Lucky Shots Tennis Tournament

I’ve been the official photographer of the Volvo Car Open for about 15 years in a row! So it was with great sadness that I received the news that the tournament had been cancelled this year due to the Corona Virus outbreak.

Last weekend I decided to get my “tennis photography fix” by bringing a camera to a local tennis tournament that Cami was playing in. The St. Andrews Tennis Center was hosting their Lucky Shots Tennis Tournament, which they do every year around St. Patrick’s Day. Phil, the athletic director, always does a great job with the tournament. Players come from all over the state to compete. I appreciated him letting me come out and photograph it.

CONGRATULATIONS to all the players for coming out, sharing their enthusiasm, and having an amazing time in spite of the current situation in America!

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Volvo Car Open 2017 – Day 9

Day 9 of the Volvo Car Open was an epic finish to a fantastic week of tennis!

Bethanie-Mattek Sands and Lucie Saffarova showed why they are such good friends, and why they are the #1 doubles team in the world!!! After clinching this, their second title in Charleston, defeating Katerina Siniakova and Lucie Hradecka, the dynamic duo shared an adult beverage before meeting up with me to photograph their Doubles Champions Photos.

Later, in the battle of the 19-year-olds, Daria Kasatkina prevailed over fellow youngster, Jelena Ostapenko, to claim her very first WTA tour title. Overwhelmed with raw emotion during her trophy presentation, she nearly had me in tears!!! What a special moment for this adorable young lady!  “I’m just enjoying it every moment, every second,” she said. “And really, when I was on the court after the last point, I just wanted the moment to stop because it was one of the best moments in my life.”

After a celebratory meal with her team, Daria met up with us in downtown Charleston for her Champions Photos.

Many thanks to all the amazing players, tournament staff, the WTA, all the volunteers, grounds crew, ball kids, umpires, line judges, marketing team, and my photography partner, Alice, for another AMAZING Volvo Car Open!!!

Volvo Car Open – Champions Photo

With Sloane’s big breakthrough this week at the Volvo Car Open, a NEW Champion is crowned!!!

After winning one match in five previous Charleston tries, Sloane Stephens, the 23-year-old American, found her fire this year. She made her first-ever final here, saving a match in the quarterfinals and playing standout tennis before Angelique Kerber was forced to retire. In the championship bout, she stopped a red-hot Elena Vesnina, earning her fourth WTA singles title, third in 2016 and first-ever on clay.

To top it all off, besides winning the trophy, plus a $128,100 check, she gets a NEW CAR!!! With Volvo Car USA as the new title sponsor, it had one more surprise up its sleeve by presenting Stephens with a brand-new limited edition Volvo. “Oh my goodness!” a shocked Sloane said on court. “You guys, I Just won a car.”

As the official photographers, after our champion had a chance to freshen up and catch her breath, Alice, Arielle, and I whisked her away for a private photo shoot with her new hardware. We had fun using our cameras as “stand-in” trophies to test the light. It was a chilly, overcast afternoon. But Sloan was a real trooper. And her hardware was waaay prettier than ours. We all had a BLAST!

CONGRATULATIONS to our new champion, Sloan Stephens!!!

Volvo Car Open – Day 7

Well, it was an eventful week! After eight 12-hour days in a row, of constant hustling, shooting, editing, and transmitting images for the tournament, we finally have a NEW Volvo Car Open Champion!!!

Congratulations to the French duo of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic for taking home the doubles trophy.

And congratulations to American Sloan Stephens for weathering several years of early-round losses before finally going the distance and taking home the 2016 crown…AND a brand new limited-edition Volvo Car!!! 🙂

Family Circle Cup is now Volvo Car Open

The Family Circle Cup has a new title sponsor and is now the Volvo Car Open!

Don’t worry, the longest running and largest women’s professional tennis tournament is still the same amazing event it always has been…just with a new name. 🙂

Here are some images from the days before the official start of the tournament. My coverage began with the annual Iconic Photo Shoot, featuring the two previous champions, Angie Kerber and Andrea Petkovic. It continued with all kinds of player appearances and activities during the Family Day at qualifying rounds. And it culminated in the always amazing Player Party, which officially welcomes all the players to town and kicks of the tournament with a bang!

Stay tuned…seven more days of awesome tennis to come!!!

A New Champion is Crowned

It’s been a GREAT week covering the Family Circle Cup again this year! It’s always the most exhausting week in my calendar as I’m constantly pushing full-speed ahead, 9-days strait, often 9am through midnight, no breaks, in multiple locations all over the city.

As the Official Photographer, I’m not only required to cover the action…but also the fans, activities around campus, images for sponsors, behind the scenes appearances by players, and VIP events all week…resulting in somewhere around 20,000 images! It’s a HUGE task. But I enjoy the opportunity to test myself, stretch my versatility, and come up with creative images under pressure.

I have to say this year has been one of my favorites as I like to think I found a rising star. When I photographed a portrait of Sabine after her second round match, I felt like this could be her year to break through. After her defeat of Venus, I knew she had the game. And by the time she beat Marion, I realized she had the maturity to go all the way. Here’s my portrait of the NEW Family Circle Cup Champion. Take a good look at that smile…I believe you’ll be seeing a LOT more of it as Sabine continues her rise to the top!

For more photos, visit the galleries at the Family Circle Cup and the Sony Ericson WTA Tour website. I’m thrilled to say my images made the front page of the WTA Tour every day this week…a first for me!