Category Archives for "Live Reports"

Citi Open 2018: Alexander Zverev Championship Press Conference

Citi Open 2018 Press Conferences: Alexander Zverev, Alex De Minaur, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares – Championship Sunday

I had another awesome year at the 2018 Citi Open!  While I am sad to see it end, I am enjoying  getting enough sleep again.  The rain was brutal at times, but the tournament managed to get all the matches in and finish on schedule, so kudos to the Citi Open team for that!

I learned a lot from interviewing the pros this year.  There were a lot of gold nuggets that they mentioned, which if taken to heart, can really improve your tennis game.

You can check the interviews out on my Youtube Channel or on the latest episode of my podcast, which will be published by the end of this week.  

Even though we got rained on more than we could have imagined, it was awesome watching the best players in the world, a couple of whom are from my area, play some fantastic tennis.

Below are press conferences with the singles champion, Alexander Zverev, the singles finalist, Alex De Minaur, and the doubles champions, Jamie Murray (brother of Andy Murray) and Bruno Soares.

Alexander Zverev - Singles Champion

The #1 seeded German talks about the key to his victory against the surprise finalist from Australia, winning his second straight Citi Open title, his predictions for the success of the NextGen pros, and his plans for catching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the rankings.

Alex De Minaur - Singles Finalist

De Minaur discusses his fantastic run at this year's tournament with the media. He talks about how Alexander Zverev defeated him in the final, the home crowd-like support for the Australian in DC, and his excitement over a new career high-ranking which will enable him to directly qualify for the main-draw of the world's most prestigious tennis tournaments. 

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares - Doubles Champions

That's all I've got (at least for this year) of the 2018 Citi Open.  I hope you enjoyed checking out all the interviews and press conferences of this year's tournament!

Special thanks to the Citi Open, Sheena, Molly and the staff from LINK Strategic Partners, Edward and Greg from ATP, the officials, ballboys, media, vendors, players, and everyone else involved who facilitated the interviews/press conferences and helped make this year's tournament another top notch event!

If you want to check out more content about the 2018 Citi Open, visit for more content!  

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Denis Kudla Frances Tiafoe - Citi Open 2018

Citi Open 2018 Interviews / Press Conference: Frances Tiafoe, Denis Kudla, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev

The 2018 Citi Open was a blast.  Even though we got rained on more than we could have imagined, it was awesome watching the best players in the world, a couple of whom are from my area, play some fantastic tennis.

Below are interviews with Frances Tiafoe, Denis, Kudla, and Stefanos Tsitsipas.  Tiafoe and Kudla notched several wins in their singles and doubles campaigns.  Kudla reached the quarterfinals after having a rough stretch at previous Citi Opens, and Tiafoe reached the round of 16.  Together, the close friends put together a fantastic run culminating in a semifinals showing against Mike Bryan and Eduoard Roger-Vasselin, after winning their quarterfinals match 12-10 in the third set against Ivan Dodig and Ben Mclachlan.  

Below is my interview with Mid-Atlantic's own (Go Caps!), Tiafoe and Kudla:

Frances Tiafoe and Denis Kudla

The 19-year old Greek prodigy Stefanos Tsitsipas had a fantastic 2018 Citi Open, culminating in a win over ATP world #11 David Goffin in the quarterfinals.  The #32 ranked NextGen star then lost a tough straight-sets battle with Alexander Zverev.  I managed to speak on-on-one with Tsitsipas twice this week.

Stefanos Tsitsipas - Quarterfinal Victory

Stefanos Tsitsipas - Round of 16 Victory

And below is a hilarious press conference with ATP world #3 and Citi Open #1 seed after his win over Tsitsipas:

Alexander Zverev - Semifinal Victory

If you want to check out more content about the 2018 Citi Open, visit for more content!  

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2018 Citi Open: David Goffin Interview

Citi Open 2018 Interviews: David Goffin and Chung Hyeon

I've got a couple more interviews for you to check out from Day 3 of the Main Draw at the 2018 Citi Open!  I interviewed ATP world #11 and #3 seed David Goffin, and South Korean superstar Chung Hyeon one-on-one before the rain and thunderstorms poured in to halt play for the night.  My dad and I were trapped in the stadium for half-an-hour....good times!

Goffin defeated P.H. Herbert in a third-set tiebreaker and Hyeon defeated Marcos Baghdatis in three sets as well! I mixed in a couple action clips with the interviews, so let me know what you think about them!  Enjoy!

David Goffin

Chung Hyeon

Note: I didn't have my photographer with me and I took these videos at night, so it's definitely not the best quality videos I've ever produced.  I hope you still enjoy the content!

I'll be updating the TF blog with Citi Open interviews and press conferences throughout the week, so be sure to keep checking out for more content!  

On to Day 4 of the Main Draw!

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Citi Open 2018: Main Draw Day 2 Marcos Baghdatis

Citi Open 2018: Main Draw Day 2 Interviews – Kwiatkowski, Baghdatis, Young

I'm back with more media for you to check out from Day 2 of the Main Draw at the 2018 Citi Open!  Below are three interviews I conducted with ATP Pros playing their first round matches of the main draw: former UVA Ace Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, Cypriot Veteran Marcos Baghdatis, and Atlanta native Donald Young.  I mixed in a different angle and an action clip with Thai, so let me know what you think about that one!  Enjoy!

Thai-Son Kwiatkowski

Marcos Baghdatis

Donald Young

I'll be updating the TF blog with Citi Open interviews and press conferences throughout the week, so be sure to keep checking out for more content!  

On to Day 3 of the Main Draw!

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Citi Open 2018: Alexander Zverev Press Conference

Citi Open 2018: Main Draw Day 1 Press Conferences

What's up Tennis Files fam!  Below are three press conferences I had the honor of having access to thanks to media credentials from the Citi Open.  Alexander Zverev, Kei Nishikori, and hometown hero Frances Tiafoe spoke to the media on Day 1 of the tournament before playing their first matches later in the week.

Alexander Zverev

Kei Nishikori

Frances Tiafoe

I'll be updating the TF blog with Citi Open interviews and press conferences throughout the week, so be sure to keep checking out for more content!  

I also attended the player party Monday night and got to snap pictures with several awesome pros, including Alexander Zverev. You can check them out on my Instagram page here.  Follow me on IG and I'll follow you back!

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FPWR Doubles Invitational Pro-Am

Chiu/Beck Win Doubles Invitational for Prader-Willi Syndrome Research

Over the weekend, I had the honor of playing in a doubles invitational tournament to benefit the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research (FPWR). The invitational was held at Chantilly National Country Club and had a star-studded field, including former top collegiate players and ranked ATP-tour players.  More importantly though, the event’s purpose was deeper than lifting a trophy or collecting prize money: it was held to raise money for those in need of help.

I had only heard of Prader-Willi syndrome a couple times, but didn’t know much about the condition.  Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic disorder that occurs in about one out of every 15,000 births.  It is recognized as the most common genetic cause of life-threatening childhood obesity.  Those born with the syndrome generally have small hands and feet, abnormal growth and body composition (small stature, very low lean body mass, and early-onset childhood obesity), weak muscles at birth, insatiable hunger, extreme obesity and intellectual disability.

The tournament was hosted by my friend and former assistant coach at UMBC, Matt Bilger, who I interviewed on Episode 43 of The Tennis Files Podcast.  Matt is the Director of Tennis at Chantilly National Country Club. There were 10 solid teams in the draw, and prize money to play for as well: $200 for the quarterfinals, $600 for the semis, $900 for the finalists, and $1.5k for the champions.

FPWR Doubles Invitational Bracket

FPWR Doubles Invitational Bracket

My friend Victor, who I played college tennis with at UMBC back in the day, teamed up with me for the event. We had to play a match on Friday evening to determine who would reach the quarterfinals and secure a couple Benjamin Franklins ($200).  Funny enough, Victor and I drew Matt and his friend Nathan Crick, who won 86 singles matches and 103 doubles match while playing under former UVA coach Brian Boland at Indiana State University.

We played the match at Country Club of Fairfax, on indoor red clay, which I had never played (and never expected to play on) in my life. Matt and Nathan took it to us in the first set, winning it 6-1.  They were playing aggressively, and we couldn’t get much of a rhythm going. Fortunately, in the second set we made a couple adjustments (staying two back when Victor was returning), I started hitting my forehand much more aggressively and deeper, and Victor was a stud at the net.  We won the second set 6-1.  The third was a seesaw battle and we were fortunate to win a couple more points in the end, winning the third 7-5.

Indoor Red Clay

My topspin forehand didn’t mind this court 🙂

Nobuyoshi Tanaka, who used to play at the same club Victor and I did many years back, and his partner Austin Brawley defeated Erik-Jan de Heide and Eu Han Lee.  We finished around 9pm on Friday and headed back home (after a quick stop at a random Beer Garden (Biertgarden?) in Fairfax of course!).

The quarterfinals began at 9am with some fantastic matchups.  Chris Chiu, a former player at the University of Maryland and top junior in the area, teamed up with former Virginia Tech Hokie Will Beck (#55 D1 doubles ranking) to defeat Tanaka/Lee in straight sets.  Alex Seleznev, another top ranked collegiate doubles player who played for Old Dominion, got the best of Kenyon College player Henry Barrett and current ATP pro Xander Centenari.  Centenari’s career high rankings are 1200 in singles and 535 in doubles.

On the bottom-half of the draw, Paul Burgin, another Kenyon College standout, and former UVA Ace Justin Shane defeated Boris Fetbroyt and Brendan Kincaid 6-4 6-4.   Burgin played #1 at Kenyon, was a 2-time All-American, and reached #4 in singles and #19 in doubles in the DIII collegiate rankings. Shane was ranked as high as #37 nationally in singles and #9 in doubles in college, and achieved ATP rankings of #806 in singles and #577 in doubles.  Fetbroyt played D1 tennis at the University of Maryland and was ranked top 10 nationally as a junior in the 18s division.  We actually played a match against each other at a national tournament in New York as 14 year-olds.  Kincaid is the head tennis coach at Goucher College, was awarded the ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year after the 2009-2010 season, and is a very impressive player as well.

Victor and I had a tough match on our hands.  Our opponents were Andrew Carlson and John Mook.  Carlson played college tennis at Ohio State before playing on the ATP Tour.  Carlson reached career highs of 833 in singles and 475 in doubles. He qualified for the Citi Open (formerly Legg Mason Tennis Classic) several times, and once lost a close 6-4 6-4 match against Andy Roddick and Brian Vahaly with his partner Chris Groer.  Mook is one of the best players that Christopher Newport University has ever had and was inducted into its hall of fame in 2015.

I had played against both Mook and Carlson numerous times in USTA 5.0 leagues, and knew Victor and I needed to play extremely well to have a chance.  Unfortunately for us, that didn’t happen.  Carlson was blasting serves at 120+ as usual, and Mook played very solid doubles.  We did have a 15-40 break chance on Carlson in the first set, and on Mook in the second set, but they came up with some great plays to block out our efforts.  We lost 6-2 6-1, but really enjoyed the high-level of play and the great atmosphere.

FPWR Quarterfinalist Prize Money

Prize money for reaching the quarterfinals

After the match, all the participants gathered to snack on a continental breakfast-style spread and relax a bit.  Then Matt and Alex Lerner, a friendly teaching pro, held a clinic for the event attendees. The tournament players, including yours truly, had a lot of fun on court and played a bunch of games with the attendees.

FPWR Clinic

The clinic participants had game!

We headed back to the covered seating area (I know there’s a term for this but can’t remember it!) after the clinic and had some lunch and drinks.

After lunch, we watched some fantastic semifinal action.  Chiu/Beck won a tight 6-2 7-6 battle against Seleznev/Kemp, who caught fire in the second set and came up just short. Burgin/Shane notched a tough 6-4 6-3 victory against Mook/Carlson.

Doubles Invitational Semifinals - Beck/Chiu vs Kemp/Seleznev

Semifinals Action – Beck/Chiu vs Kemp/Seleznev

Once the semis ended, most of the pros and the crowd participated in the Pro-Am.  A pro-am is short for pro-amateur, where a pro will team up with an amateur and play several rounds of matches.  My partner was Felix, who used to be a professional badminton player, and supplied the fantastic signs for the event.

We had a lot of fun, and I enjoyed giving him a few tips.  He improved his play as the pro-am went on, which was really cool to see. Interesting enough I learned from Felix that the majority of badminton shots are like volleys, which is why he wasn’t use to following through on his shots.  We agreed that him rushing the net would be a good strategy given his badminton pedigree.


FPWR Pro-Am Participants

The pro-am was a blast, and afterwards everyone ate dinner and had a drink or three (you know who you are 🙂 ).

Alcohol Doubles Invitational

Did I mention they had alcohol?


Around 5:30pm, Matt and Jason Waldrop, an FPWR representative, spoke about the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research and that they raise between 3-5 million dollars a year to help those with the syndrome, which is an incredible effort.

Chiu/Beck proved their placement as the first line in the draw to be the right one, as they won against Burgin/Shane in the final.


FPWR Doubles Invitational Championship Match

The Championship Match – Shane/Burgin and Beck/Chiu with Bilger

The event was just about everything anyone could ask for.  High-level tennis with great people, all-you-can eat food and drinks (my dream scenario), all for a great cause.

Thanks to Matt and FPWR for putting on the event, the Mook family for all their contributions, the awesome shirts from Reston Shirt and Graphics Company, all the sponsors, the club members from Chantilly National, the players, and the crowd that came out to watch.  I’m definitely looking forward to next year, and highly encourage you to donate to FPWR to help them combat Prader-Willi syndrome.

Until then, I’ll be working hard on my serve and volleys so we can get a little deeper in the draw next time 🙂

TFP 053: Citi Open Recap with Ben Rothenberg

TFP 053: Citi Open Recap with Ben Rothenberg

On today’s episode, Ben Rothenberg, New York Times Writer and host of the No Challenges Remaining Podcast, recapped the 2017 Citi Open with me on championship Sunday. Ben travels the globe to cover tennis tournaments, and he is one of the most knowledgeable journalists in the world about the ATP and WTA tours.  One thing I didn’t know about Ben is how excellent of a spelling bee contest host he is when it rains at tennis tournaments 🙂

Ben and I discussed the most impressive players of the tournament, the championship matches featuring Alexander Zverev, Kevin Anderson, Ekaterina Makerova and Julia Goerges, controversies at the Citi Open (Jack Sock “worst court on the tour” cough cough), and other interesting factoids about the men’s and women’s tours.  I definitely had a blast hearing the opinions and insights from Ben, and I know you will enjoy the interview, especially if you like hearing the latest about the ATP and WTA.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Ben, and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • [2:48] General thoughts about the 2017 Citi Open
  • [3:55] Biggest surprise of the tournament
  • [5:03] Most impressive players on the women’s side
  • [6:37] Effect of the long schedule on the seeded players’ poor performances
  • [7:22] Dimitrov’s early upset and Medvedev’s confrontation with Johnson
  • [10:05] Jack Sock calls Citi Open’s stadium court the worst court on tour
  • [12:21] Assessing Sock’s mental toughness and future potential
  • [13:59] An impressive run to the finals for Kevin Anderson
  • [15:37] Hardest working pros on tour
  • [16:48] When do players get paid appearances fees to play in tournaments?
  • [21:00] The Kontinen/Peers vs Melo/Kubot championship match and Melo coaching Zverev
  • [22:30] The future of the Bryan Brothers
  • [24:03] Thoughts on Julia Goerges and her solid run to the finals
  • [24:34] Ben’s crazy travel schedule to cover pro tournaments
  • [26:30] No Challenges Remaining podcast
  • [27:46] Where we can find Ben on social media

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Links Mentioned in the Show

Tennis Files Youtube Channel – Check out the vlogs and interview I did at the Citi Open!

No Challenges Remaining Podcast

Ben’s Twitter Page

Citi Open Tournament

If you enjoyed my interview with Ben, subscribe to The Tennis Files Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app!

And be sure to check out my vlogs and player interviews at the 2017 Citi Open on my Youtube Channel!

For more tips on how to improve your game, download a free copy of my eBook, The Building Blocks of Tennis Success below! Thanks for listening!

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