NEWPORT, R.I. – During his down time from his role as Chief Executive Officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Todd Martin will sometimes hit the grass courts at the Newport Casino and play tennis using an old wooden Jack Kramer Pro Staff racquet, the racquet he used growing up as a young boy. Martin’s comfort with the wooden racquet on his home courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame served him well Sunday as he won a special “retro racquet” version event on the Invesco Series QQQ, held in conjunction with the ATP’s Hall of Fame Open and the induction ceremonies for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
“It’s nostalgic,” said Martin after beating Mats Wilander 6-2 in the one-set championship match with the Jack Kramer Pro Staff. “I’ve spent my entire life in tennis in various capacities. This is my original racquet. It makes me think about my childhood.”
Wilander, the former world No. 1, used a steel Yonex racquet that he got as a prize when he won a 12-and-under tournament back in Sweden. Wilander, however, could not play with the racquet because his father stole it from him to use himself. Wilander found the racquet in a closet a few weeks ago and decided to use it for this specially-designed event.
The quality of play with the older racquet frames was quite high in all three Invesco Series QQQ matches with few unforced errors. Said Martin of his wood racquet prowess, “Actually my backhand feels better with wood than it does with graphite. My forehand is horrible with both.”
The title was the first for Martin on the Invesco Series since he won the title in Minneapolis in 2011 and his sixth overall title on this North American tennis tour for champion tennis players over the age of 30. Martin also won the title in Newport on this tour back in 2007 defeating John McEnroe in the final. This year’s event in Newport marked only the second Invesco Series QQQ event for Martin since 2014 after competing in New Haven last summer.
En route to the final, Martin beat newly-minted International Tennis Hall of Fame member Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-4, while Wilander beat Jim Courier 6-2. Kafelnikov, the Russian former French and Australian Open champion, was appearing in his first career Invesco Series QQQ event and used a Jack Kramer Autograph racquet. In his loss, Courier used the steel Wilson T-2000 racquet.
The 2019 Invesco Series QQQ circuit continues August 3 with the Invesco Legends San Jose as part of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State University.
Earlier this season, Haas kicked off the 2019 Invesco Series QQQ circuit by defeating Roddick 7-6 (2) in the title match at the Oracle Champions Cup in Newport Beach, California. James Blake won the second event of the season at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., defeating Courier 6-3 in the final. Lleyton Hewitt won the third title of the season in Charleston, S.C., as part of the Volvo Car Open in April while Tommy Haas won the Hawaii Champions Cup at the Royal Lahaina Resort in May.
The remaining 2019 Invesco Series QQQ schedule is as follows:
San Jose, CA – August 3 (San Jose State University) James Blake, Andy Roddick, Mark Philippoussis, Michael Chang
New Haven, CT – September 7 (Yale University, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Tommy Haas, Mark Philippoussis)
Toronto, ON – September 26 (Mattamy Athletic Centre): Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mark Philippoussis)
Los Angeles, CA – October 26 (Sherwood Country Club) Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Tommy Haas, Mardy Fish)
Houston, TX – November 15: (Rice University) Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mark Philippoussis, Juan Carlos Ferrero
In 2018, Blake won his first Invesco Series QQQ year-long points championship by winning titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.
In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Invesco Series QQQ titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.
In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.
In 2015, Roddick won the Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Invesco Series QQQ tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.
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InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $5 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or InvescoSeries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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