Angelique Kerber Australian Open outfit

As the new tennis season begins with the Australian Open 2017, adidas Tennis revealed the latest performance wear to be worn by the best in the game. Players including Angelique Kerber, Dominic Thiem and Sascha Zverev will be equipped with brand new Melbourne and Barricade performance wear, designed to maximise performance at the first Grand Slam of 2017.

The Melbourne collection has been re-imagined with a fresh new look inspired by the city of the first Grand Slam of the year. The blue of the ocean combines with pops of bright orange to deliver a look matching the heat and environment of Melbourne. Wearing the new Melbourne men’s collection will be Sascha Zverev, current world number 24 and the youngest player in the ATP top 50. Performing in the women’s collection will be defending champion, Angelique Kerber.

Angelique Kerber Australian Open 2017 outfit

Angelique Kerber Australian Open outfit

Angelique Kerber Australian Open outfit

Angelique Kerber Australian Open outfit
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Snauwaert racquet

Early New Year’s resolution for me, as I decided to play tennis again after a long long long … very long time.

First step: to buy a brand new racquet.
My first ever racquet was a blue Slazenger racquet, looking like this one but with blue grip and frame. Do you remember your first racquet?

After a few searches online I’ve decided to give a chance to a brand that is reborn from its ashes: Snauwaert.
Snauwaert was founded in 1928 by two Belgian brothers-in-law Valler Snauwaert and Eugeen Depla. The company went out of business in 1994. Milos Mecir, Mikael Pernfors and Vitas Gerulaitis used to play with Snauwaert racquets back in the days.
The company is now back to business thanks to new investors. Former top 20 Xavier Malisse is a brand ambassador while Dominique Monami is Snauwaert’s communication manager.

They currently sell four different models, available each in two weight and balance combinations:
– Grinta 98 for attacking players, provides control and spin
– Grinta 100 for creative allcourters, provides an all-round mix of control, power and spin
– Vitas 100 for explosive allcourters, provides extra power and spin
– Vitas 105 for players just getting into the game

When ordering you can also choose between three kind of strings:
– black beam for extreme spin and durability
– white beam for balacnced power and control
– sunny core for extreme power and control

I opted for the Vitas Snauwaert 105 265g with sunny core string for €210. It’s quite expensive but when you have the racquet in hand, you feel that’s a really high quality product.

An early Christmas present, a Snauwaert Vitas 105:

Snauwaert racquet

Snauwaert racquet

Snauwaert racquet

Snauwaert racquet
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Wimbledon view from court 12

It’s more than time to prepare your trip to the greatest tennis tournament, Wimbledon! Wimbledon tickets are the most coveted tickets and of course the most difficult to get.

Prices

First, let’s have a look at the prices for Wimbledon 2017 tickets. From £15 to £190 for the mens finals.

Wimbledon 2017 ticket prices

There are four ways to get tickets: the ballots, the Queue, Ticketmaster and the hospitality packages. In fact there are two more (membership and debentures) but I guess if you can afford them you are not reading this article.

Ballots

Neat

The majority of Wimbledon tickets are distributed via ballots. Entry into the ballot gives you a place in the draw for tickets, which is done randomly by computer. It does not automatically entitle you to tickets for Wimbledon. You can not choose specific days or courts.

UK ballot

From September 1, 2016, the All England Club Tennis Club is accepting applications for the public ballot from UK residents. To obtain an application form send in a stamped, self-addressed envelope before December 15, 2016 to:
AELTC
P.O. BOX 98
London
SW19 5AE

You will need to complete and return the application form by December 31, 2016 in order to be entered in the ballot. Completed forms must be returned to:
AELTC
P.O. BOX 67611
London
SW19 9DT

Overseas ballot

To enter the non-UK residents ballot, you need to complete this form. You have from December 1, 2016 till December 15, 2016 to submit your application.

British tennis ballot

If you’re a British tennis member, you’ve already received an email asking if you want to opt in for the ballot. You only have to login into your members area, click OPT IN and that’s it you just have to wait for the results.
If you’re not it’s really easy to join, it only costs £25 for adults and you don’t have to be British to join in. Membership gives you discounts and pre-sales on tickets for events including Queen’s and Eastbourne tournaments, and entry into the BTM Wimbledon ballot. Check out all the details here.

The Queue

Wimbledon Queues

A limited number of tickets are available daily for Centre Court, No.1 Court and No.2 Court, except for the last four days on Centre Court, when all are sold in advance. In addition, several thousand Grounds Passes are available each day at the turnstiles entitling use of unreserved seating and standing room on Courts No.3-19. All you have to do to get one ticket is queue! Tickets are cash only if you’re queuing.

The Queue is a tradition as integral to the Championships as strawberries and cream, or predominately white clothing.
In 1927 queues started outside the ground at 5 a.m. and more than 2,000 people were turned away. In 1991, when heavy rain caused the game to be delayed to the Middle Sunday for the very first time, the queue stretched for 2.4 km outside the grounds.

Check out Wimbledon’s guide to queuing and Mel’s diary of a Wimbledon queuer.

Ticketmaster

Several hundred Centre Court and No.3 Court tickets are up for grabs on Ticketmaster the day before each game. Sign up to the Wimbledon newsletter to get ticket alerts.

Hospitality packages

Keith Prowse and Sportsworld are Wimbledon’s two official tour operators. They provide hospitality packages, including tickets and London hotel accommodation. Sportsworld offer packages for visitors from the UK, Asia and Australasia. Keith Prowse offer packages for visitors from the UK, Europe, and the Americas.

If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment below, I’ll do my best to reply.

Photo credit: KT (1&3), Wimbledon website (2), Michael Pritchard (4)

2016 US Open Angie Kerber

“When I was a kid I was always dreaming to one day be the No. 1 player in the world, to win Grand Slams. And today is the day. All the dreams came true this year.” — Angelique Kerber

What a year indeed for Angie Kerber: 3 Grand Slam finals, silver at the Olympics and the number one spot. Here’s a look at Kerber’s career by the numbers:

2003: Kerber turned pro in 2003, aged 15

2012: she wins her first WTA tournament, the Open GDF in Paris, defeating Marion Bartoli in the final

10: Kerber has won 10 tournaments in her career so far

0: she has never won a Premier tournament (the WTA’s equivalent to the ATP Masters 1000)

10: her rankings at the start of the season

8730: her number of WTA points

22: Kerber became the 22nd player to reach the number one spot since the WTA ranking was introduced in November 1975.

1: at 28 years old, she became the oldest female player to debut at the top spot.

2: she’s the second German player to reach number one, 21 years after her idol Steffi Graf.

3: she’s only the third left-handed player, after Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles.

Video credit: C Yorkie

TennisAid

Tennis is not only about big names and big tournaments, but also about coaches and educators who work in the shadows. Martin is one of them; together with his friend Abel, he founded TennisAid, a charity whose purpose is to provide sports equipment and technical assistance to kids living in poor countries. You can find more about Martin and TennisAid’s trips to Uganda here. Thanks Martin for having been kind enough to answer our questions.

We followed your adventures in Uganda last year, are you still in contact with the kids?

Yes, we are in contact with their coaches, they are good friends and we are in constant communication to see how their work progresses and if they have any special needs to be covered.

TennisAid is also involved with another charity, Seneball can you talk a bit about that?

Seneball is a project originated in the Canary Islands by a group of coaches with experience in humanitarian work in India. The idea is to build a tennis court and a classroom in a Senegal village to provide local kids both tennis and education. They asked TennisAid to join in and we gladly accepted.

You also had a project with a refugee camp in Dunkirk

Coach Steve Verkouter from Belgium started visiting the refugee camp in Dunkirk and we contacted him, then we provided him mini-tennis rackets and soft balls and that lead to a short visit to another refugee camp in Athens this past June. A very powerful, sad and learning experience.

What’s next for TennisAid, do you have any new projects?

We just launched our website: www.tennisaid.org and that´s a huge step forward for us. We can show all of our trips, collaborations, special shipments that we send all over the world. We can also receive donations or sell our bracelets. We sold over 5000 of them already. Soon we will have new T´shirts for sale too.

How can we help TennisAid?

The best way to help us is to promote our work, buy our merchandising or make monetary donations. Locally we constantly get a lot of equipment donations and that help us a lot when it comes to travelling or shipping boxes because we don´t have to buy any material.

Please check out tennisaid.org and follow TennisAid on Twitter and Instagram.