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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Alison Van Uytvanck

It seems that every year a relatively unknown player reaches the second week of Roland Garros. This year this player is Alison Van Uytvanck. After wins over Anna Schmiedlova, Zarina Diyas and Kristina Mladenovic, she’s through to her first Grand Slam fourth round.

Aged 21, she won her maiden WTA title in Taipei in 2013, and reached her best ranking (73) in September last year. She is coached by former top Belgian player Ann Devries.

Kim Clijsters and Dominique Monami congratulated her on twitter:

Alison Van Uytvanck

Alison Van Uytvanck

Alison Van Uytvanck

Alison Van Uytvanck

Alison is the last Belgian standing at Roland Garros, as David Goffin lost to Jérémy Chardy yesterday. We wish her good luck for her next match against another surprising player, Andreea Mitu ranked 99.

Follow our Roland Garros 2015 coverage on Tennis Buzz and check out tennis-belge.be for more news on Belgian Tennis.

Sles, McEnroe, Clijsters and Bahrami

My reports on the Optima Open are finally online! This match took place on Saturday, August 16th (read my complete Optima Open report here).

Last match of the day: a mixed doubles exhibition with Kim Clijsters, Monica Seles, John McEnroe and Mansour Bahrami! It’s always a pleasure to see these great champions play and have fun on court.

Players entering the court:

Warm-up:

4-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters, visibly happy to be on court:

Kim Clijsters and Mansour Bahrami

Kim Clijsters

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Henri Leconte

My reports on the Optima Open are finally online! This match took place on Saturday, August 16th (read my complete Optima Open report here).

Second match of the day: crowd favorite Henri Leconte against Greg Rusedski.
Rusedski won the match 7-5 6-3 but as expected Henri stole the show on court (let’s say Rusedski is not really a charismatic player…)

Rusedski and Leconte were both Grand Slam finalists: the Brit lost to Pat Rafter in the 1997 US Open final, and Henri lost the infamous Roland Garros 1988 final to Mats Wilander.
Leconte is now a commentator for Eurosport and has recently launched a padel club in Manosque, South of France.
As for Rusedski if I’m not wrong, he’s involved with junior players but I’m not so sure about that.

Henri Leconte

Greg Rusedski

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Goran Ivanisevic and Pat Cash

My reports on the Optima Open are finally online! This match took place on Saturday, August 16th (read my complete Optima Open report here).

First match of the day between two Wimbledon champions: Pat Cash (1987) and Goran Ivanisevic (2001).
An entertaining match with lots of interactions between the players and the public. Cash and Ivanisevic even tried to “corrupt” the line judges by offering them money. It was a lot of fun with some good tennis too.

Pat Cash

Goran’s impressive serve:

Goran Ivanisevic

Pete Sampras was the first player to pass 1,000 ace mark in a single season, but Goran still holds the record for most aces in a year.

Grandpa Cash, still looking strong at 49:

Pat Cash

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Optima Open 2014 report

Optima Open

I spent a day in Knokke-Heist, Belgium, last month to attend the third day of the Optima Open, the Belgian stop of the ATP Champions Tour. It was the second seniors event I attended this year after the World Tennis Day showdown in London last March (find all the recap here).

Situated in the heart of the country’s Flemish-speaking Flanders region, Knokke-Heist is considered to be one of Belgium’s most exclusive and affluent seaside resorts. Knokke-Heist is the perfect base for exploring the enchanting Zwin region, on the Belgian-Dutch border.

Knokke

Knokke

Knokke

The tournament has the typical senior event format: 2 groups of 3 players, with the winners of each group facing each other in final. This year the Optima Open also featured a star-studded mixed doubles exhibition event: with three former world number one, winnners of 20 singles Grand Slam titles in total, and tennis’ greatest entertainer, Mansour Bahrami completing the foursome.

Group A Group B Special guests
Fabrice Santoro Xavier Malisse Kim Clijsters
Greg Rusedski Goran Ivanisevic Monica Seles
Henri Leconte Pat Cash John McEnroe
Mansour Bahrami
Sabine Appelmans
Dominique Monami

All results on the official website (Malisse beat Santoro in the final)

Optima Open

Optima Open

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