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American Rising Star John Isner Enters Pilot Pen

May 20, 2008 09:15 AM

Towering, 6-foot, 9-inch American ATP professional John Isner has committed to Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick, an Olympus US Open Series event on the ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour to be held Aug. 15-23 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, it was announced by Anne Worcester, tournament director.

(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

He joins 2007 Pilot Pen finalists Agnes Szavay and Mardy Fish, rising American star Donald Young and 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli as players already committed to the tournament.

Isner came to New Haven to lead the sixth annual Pilot Pen Tennis Free Lesson, in which he, USTA New England and local teaching pros offered approximately 550 fourth through eighth grade New Haven elementary and middle school students an introduction to the game of tennis through a new USTA program, QuickStart Tennis. The program appropriately scales down all aspects of regulation tennis, including equipment, court dimensions and scoring, so that the game becomes specifically tailored to their age and size.

A key part of the strategy is that at the end of the clinic, all participants were encouraged to sign up for affordable tennis lessons offered this summer –- and year-round -– by the New Haven Parks & Rec.

“We are delighted that John has decided to play the Pilot Pen again this year, and, more importantly, grateful that he could take time out of his busy schedule to lead the Pilot Pen Tennis Free Lesson for New Haven school kids,” said Worcester. “His participation today is just one of many ways that the Pilot Pen uses the excitement of professional tennis to inspire kids to play tennis at the community level.”

The hard-serving Southerner burst onto the ATP circuit last summer after completing an All-American career at the University of Georgia that included a runner-up finish in the NCAA singles championships in 2007. After winning his first USTA Challenger title at Lexington, Ky., he took a wild card into his second ATP event and promptly reached the final of Washington, D.C, losing in a close match to World No. 6 Andy Roddick. He followed that impressive performance by reaching the second round at the Pilot Pen, before falling to world No. 5 David Ferrer, and the third round of the US Open, before falling to World No. 1 and eventual champion Roger Federer in four sets. Prior to the Pilot Pen, he was ranked No. 199 in the world, but his terrific play last year and in 2008 (reaching the quarterfinals of San Jose) has helped him make a significant climb in the rankings. He is currently ranked No. 82 in the world.

Previous pros leading the Pilot Pen Tennis Free Lesson include Connecticut native Thomas Blake, U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe, former U.S. Olympic and current Fed Cup Captain Zina Garrison and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour professionals Mashona Washington and Alexandra Stevenson.

“We love partnering with Pilot Pen Tennis to help organize this unique community event,” said Jeff Waters, USTA New England Executive Director. “The Pilot Pen Tennis Free Lesson is a great example of how professional tennis can connect with grassroots tennis to provide people with greater access to and more opportunities to get involved in the game.”

For more information about the Pilot Pen Tennis Free Lesson, the tournament, tickets or how to become a volunteer, please call the Pilot Pen Tennis Box Office, 888/99-PILOT, 203/776-7331, or log on to www.pilotpentennis.com.

About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick ®
Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick, an Olympus US Open Series event on the ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, will be held Aug. 15-23, 2008, at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale and feature a number of international tennis stars, including world No. 13 Agnes Szavay, Americans Mardy Fish and Donald Young and Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli. The Pilot Pen is the first ever combined men’s and women’s summer tournament leading into the US Open. The 2007 Pilot Pen, whose champions are Svetlana Kuznetsova and James Blake, drew nearly 100,000 spectators and was televised nationally for 18 hours on ESPN2 and CBS Sports.

About the Olympus US Open Series
The Olympus US Open Series brings together the 10 summer tournaments in North America, three television networks, tennis’ sanctioning bodies and top corporate sponsors during the summer tennis season. In 2007 the Series continued its enhancements to the sport, including more national TV hours, live back-to-back finals every Sunday, bonus prize money at the US Open, new court colors and a significant national marketing campaign.




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