she advises others, especially teens, to stay active and eat healthier, and explains how the mind and body work in concert.

"It's a great message," said Scott Thyroff, 41, a former Pittsford Mendon tennis standout who is now a local instructor. "With the computers and iPads and all the other distractions kids have, the outdoor activities have gotten lost a little bit."

Thyroff partnered with Seles during a doubles exhibition, calling it "unnerving" initially but overall a "thrill" to play with a player who was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009.

Former Honeoye Falls-Lima standout Quinn Gleason, 17, who leaves Thursday to start her college career at Notre Dame, also was among those who played against Seles in the exhibition.

"It was awesome. She's a great role model and great person to look up to. I know she's inspired me a lot," Gleason said. "It's so important, especially in an individual sport like tennis. You've really got to have your head on straight and be focused at all times."

Source

Monica Seles delivers keynote address at Happiness House Charity event

[08.14.2012]

Some local tennis fans got a chance to hear from and play against one of tennis's greatest champions today.

Serbian tennis player and former world champion Monica Seles stopped by the Tennis Club of Rochester Tuesday.

After giving a keynote address, Seles hit the courts to play against some of the tennis fans in attendance.

During her keynote, she spoke to the crowd about growing up as a rising tennis star including leaving her family at a young age to come to the U.S. and train. "I really just believed in myself that I was on a path and if I just stayed with it and I worked hard, things would get better. Because I definitely was very homesick, being here without my parents for a year and a half was not one of the easiest periods of my life."

Seles' appearance today was to benefit Happiness House. It's a non-profit agency that serves children and families in Ontario County.

Source

Monica Seles to be keynote speaker at Happiness House Charity Event

[07.17.2012]

Pittsford, N.Y. - Monica Seles, former world number one professional tennis player and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, will be the keynote speaker at the Happiness House Charity Event.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the Tennis Club of Rochester, 570 Kreag Road, Pittsford. Registration is required and space is limited to a first paid, first served basis. Guests can register online at happinesshouse.org.

The cost for this event is $75 for adults and $50 for students 18 and under. Seles will share her insights on sports nutrition for teen athletes and talk about her book, "Getting A Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self." Seles will also have a Q & A session, demonstration, an exhibition with the pros and a book signing.

To purchase tickets, call CEO Mary Boatfield at 315-789-6828. All proceeds go to Happiness House Foundation to benefit Happiness House's programs and services.

Source

Capriati, Kuerten headline Tennis Hall of Fame's 2012 class

[07.14.2012]

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Jennifer Capriati's tennis career -- and her teenage life -- took a number of twists and turns.

She started as a teenage prodigy, was later sidetracked with off-court troubles, rebounded to become a three-time Grand Slam champion and, now, her journey is complete with her induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Capriati and several others were inducted into the Hall during a 90-minute ceremony Saturday.

Joining Capriati were recently retired player Gustavo Kuerten, master player Manuel Orantes, tennis industry executive Mike Davies and wheelchair champion Randy Snow, who was honored posthumously.

In a tear-filled acceptance speech, the 36-year old Capriati remembered her great moments in the game and touched on some of her troubles off the court.

Capriati was presented by 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Monica Seles.

"I still managed to overcome some adversity, win a Gold Medal, win some Grand Slams and stand at the podium at the Hall of Fame," said Capriati, breaking into tears during her acceptance speech. "This is one milestone I thought I'd never achieve."

She now feels as though her tennis career is fulfilled.

"It's been quite a journey," Capriati said at a morning press conference. "Here, I look back at all those really great things I've accomplished and the achievements I've had and those achievements I overcame."

As a 14-year old, she burst onto the scene fresh out of the eighth grade and reached the semifinals at her first Grand Slam event -- the 1990 French Open.

Three years later, drug and other problems sidetracked her life and career. She temporarily dropped off the tour following the 1993 U.S. Open.

Her downturn didn't stop there. She was arrested that year for shoplifting at a Florida mall, and again the next year for marijuana possession. She also spent time in drug rehabilitation in 1994.

Capriati also feels she left the game a little earlier than she wanted because of injuries.

"It was tough having to leave the game," she said, cracking a bit with emotion. "It's like mourning a loved one that's gone and a relationship's that gone, a part of yourself. It wasn't easy, but something that's gone and what you loved to do.

"It took a while to accept that and let go. This is so great for me because it's putting a lot of closure to my career and I'm able to move forward, give thanks, take thanks, give the honor and take the honor, and just be acknowledged here. It means everything to me."

After dropping off the scene, she returned to the sport in 1996. Five years later, she reached those lofty expectations that were thrust upon her, beating past champions Seles, Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis en route to the 2001 Australian Open title and her first top-10 ranking in seven years.

She was selected as the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year later that year. The comeback didn't stop there -- she followed that by capturing the French Open and was the only player to reach at least the semis in all four Grand Slams that year.

The highlight match of her career -- and maybe one of the top performances in the game -- was the 2002 Australian Open when she trailed Hingis 4-6, 0-4 before rallying to a three-set victory.

She won a gold medal for the United States at Barcelona in 1992. Her career ended in 2004 with a 430-176 record.

Kuerten was No. 1 in the world for 43 weeks and the clay-court specialist captured French Open titles in 1997, 2000 and `01.

"I believe it's the surface you have to suffer more," the 35-year old Brazilian said. "You have to be out there for many hours. You have to use every weapon you can and fight like a warrior. It's fun to try."

During his speech he joked about being enshrined along with Capriati.

"Jennifer, I don't want to compare my career to yours, otherwise they'd think about having me," he said.

Orantes, elected in the Master Player category, reached No. 2 in the world in 1973. The 63-year old Spanish star stayed in the top 10 for five straight years.

Davies was elected in the contributor category. He held executive positions with various tennis organizations and was a driving force behind the game's move to network television, instituting rules offering breaks for commercials to make the game more appealing to the networks.

"We basically tried to do things in a professional show business," the 76-year old said. "It was during our time we were basically able to get on TV."

Snow, who passed away in November 2009, won 22 major tournaments. His father, Tom, accepted on his late son's behalf.

"Randy's hero was Brad Parks," Snow's father said, referring to the Hall's first wheelchair entrant, enshrined in 2010.

Source

More Monica at the Roland Garros Final

[06.09.2012]

Photos by Ludo - http://ludosarasota.wordpress.com/

Our friend Ludo would like to share a few Monica photos and a video he took at the Roland Garros final! Click here to view all the photos! Below is a portion of his email:

On my cloud:

It's impossible to describe how I'm feeling. Yesterday was a magical day at Roland Garros. Another magical day. The first week at Roland Garros is fantastic, there are a lot of good matches, training, and surprises. The weather was perfect and I had the great chance to live great moments, and yesterday it was just like a dream with Monica. I met her once again. It's the second time this year. She was so nice with me and really kind. She's a GORGEOUS woman. I would like to share this experience with all her fans. I have to say believe in yours dreams, everything is possible.

-Ludo

Thank you Ludo for sharing your photos, video, and experience with us!

Monica with Sebastien at Roland Garros!

[06.09.2012]

Monica & Sebastien in Paris!

Fellow Monica Seles fan, Sebastien, met Monica at Roland Garros! Below is a portion of his email:

Hi Dear Fans & Friends of Our Idol MONICA,

Here is a pic I want to share with you. Monica asked to someone to take this pic of us when she arrived for the lunch before the French Open Final. As usual, It was fantastic with her. Lovely Monica asked me news and was happy to see me. As If I had this chance, it was too quick to say more things. She told me, "See you after the match", with a beautiful smile. After the match, too many people were there... Impossible to see her again.

The same day, I saw Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. It was so strange to see so many ex-players there at the same place. I hope, and still hope, that one day, we will meet together with Monica for a special day dedicated to her.

Take care,
HUGS
Sebastien

Thank you Sebastien for sharing with all of us!

2012 French Open Ceremony

[06.09.2012]


Seles and Wilander to present French Open trophies

[05.21.2012]

Paris - Former French Open champions Monica Seles and Sweden's Mats Wilander will present the trophies to the women's and men's singles champions at this year's renewal the organisers announced on Monday.

Yugoslavia-born naturalised American Seles, 38, won the women's singles title three times (1990-92) and will present the ladies trophy on June 9 and fellow triple French Open champion (1982, 85, 88) Wilander, 47, the men's the following day.

Source

C'MON gala fetes a dream come true

[04.01.2012]

Monica Seles, tennis champion and Naples resident, was part of the crowd celebrating the opening of the Golisano Children's Museum of Naples.

Spanning a decade from conception to fruition, the Golisano Children's Museum of Naples (C'MON) was officially unveiled on March 23 to a joyful gathering of over 520 supporters.

Labeled Dream Gala 2012, the extravaganza fully encompassed the two-acre site located within the North Collier Regional Park on Livingston Road.

Greeted by a coterie of sometimes fearsome fairy tale characters, guests, many dressed in C'MON blue or blue ties, strode along a winding blue carpet. Quick to accept wine from circulating waiters who passed youth-inspired hors d'oeuvres that included mac 'n' cheese breaded balls, cheese filled celery sticks dotted with watermelon "caviar" and miniature short rib sliders, they also gathered round the bar while awaiting the ribbon cutting.

Following a proclamation presented by Mayor John Sorey and another from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Executive Director Joe Cox, former Mayor Bill Barnett, founder and honorary chair Allyson Loos and honorary chair Tom Golisano as well as event chair Shelia Smith Davis all spoke briefly. Aas the ribbon was snipped, all surged inside.

Dispersing upstairs and down and throughout the exhibits, most were in awe equal to that of first-time visiting kiddies who revel in the look, touch and listen aspects of the unique museum created just for them.

Overheard witty remarks: Bill Barnett explaining that he's gone from a Who's Who entry to "Who's he?" And Golisano in observing the happy assemblage, "People in Naples are obviously very generous. Where else would anyone be excited simply by paying so much for a ticket?"

Notables present for the festivities were Jane, Joe Cox's proud mother visiting from their native Malta, and Monica Seles, formerly No. 1 world tennis professional and now resident in Naples.

Among apparel standouts Sonya Sawyer in an aqua Giovanni gown she found in Tampa comprising a strapless, feathered bodice, diamanté midriff and tulle, feather-studded skirt, short in front and extending to a train in back; and handsome in dress blues, retired USAF Colonel Denny Ferriel.

After an hour of camaraderie both inside and in the adjacent outdoor Johnsonville Backyardville and near the rolling hill and still maturing hedge maze, it was on to the massive dining tent. Interior décor designed by Rufino Hernandez and his Garden District team used C'MON logo colors for playful, suspended jellyfish, floral centerpieces and table coverings.

Alan James Powerhouse band entertained throughout the evening right until dancing diehards called it a night. Chair Shelia Davis was first out on the floor, expertly dancing with a professional partner. When not on the dance floor, revelers ended the evening in the intimate Stargazer Lounge.

On a wow note were very young Naples Performing Arts Center students Allie Vallieres, in ostrich feather-trimmed silver, and Clinton Wood, properly decked out in white tie and tails who took to the dance floor in a polished dance performance.

An army of Ritz-Carlton chefs and waitstaff provided drink and food service throughout the gala including the three-course dinner. The menu amusingly featured the dreaded "peas & carrots" veggie combo often deplored by youngsters.

Kellie Burns, NBC-2 News Anchor, working in tandem with Napa Valley auctioneer and Arietta wine purveyor Fritz Hatton, magically raised a total of $271,000 in live auction income derived from nine packages acquired by auction co- chairs Linda Malone and Simone Lutgert. Bob Harden was dinner emcee.

C'MON Director of External Affairs Heather Patton announced that net proceeds from ticket sales at $1,500 per person, live auction and sponsorship income and a $25,000 donation made that evening totaled an estimated $450,000.

Source

Tony & Monica in Paris!

[02.26.2012]

Tony with Monica in Paris!

Here are some more photos of Monica in Paris for the doubles exhibition match taken by fellow Monica fan and former forum member, Tony. Below is a portion of the email he sent to us. Click the link to view his photos from the exhibition. Thank you Tony for sharing your wonderful photos with us!

Hello Ronny and James!

First of all, thank you so very much for your great website about Monica. It's always a great pleasure to get some recent news about her thanks to you! Monica is someone who is very close to my heart and I would like to share with you my incredible day in Paris in February!

But as I am writing to you, I am overcome by my emotions because I just can't believe I finally realized my dearest dream, the dream of the little boy I was. Here are some pictures of this special moment in my life. Enjoy it!

You know, I am one of the biggest fans of Monica (just like you, Sebastien, Ludovic and many more.), I support her since her first final at the French Open in 1990...What a great memory... :) I discovered this wonderful sport thanks to her and it became my "number one" passion!!

In fact, most of people say that she was the best player in the world, the most incredible champion in the history and also someone wonderful, very nice. It is as well my opinion and by far...But she means much more for me and this, for other reasons...

In fact, sometimes my heart wasn't in anything anymore I told myself, just like in her biography, that life was a precious gift and you couldn't give up so easily your own life and your own history.

She helped me a lot even if it was in an indirect and virtual way but now I believe in my choices and in me more and more. However, I didn't want to copy her , I'd rather say to take an example on Monica because I always appreciated her choices, her spirit mind and her capacity to adapt herself to the differents situations on and off-court!! She is and she'll be an everlasting source of inspiration in my life!

I could not describe by words the happiness she gave me in Paris! She has such a really big heart!! Her grunts and her play were still there! :) You know, after the training session, I coud take one picture with monica (she said to me: "don't be nervous!), and just afterward I stayed at my seat and I cried for joy . That was the biggest emotion of my life!

What can I say more? I'll never forget this moment and I would to share it with you and all the other fans throughout the world.

You can always believe in your dreams! Dreams can be true!

Sincerely,

Tony

Click here to view all the photos!

Tennis Legends to Make History

[02.23.2012]

Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Mary Joe Fernandez and Zina Garrison will square off in the Bahamas for the first time ever in the history of tennis for a much publicized Doubles Match

Nassau, Bahamas - Four of The greatest tennis legends of all times are set to compete in an historic doubles match during the opening of the prestigious Bahamas Open on Sunday March 11th, 2012 on Centre Court of the National Tennis Centre in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Bahamas Open an ITF sanctioned $100,000 Women's Pro Tennis Tournament, has the best advantage in the world, where many of the 100 ranked players who are eliminated early in the BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells choose to go before heading to Key Biscayne Florida for the Sony Ericsson Open.

To announce to the world, that the Bahamas is now a top tennis destination, The Bahamas Open have matched these legendary tennis players for one last hurray on the world stage in what is being billed as a Mega Legendary Match with the Best of the Best.

Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Mary Joe Fernandez and Zina Garrison, who has replaced Jennifer Capriati because of an injury to her arm, will square off in the Bahamas for the first time ever in the history of tennis for a much publicized Doubles Match. Never before have three number one seeds ever matched-up for a live play in the Bahamas or even the Caribbean region for that matter.

The event is being held in aid of four local charities in the Bahamas and the purse for each player will go to the charity which they represent. The Charities include the Bahamas Red Cross, The Cancer Society of the Bahamas, The Crippled Children's Committee and the Ranfurly Home for Children.

The event is expected to be televised and already requests from around the world have started to pour in. Fans of tennis will get an added treat, as the tournament itself will feature some of the best players in the world who are eliminated early in Indian Wells. Last year, more than 32 players in the 100 ranking  made history with the first ever event, including World number 2 ranked player, Petra Kvitova, as well as Sabine Lisicki and many others. In addition no other $100,000 in prize money event ever attracted such a strong field of all 100 ranked players.

This trend is again expected to be repeated, as the Players now feel that the Bahamas is a good omen. In last year's tournament only one player was in the top 30 in the world. Following competing in the Bahamas Open, 10 of those players are now in the top 30.

The Sheraton Cable Beach Resort and Casino is the Official Hotel, with the world famous Atlantis as the secondary hotel. Organizers have been able to get special rates, as well as American Airlines offering up to 10% discount on airfares.

This year, lots of activities are scheduled to take place especially with the first ever Bahamas Open Ball, where players get to walk the Red Carpet with the legendary stars, as well as witness the first ever Hall of Fame Induction into the Bahamas Tennis Hall of Fame.

There will also be Parties, Receptions and Concerts every night of the tournament following the feature match every evening, as well as prizes and give-aways. Some of the many prizes include a 2012 Hyundai Elantra, a Rolex Watch, Spa Treatments, Roundtrip Airline Tickets, Dinners at world famous Graycliff and a Dream Vacation for two that can be taken anytime within one year. Everyone with a paid admission ticket is eligible and each entry into the Stadium gives you additional chances to win one of these special prizes.

The Bahamas Open, which is expected to be a national event, will showcase the legends as well as the top players on the circuit competing for the Lady Edith Turnquest Trophy, as well as a whirlwind of activities to ensure that everyone experience an exciting time in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas is no longer just the home of former number 1 doubles players in the world, Mark Knowles, but now the home of the Bahamas Open a prestigious tournament that features the best players in the World. Witness history with every event.

Source

More Photos from Sébastien!

[02.22.2012]

Photos by Sébastien

Fellow Monica fan, Sébastien, has decided to share more photos with us! These photos are from the Open GDF Suez Exhibition in Paris on February 12, 2012. He is also sharing some photos from Monica's last appearance at the 2003 French Open. Below are portions of the emails he sent to us along with the photos. Thank you so much for sharing these great photos with us Sébastien! Enjoy!

Email #1:

Dear friends,

Thanks for your e-mail. Here are pics of the famous day of the exhibition in Paris this Sunday 12 of February. You can use them for the website. It is a pleasure to share with people who did not have my chance to see Monica on a court. I hope you will enjoy them.

My pics are not so good. Most of them are blurred. The light on the stadium was not so good and my camera is a bit old. But anyway, it is already good to have this souvenir. I was first there to enjoy of the show and not only to take pics.

I am also gonna send you the pics of Monica of French Open 2003. It is the first time I give them. I want you to have it because I know what fans you are and you deserve to have them. It is really the time to share them. I gave to Monica those pics when I met her. I wanted her to have this souvenir in picture because It was the last match of her career.

I have also a link where you can see me and Monica, http://www.greenactive.com/ornek-calisma-detay.php?id=5, It was in 2002 when Monica practiced before the 10th Open Gaz de France in Paris. I also gave Monica this picture and she also signed one for me. She called me her bodyguard ... Sweet Monica ...

As I told you, I hope to meet you one day. The best would be with Monica with tennis racquets. I play 2 hands 2 sides (lefty just for tennis like Monica) !!!

Stay in touch,

Take care

Sébastien

Click here to view more photos from the 2012 Open GDF Suez Exhibition!

Email #2:

AS PROMISED ...

French Open 2003... I had he chance to be there, behind the chair for the last match and she gave me the towel which is on her chair...Monica is still my number 1!!!

The same day, I met Gaby (Sabatini) and she signed the book by Monica "From fear to victory" that Monica signed too after her training session of this "last" day. You can see the pics of this training ... and of the match with the scoreboard.

For the little story, I had a camera to use for only one time. Only 20-24 pics maximum and no idea of the pics before going to the camera shop. Technology has changed so fast ...

Take Care,

Sébastien

Click here to view the photos from the 2003 French Open!

More Monica in Paris!

[02.13.2012]

Monica in Paris!Here are some more photos of Monica in Paris for the doubles exhibition match taken by fellow Monica fan, Sébastien. Below is a portion of his email. Click the link to view the photos from the event. Thank you Sébastien for sharing with all of us!

Hi Ronny and James,

I hope you are fine. Yesterday, I thought to you as I saw Monica in Paris. She was so sweet... I have not seen her during 9 years, but she remembered me like it was yesterday.

Here are private pics I want to share with you. I have taken more pics but here are the first taken with my mobile phone. I will send you pics coming from my camera soon If you want.

That would be great to see all of us with Monica, one day, somewhere in the world... sharing a day... Dreams can become true...

Take care,

Sébastien

Click here to view all the photos!

Monica in Paris!

[02.13.2012]

Monica in Paris!Monica was in Paris for a doubles exhibition match on February 12, 2012 at the Open GDF Suez. Monica played with partner Amelie Mauresmo versus Martina Hingis and Martina Navratilova. Our friend and fellow Monica fan, Ludo, was there for the match. Below is a portion of his email. Click the link to view the photos from the event. Thank you Ludo for sharing with all of us!

Monica Seles was in Paris yesterday at the Open Gdf Suez. She played doubles with Amelie Mauresmo against both Martina Hingis and Martina Navratilova just before the final. Once again I was so lucky. I was in the Stadium. I had the great chance to see Monica and to meet her. I gave her flowers and I shared a few words with her on and off the court. She's just a wonderful woman, really kind and really empathic. Her eyes are beautiful, just because her soul is beautiful. It was a magical moment. I'm sending you few pictures of this event. If you want to put this email with the pictures on your great website, you have my authorization. I would like to share my experience with all her fans. I would like to also say something about this moment. To me, it was really important to meet her and to share a few things with her. I would like to encourage everyone to believe in their dreams. Believe me, anything is possible. Yeah to be happy and free, it's possible... with tenacity and dignity.

Enjoy it.

-Ludo

P.S. Don't forget to visit my website for more news and video:
http://ludosarasota.wordpress.com/


Click here to view all the photos!

Mega doubles match set for Women's Open

[01.27.2012]

TWO of the greatest legends in women's tennis history along with two former No.1 ranked players in the world are going to face off in an epic doubles match.

And the matchup will go down in history at the second annual Bahamas Women's Open at the National Tennis Center on March 11.

Martina Navratilova, considered to be one of the best women tennis players of all time, is slated to battle Monica Seles, one of the best ever in the sport in this mega doubles match.

Not to be outdone, Jennifer Capriati, a tennis phenomenon at 13, will team up with Martina to duel against Monica and her partner Mary Joe Fernandez, another top player.

Capriati hurt her arm in an exhibition in Europe and is hoping to be able to play.

However, she is still expected to attend the Bahamas Open and if she can't play, then Zina Garrison - another former top player - is expected to take her place.

This historic event is scheduled to take place on a Sunday (March 11), the opening day of the Bahamas Open - an ITF sanctioned $100,000 women's pro tennis tournament - at the National Tennis Center in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center.

Both the Tennis Channel and ESPN are expected into town for the televising of the mega doubles match and semifinals and finals of the doubles and singles events.

Last year, the Bahamas made history when it hosted a major pro women's tennis tournament for the first time ever.

The event also set a record for the most top players, all in the 100 ranking in the world - in the main draw for a $100,000 prize money tournament.

"All the players that were in our main draw last year only play in million dollar prize money tournaments," said Ty Olander, the owner of the ITF sanction for the Bahamas.

"Never had a $100,000 in prize money tournament attracted all 100 ranked players for the main draw. Before us this was unheard of. But the good news is this trend will continue as we get all of the players eliminated in Indian Wells the first week. They need us and, as a result, our tournament was formed."

Monica Seles, Martina Navratilova, Jennifer Capriati and Mary Joe Fernandez have never played in the Bahamas before.

"They are all looking forward to coming to the Bahamas to kick off the second Bahamas Open, which is expected to be a huge event this second time. We have put together an event second to none this time," said Olander.

"We are getting everybody involved from the school children, the tourists, the various charities, the expats, the service clubs and the residents. There will be something for everyone."

While in the Bahamas, these tennis stars are expected to visit schools, put on tennis clinics, host receptions and meet the Bahamians as well as tourists up close and personal.

The Bahamas Open is expected to start on March 9 with a welcome reception at the Tennis Center where all of the players are expected to sign in.

Then the Qualifiers are on Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11, followed by the opening ceremony which starts at 5pm with the legendary doubles match with the star players.

The main draw starts on Monday and ends on Saturday with the presentation of the Lady Edith Turnquest Championship trophy to the winner.

Tickets go on sale next week at various box offices and on-line at www.thebahamasopen.com

Source