Maria Sharapova is using some of the photos I took of her during her off-court activities at the Family Circle Cup on her website. To check them out, visit her Website, click on Tournaments, and click on FamilyCircle Cup. Enjoy!
Archive for April, 2008
Everybody says I have WAY too much fun at what I do. I guess this goofy picture proves it. My good friend, photographer, and fellow tennis player, Frank Oplanic, was up in the stands waiting to get a different perspective of Maria Sherapova exiting the stadium after one of her matches. Mic Smith (no relation) of the Charleston Post & Courier, who is standing behind me, and I were on-court hoping for a good shot of her signing autographs. When Frank yelled out at me I turned and gave him my best “Blue Steele” pose.
Frank also caught this one of Serena Williams heading off court after she won the championships. He was standing about where I was in the shot above. I had just finished photographing Serena with the ball crew. That’s Amy Binder, of the WTA Tour, walking with Serena. Amy is a huge help to us media people, letting us know which players are going to be where for photo ops. Many thanks to Frank for sharing these with me!
CONGRATULATIONS to Serena and a fantastic victory yesterday! This is her first Family Circle Cup trophy after five appearances in Charleston. She now joins her sister, Venus, as a winner in our beautiful city. And what a year to win it…on the 35th Anniversary of this historic tournament! This was shot in a private session shortly after the match yesterday. Doesn’t she look happy!?!
It was a tough three-set match, but in the end Serena Williams prevailed over Vera Zvonareva. Serena’s ranking is expected to rise to #6 in the world after winning this, her third title of the year. Serena was glad she came out of the gates strong. “I just wanted to get that first set under my belt, and thank God I did because I lost the second.” She knew it wasn’t going to be an easy day against Vera. “I’ve played her a few times, so I really know her game and she’s a real fighter and she never stops.” The power and shot-making from both sides of the court was IMPRESSIVE. Here are a few of my favorites out of the mere 715 I shot during the match!!!
During the tournament, tennis action is not the ONLY thing I photograph. Part of my responsibilities include all the VIP Events that happen off-site. There’s a party of some sort almost every night of the week! But tonight’s was THE BIGGIE!
Jelena Jankovic (last year’s champion who won the hearts of many fans here…including THIS one…because of her sportsmanship, positive attitude, down-to earth personality, and beaming smile) posing with her mother during dinner at The Riviera.
Pam Shriver (the evening’s co-MC with Bud Collins) and Chris Evert share a laugh about the “good old days” of women’s tennis (something about home-made brownies that I can’t repeat) during a panel discussion that included a who’s-who list of former FCC champions: Rosie “Rosebud” Casals (who won the very first tournament 35 years ago!), Arantxa “The Bumblebee” Sanches Vicario, Conchita Martinez, Chris Evert, and Jelena Jankovic.
As a bit of a “doubles-specialist” myself, I actually enjoy watching and photographing the doubles matches more than the singles. Unfortunately, the demand for images from the singles far outway the doubles, so I shoot more of the other. In any event, I was SURE this was going to be Kveta Peschke & Rennae Stubbs‘ year! Unfortunately, they got beat today. But I like them as a team because I can relate. They’ve both passed their physical prime and no longer enjoy the grind of playing both singles and doubles. So they’ve teamed up to only play in the doubles portion of tournaments like the Family Circle Cup. They’ve been doing very well. And I would have loved to see them win this one. Particularly because they’re both SO fun and pleasant to everyone. Their excitement for tennis and for life is infectious. I get to shoot a lot of “behind-the-scenes” events with top players on the tour. And nothing ruins my day like a professional tennis player turned celebrity that doesn’t have the time of day for the rest of us mere mortals. Witnessing stars like Kveta and Rennae who are still as friendly to the people they meet as ever…well…it’s a pleasure just being around them.
It was an awfully chilly night, but Maria Sherapova was HOT! She took less than an hour to trounce Bethanie “B” Matteck at 6-0, 6-0. The last time Maria played the Family Circle Cup was five years ago and she had a poor showing, loosing in the early rounds. This was her first time to play under the lights at the new Stadium Center Court and it seemed to suit her just fine! Trained at the famous Nick Bollettieri Acadamy, Maria is interested in fashion, singing, dancing, and movies (her favorites including Mona Lisa Smile, Something’s Gotta Give, and Love Actually). She enjoys reading books in the Sherlock Holmes and Pippi Longstocking series. Her favorite desert is crepes with Nutella (mmmmm…). And one of her favorite drinks is Orangina (something I drank a lot growing up in the Congo).
You can see tons of my FCC images from last year on this year’s program (including the cover), brochures, and of course the stadium banners. This year’s images are already being posted on the Family Circle Cup website (including the Daily Photo Gallery), and on the WTA Tour website. Enjoy!
In a stunning display of talent, Sorana Cirstea of Romania upset the #3 seed, Anna Chakvetadze of Russia in three sets. Introduced to tennis at age 4, she has steadily climbed the ranks since turning pro just a few years ago. Beating Anna was her first win over a Top 10 WTA Tour player. Sorana speaks Romanian, English, Spanish, and is studying French. Her favorite shot is her forehand. She enjoys playing all kinds of sports, shopping, reading, doing crosswords, and going to the movies. She has two parrots. And the player she most admires is Steffi Graf. Keep your eye on this young lady!