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Morimoto, Serena Williams and More Mingle at Taste of Tennis

Morimoto, Serena Williams and More Mingle at Taste of Tennis

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Jane Bruce

Morimoto taught Serena Williams how to roll sushi last night; our lives are complete.

In the lead-up to the US Open, chefs and tennis players came together for “Taste of Tennis,” an evening that celebrates local famous chefs and restaurants, and gets everyone excited for the upcoming tennis matches the following week.

This year’s 15th annual Taste of Tennis at the W New York Hotel featured Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto as the chef of honor, along with Chopped judge Marc Murphy, chef Bill Telepan, Top Chef Masters finalist Kerry Heffernan, Jonathan Waxman, and Daniel Holzman of the Meatball Shop.

There were also several athletes in attendance including Serena and Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, Victoria Azarenka, and the Bryan brothers.

Along with dozens of food and drink samples from restaurants like Telepan, Davio’s, and Bagatelle, one of the highlights of the evening was the VIP cooking demo during which chef Morimoto taught Serena Williams how to make sushi. After Morimoto expertly rolled the sticky rice and seaweed with fresh tuna, the star tennis player was tasked with cutting the sushi roll into bite-sized chunks.

All of the evening’s proceeds went to the City Harvest charity. The US Open officially starts on August 25.

For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on [email protected]

Why Tennis’ U.S. Open Should Have Better Food

You'd be forgiven if you thought that this year's U.S. Open, which is in its second and final week of action, was doubling as a high-profile food festival. The New York Times has written breathlessly of the menu offerings and restaurants by Morimoto and David Burke, even offering daily food reviews on its blog. Not to be outdone, the tennis writer and cookbook author Andrew "Toqueland" Friedland has combined his passions into daily food reviews from the Open on Departures magazine's website weighed in with an article on "Grand Slam Snacking." And yes, we've recommended where to eat at the Open as well (though hopefully without the hyperbole seen elsewhere).

But The Daily News hit the winner: "Forget Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal, the real stars of the 2013 U.S. Open are on the menu." Ha!

As someone who's been attending the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows since, well, let's just say since the days of the Ivan Lendl-John McEnroe/Chris Evert-Martina Navratilova rivalries, I'm disappointed that the food options aren't more enlightened. Leaving aside the inside-baseball talk of who actually runs the Open's food programming (Levy Restaurants), I'd say that the real story here is simply that the food at the Open has merely evolved since the tournament moved from Forest Hills to its current home in Flushing Meadows, where it has become a juggernaut of the sports entertainment world that could potentially support really forward-thinking food programming.

As successful as the Open now is, attracting over 700,000 attendees over the course of its fortnight (as they say in Grand Slam tennisspeak), why haven't organizers moved to integrate NYC's bustling and influential food scene even further? It's a no-brainer, really the crowd at the U.S. Open is overwhelmingly affluent and discerning when it comes to cuisine, and yet the "Food Village" is filled with faux restaurants like "Farm to Fork" and "Franks and Fries." The addition of Hill Country BBQ to the mix elicited the uptick in media hype, but it left me wondering why there weren't more contributions from area chefs. Morimoto's Aces and David Burke's Champions Bar & Grill are both solid if overpriced options, but you need reservations and a ticket to Arthur Ashe Stadium (no grounds pass spectators allowed) for it to be worthwhile &mdash and you may miss a lot of tennis settling in for a lunch at these bustling spots.

This year, Heineken enlisted No. 7 Sub's Tyler Kord to create a couple of sandwiches for its limited menu in the Heineken House, and Kord's broccoli Cuban sub joins Tony Mantuano's fiery ouzo shrimp as my favorite dishes on the U.S. Open menu, though I don't think Rafa or Serena have anything to worry about should it come to a popularity contest.

In the days when I used to semi-stalk Jimmy Connors to get his autograph after a practice session &mdash back when the star players would hit on the outside courts between matches &mdash I'd head to the Open craving a long, snappy hot dog on a caraway seed bun, an item whose taste memory still comes back to me from time to time. In that era, the local media had less of a fawning relationship with the food at the Open. I remember a TV newsman reporting on the offerings and joking that prices were so high that he'd just put a down payment on a hamburger.

The prices have gone up from there. In recent years, I've met family members and friends for quesadillas and the signature drinks at Mojito's, a Latin-ish grill with a nice outdoor patio across from the Food Village, and even in a generous group nobody fights to pick up the bill.

Serena Williams wins first match in more than three months

May 17 (UPI) -- Serena Williams defeated 17-year-old foe Lisa Pigato in straight sets in the first round of the Emilia-Romagna Open on Monday in Parma, Italy, for her first win in more than three months.

Williams beat Pigato 6-3, 6-2 in one hour, eight minutes. Her previous win came against Simona Halep in the 2021 Australian Open quarterfinals Feb. 16 in Melbourne.

"The first game, she [Pigato] played really good, and I needed to adjust to get back," Williams aid in her on-court interview.

"It was a bit of both and figuring out her game as well."

Williams accepted a wildcard entry into the Emilia-Romagna Open. She said she needed more matches on the clay court surface after her loss to Nadia Podoroska at the Italian Open on Wednesday in Rome.

The Emilia-Romagna Open is one of several clay court tournaments tennis stars use to prepare for the annual French Open. The second Grand Slam of the season is from May 30 to June 12 in Paris.

Williams dropped the first serve Monday, but recovered and dominated to win in her 1,001st career match. The 23-time Grand Slam champion fired six aces and converted four of nine break points in the victory. She had zero double faults and claimed match point with an ace.

Williams will face Katerina Siniakova in the Round of 16 on Tuesday in Parma.

Her sister, Venus, lost in her second-round match Monday. Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova beat the elder Williams 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours, 39 minutes to advance to the third round.

Serena Williams' last Grand Slam title came from the 2017 Australian Open. The four-year major title drought is her longest in nearly two decades.

Ranked No. 8, she the highest ranked player in the Emilia-Romagna Open women's singles circuit.

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Serena Williams Turns Back Time at Australian Open

Against Aryna Sabalenka, Williams called back to a much earlier phase of her career, well before she was the undisputed queen of her sport.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams became a time traveler on Sunday, pulled back to the past to essentially face down her much younger self.

Across the net from her in the fourth round of the Australian Open stood the 22-year-old Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who turned pro at 14, like Williams, and whose strategy called to mind Williams’s game plan at the same age: If at first you don’t succeed, hit harder.

Williams, 39, stared down Sabalenka, and after two gripping hours, Sabalenka blinked. In the 10th game of the deciding set, Sabalenka mustered one point on her serve as Williams, a seven-time champion, seized the break and a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Simona Halep, who dispatched the 19-year-old Iga Swiatek in three sets.

Williams’s longevity makes it easy to forget that before she was the game’s grande dame, she was its whiz kid, collecting nine WTA singles titles, including one Grand Slam, before she was out of her teens.

Sabalenka, a nine-time winner on the WTA Tour, and Swiatek, the reigning French Open champion, are the latest in a long string of polished phenoms threaded through Williams’s career. One of the biggest stars to emerge, Naomi Osaka, saved two match points to beat Garbiñe Muguruza on Sunday. Still, from Jennifer Capriati and Monica Seles to Maria Sharapova and Sloane Stephens, Williams has watched many young talents come and go and, on occasion, stray far from tennis.

A sport with a history of suffocating its young has not stifled Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion in singles whose love for the game seems to have deepened over time. Against Sabalenka, she studied a page of written notes during changeovers as if she were back in high school. She fiddled with her “Queen” necklace. She dug balls out of the corners and ran from side to side as if she were on a school blacktop at recess.

Darren Cahill, one of Halep’s coaches, described Williams’s movement as the best he had seen from her “in a long, long time” and said, “If you can stay in more points and get more balls back, stay alive, then she’s got the power to turn those points around.”

What Williams is doing is also inconceivable to the younger Americans, three of whom have followed her into the second week. Marveled, one of the three, the 28-year-old Shelby Rogers: “What she’s been able to accomplish is absolutely incredible because some days I wake up now and I’m like, ‘OK, I’m not 21 anymore.’”

Williams’s serve usually allows her to win her share of easy points. But against Sabalenka, her main weapon continually misfired. Williams put 52 percent of her first serves in play and recorded eight double faults, including one in the fifth game of the third set, which gave Sabalenka two break points.

With the state of Victoria in Day 2 of a hard lockdown, no fans were in the stands, but the restrictions placed on the local populace did not extend to Williams’s inner circle, which includes her husband, coach, agent, hitting partner and older sister Venus, 40, who lost in the second round.

Williams didn’t need to be told by the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, that her entourage qualified as “essential workers,” a classification that made it possible for them to attend the match. Her team is elemental to her success, and she looked over often to where everyone was seated. When she was down 15-40 in that fifth game, Venus raised both hands as if signaling a touchdown and they locked eyes.

Williams’s most recent Grand Slam championship came at Venus’s expense at Melbourne Park in 2017, when she was two months pregnant with her first daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian. Since becoming a parent, Williams has found her voice as an advocate for working mothers everywhere, speaking openly of the hardships, both physical and emotional, that she and others on the WTA Tour — and in the wider world — confront daily while balancing their jobs and child-rearing.

But in that telepathic moment between the sisters, Serena was not tennis’s earth mother. She was transported back in time to her early years as a pro when she looked to Venus for direction.

“When I hear her voice, it just makes me calm and confident,” Williams said. “Yeah, I think there’s something about it that just makes me feel really good.”

She got her first serve in on the next three points and won them all, earning an advantage with a 126 mile-an-hour ace. Williams closed out the game on a frazzled Sabalenka’s forced error.

Sabalenka fought back, winning the next three games to draw even at 4-4. At that point, she said: “I felt like I should win it. I felt like I was fighting really well.”

But so was Williams. She held, and with Sabalenka serving to stay in the match, Williams got enough balls back to fluster her younger opponent, whose service game ended with a double fault and two forehand unforced errors.

“I just needed to play better on the big points,” Williams said. “I knew that I could. I still hadn’t reached my peak. I was like, ‘OK, Serena, you got this. Just keep going.’”

After 23 major singles titles and hundreds of millions of dollars in prize money and endorsements and motherhood, how does Williams find the motivation to keep chasing a tennis ball?

The answer could be found in how Williams spent her off day. After her Saturday practice, she put her daughter down for a nap and then made work calls to the United States, finalizing orders and obsessing about fabrics for her fashion line, S by Serena, which she described as her “second career.”

There’s a method to Williams’s multitasking. She has been doing it her whole life, she said. She never played a full tennis schedule as a junior and has never played a full schedule as a pro.

“I still went to college, I still did a lot of other things,” Williams said. “I had other careers. It was impossible to burn out.”

Convention holds that Williams continues to play because she has Margaret Court’s career record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles in her sights. But the truth might be simpler.

“I like my job,” she said. “I like what I do. It’s pretty special I get to come out and still get to do it.”

Serena Williams expected to play at the Italian Open 2021

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Serena Williams, 39, has won the Madrid Open singles title twice in her career in 2012 and 2013. She also won the doubles title with Venus Williams in 2010.

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However, the four-time Olympic Gold medal winner has not participated in the tournament since 2015. Even this year, she has canceled out the Madrid Masters from her 2021 calendar.

Interestingly, Serena was one of the initial players rumored to play in Madrid. But after Ion Tiriac, tournament director of Madrid, made a few comments about her, it buried all chances of her playing the event.

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Instead, as per the expectations of Patrick Mouratoglou, she might play at the Italian Open 2021. The coach also revealed that Serena will train with him in Nice on a clay surface.

Looking back, the American chose to play in Rome against Madrid even in 2019. Therefore, fans should rightfully get excited about her return on clay again.

Internazionali BNL D’Italia tournament will start from the day after the conclusion in Madrid. The top players will then move on to the clay-court finale in Paris, the French Open 2021, starting May 30.

Serena Williams Says Roger Federer Is The GOAT Of Men’s Tennis: ‘He’s A Genius’ And The ‘Greatest’

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - MARCH 20: (L-R) Serena Williams of the United States and Roger Federer of . [+] Switzerland cut the ribbon during the Ribbon Cutting ceremony on Day 3 of the Miami Open Presented by Itau on March 20, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

While the debate over who deserves GOAT status in men’s tennis will likely continue to rage for some time, Serena Williams has already cast her vote.

The 23-time major champions says Roger Federer is a “genius” and the “greatest player,” so he has her vote over rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Federer, 39, is tied with Nadal, 34, atop the all-time men’s list with 20 Grand Slam titles, while Djokovic, 33, is coming on strong with 18. Nadal, who topped Djokovic in the Italian Open final on Sunday, could surpass Federer with his 21st major title if he wins the French Open for a record-extending 14th time next month.

Federer was set to return to the court Tuesday against Pablo Andujar in Geneva, Switzerland for only his second tournament since returning to the ATP Tour in March after spending more than a year on the sidelines due to two knee operations.

“I think two words sum it up: Roger Federer,” Williams said of Federer’s legacy at the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, where on Monday she won her first match since losing in the Australian Open semifinals in February.

“He's just a synopsis of greatness and class and amazing and really changed the game. You see players playing like him, moving like him, doing his techniques. The guy is (a) genius.”

Serena described herself as a Federer “superfan.”

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“I just feel like he is really the greatest player,” Williams said.

“You can't not like the guy, that's how I feel. His game is so fantastic. If I could only play like him.”

Williams remains at 23 major titles, one shy of Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24 and will have several more chances this year to tie Court — beginning at Roland Garros and then later at Wimbledon, where Serena has won seven of her 23 majors.

Nadal and Djokovic have won 10 of the last 11 major titles, and American Reilly Opelka was asked last week in Rome by Tennis Channel if any of the young guns were close to dethroning them.

“I don’t know,” he said. “You gotta think at some point, these guys, Rafa, Novak, I mean they’re playing a league within us. They’re having a tour within the tour of who’s going to finish with the most Slams.

“So at the end of the day, come Australia, come Paris, come Wimbledon and come U.S. Open, I think they shift into another gear. I don’t know how close we are. Rafa had his best French Open ever last year, Novak at the Australian Open was as good as ever. I mean, when you talk about Grand Slams, I don’t see anyone there yet.”

Federer, meantime, is on record saying it’s virtually inevitable that both Nadal and Djokovic will surpass him in the majors count.

“I think the way it’s going, obviously, Rafa and Novak will win more,” Federer told the Associated Press in 2020, “because they’re that good.”

How Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams Reignited Tennis Style

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams meet on the court at last month’s Australian Open semifinal match.

Rory Satran

Off Brand is a column that delves into trends in fashion and beauty.

NEARLY ONE YEAR into a global shutdown with nary a live fashion show or red carpet, tennis champions Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka drew a record viewership for their distinctly stylish Feb. 17 semifinal match of the 2021 Australian Open. I stayed up late to watch the two stars play, along with over a million other fans around the world. Aside from the women’s athletic prowess, what struck me was their confident, individualistic outfits, both by Nike . After our collective year of sagging sweatpants, Ms. Williams wore a one-legged, Florence Griffith-Joyner-inspired catsuit in hot pink and black, while Ms. Osaka, the match’s victor, sported a dark, camo-printed one-piece under a neon-orange skirt. Starched tennis whites these were not.

“It’s insane,” said Caitlin Thompson, publisher of the independent quarterly magazine Racquet, of the reinvigorated focus on the sport. “You turn on the TV and you see these amazing, young [people], particularly women, particularly people of color, and they’re the voices and the leadership—and the numbers don’t lie. The tickets are selling, the viewership is up. The Naomi/Serena match was by far the highest-rated tennis match that’s been on in the past year.” It drew the highest television audience for any Australian Open moment since Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer’s men’s final in 2017.

Neither of these star players is new to fashion, but during a period when we get so little aesthetic stimulation, their style has taken on special significance. The tennis court, a naturally socially distanced venue, is a new runway and Ms. Williams and Ms. Osaka are using it to make indelible statements. Their off-court looks skew even more fashion-forward. Ms. Williams, at 39 an elder statesman who has challenged tennis style codes since she first wore a black catsuit to play in 2002, appeared this month on Architectural Digest’s cover wearing a purple sequined Gucci gown and jewelry of her own design. Ms. Osaka, 23, released a sprightly ready-to-wear line with avant-garde Japanese-American designer Adeam last year. And she’s imbued masks with powerful meaning over the past year by using them to draw attention to social-justice issues. For seven events of the U.S. Open in September 2020 she wore seven masks highlighting names prominent in the Black Lives Matter movement, including Breonna Taylor’s.

How can that kind of audacity not trickle down? Two young tennis icons-in-the-making—Nick Kyrgios and Coco Gauff—respectively known for full-sleeve tattoos and colorful crop-tops, are already telling stories through their appearances. And on local courts far from the green grass of Wimbledon, amateur players are no longer coming to the court dressed in country-club cosplay, but rather as themselves.

WTA Parma Open Day 3 Predictions

Varvara Gracheva vs Petra Martic

Head-to-head: Martic 2-0 Gracheva

Petra Martic has endured some struggles over the past 18 months, but the Croatian looked to be back to something approaching her best last week in Rome, reaching the semifinals to snap a run of four first-round exits. There is no doubting her pedigree on the clay, with Martic winning her only title in Istanbul on the red dirt in 2019 as well as reaching the last eight at the French Open later that season. She will now surely be eager to continue building momentum before heading to Paris.

Fortunately for Martic, she has been handed what looks like a winnable first-round match against Varvara Gracheva. The Russian looks to be a player with a bright future and she has played some good tennis so far in 2021, most notably in reaching the semifinals in Saint-Malo, but she has lost both of her previous meetings with Martic in straight sets, including last season on the clay in Prague. There seems to be little reason to expect a different outcome in Parma.

Ana Bogdan vs Sara Errani

Head-to-head: first meeting

Sara Errani’s best days are unquestionably behind her, but the Italian – who was once ranked as high as world #5 – has played some good tennis at times in 2021. Her excellent sliced backhand and soft hands in the forecourt can make her a dangerous opponent on the red clay, and a former-French Open finalist should never be underestimated. However, she does appear to have lost half-a-step in recent seasons, something she has struggled to account for.

Ana Bogdan, meanwhile, has failed to make an impact on the biggest stage of late, but has played well away from the glare of the spotlight, reaching the quarterfinals in Istanbul and coming through the qualifying in Madrid. This looks to have the makings of a close contest, with long rallies likely to be the order of the day. But Bogdan is that much faster around the court and the Romanian can also inject more pace off the ground than Errani.

Serena Williams vs Katerina Siniakova

Head-to-head: first meeting

After losing her opener in Rome to Nadia Podoroska on her return to action, Serena Williams took the eminently sensible option to enter the draw at the WTA Parma Open in search of match sharpness. So far so good for the great American, who opened her campaign with an assured 6-2 6-3 win over home hope Lisa Pigato. Katerina Siniakova, who beat Danish young gun Clara Tauson 6-1 6-3 in the first round, will likely offer rather more resistance. The Czech has reached the fourth round at the French Open in the past after all. But if Williams is at her best, or indeed anything close to it, she should be able to overpower Siniakova.

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova vs Amanda Anismova

Head-to-head: Anisimova 1-0 Schmiedlova

After a disappointing start to her clay-court campaign which saw her lose in the first round in Bogota and crash out of the qualifying in Madrid, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova has found some form in recent weeks. The Slovakian, who has been ranked as high as 26 th in the world, made the quarterfinals in Saint-Malo and has looked sharp so far at the WTA Parma Open. She started her campaign in the qualifying, beating Bianca Turati and Rebecca Marino to reach the main draw, where she stunned Venus Williams in the first round from a set down.

However, she will likely need to maintain that level at the very least if she is to reach the quarterfinals. Amanda Anisimova has not been at her best this season, but she made an excellent start to her campaign in Emilia-Romagna by thrashing recent Saint-Malo runner-up Jasmine Paolini for the loss of only three games. She also won her only previous match against Schmiedlova at a canter. This may be more competitive, but expect Anisimova to have the edge once again.

Serena Williams is a nail art superstar who happens to play tennis

Serena Williams might be queen of the tennis court, but she's also a star in another area as well — nail art.

That's right, the tennis pro is a huge fan of (often outrageous) manicures. Williams even partnerned with OPI at one point to create her own polish line.

Williams has been rocking fun nail looks at tournaments for years, but here are a few of our favorites:

Animal prints never go out of style, right?

Here, Williams shows off a sleek, metallic version at the 2010 Australia Open.

Clearly, those long nails aren't hurting her serve. Williams wore these bright red tips to the 2011 US Open in New York.

In case you ever get bored with your go-to manicure color, here's a tip: try something different . on every nail! Seriously, though, this one must have taken some skill.

In what could quite possibly be one of Williams' most talked-about manicures (someone must be keeping track, we assume) the tennis star tried a different design on every nail, from more animal prints to a lightning bolt to a comic book "POW!" bubble.

In a simpler look, Williams chose a pretty pink polish with subtle nail art here. Bonus points for matching her tennis outfit!

Williams brought the bling to England with this embellished nail look from 2010, which she sported at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. And, yes, she won that title.

Watch the video: Simona Halep vs Serena Williams. Australian Open 2019 R4 Highlights (June 2022).


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