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As we approach 2018, we'd like to take a moment to reflect on 2017. Here's what happened in the world of Topnotch Management this year.
New friends, new ventures
The past year saw the hiring of Director of Golf Michael McKenna and Creative Director Laura Marttinen. They have played a large part in launching our three new ventures: the Stowe Mountain Lodge Classic, Topnotch Fantasy Tennis Camps, and Topnotch Golf Tours. In addition, Topnotch Management moved to a beautiful new office space in Cleveland on Larchmere Boulevard. The space is undergoing small renovations, but has already proved to be a great space to work and gather in.
The Stowe Mountain Lodge Classic was created to be an annual US Open warmup exhibition tournament for ATP players. Hosted in beautiful Stowe, Vermont, Spruce Peak Stadium is nestled at the base of Vermont's highest peak, Mt. Mansfield. The event garnered significant media coverage, highlighting both our partner Grand Slam Tennis Tours and Topnotch Management. The event was extremely well received from sponsors, media, and players and allows us a platform to grow to an even bigger and better event for 2018. Learn more at www.stowetennis.com.
We also launched Topnotch Fantasy Tennis Camps with our inaugural camp in Wailea-Makena, Maui, Hawaii. This is a true synergistic event pairing our Topnotch athletes (in this case Shelby Rogers, Steve Johnson, and Reilly Opelka) with tennis-loving fans, many of whom were already Grand Slam Tennis Tours clients and more who will certainly join those ranks. Feedback from our first camp was phenomenal, and we're locking in contracts for 2018. Learn more and book at www.fantasytenniscamps.com.
2017 also saw the launch of Topnotch Golf Tours, which offers luxury golf experiences. Our first tour will take us to The Masters in early April in Augusta, Georgia. Our experience takes a lot from Grand Slam Tennis Tours' expertise — for example, we've secured a Hospitality House walking distance from the gates. Learn more and book at www.topnotchgolftours.com.
But of course, we're here for our athletes. Read on to see what's been going on with our top golf and tennis clients this year.
Tennis stars keep shining
Our tennis-playing athletes were very successful in 2017 and are poised for an even better new year ahead.
Topnotch signed a number of top athletes in 2017. Derrick Chen is a promising young player who turned pro in January. We also signed Ohio native Lauren Davis, who won a title in Auckland, reached the quarterfinals of Doha and Dubai and the Round of 16 at Indian Wells, and finished in the Top 50 for the first time in her career. She also reached a career high at #26 in the world this year. Caroline Dolehide won a title in Winnipeg, reached the final in Charlottesville, and reached a career high of #137. Victoria Duval celebrated three years cancer-free by battling up 700 spots in the WTA rankings. German Yannick Hanffman won a Challenger tournament in Istmanning and reached the finals at Gstaad and Shymkent.
Caroline Garcia made an amazing run in the last half of the year. After reaching the quarterfinals at the French Open, she was the first ever to win back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing. She earned a spot at the WTA Finals in Singapore and reached the semifinals, earning a career high of WTA world #8. She also reached the semifinals at Bastad, Mallorca, Monterrey, and Strasbourg. Needless to say, we had a wonderful year following Caro's flight path in 2017! #FlyWithCaro
John Isner finished the year in the Top 20 for the eighth consecutive year after winning titles in Newport and Atlanta. He again led the ATP in aces; reached the semifinals at the Paris Masters, Western & Southern Open, and Rome; and was a part of the inaugural Laver Cup. He also married — congratulations, John and Madison!
Steve Johnson had an emotional year, but achieved great things, like a title at the US Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston and a Top 50 finish. He was also a part of the US Davis Cup Team. In addition, Stevie got engaged — congratulations!
Denis Kudla reached the finals of the Knoxville Challenger tournament and won a doubles title. Lukas Lacko reached the Round of 32 at the Australian Open and won titles in Brescia and Bratislava. Yoshihito Nishioka had a phenomenal start to the year, reaching the Round of 16 at Indian Wells and a career high of #58. Just eight months after he tore his ACL, he's back on court and ready to start a new season. Ryan Shane recorded two Futures titles.
Another prominent new signing for Topnotch was Cameron Norrie, currently the 4th-highest ranked British player on the ATP World Tour. He's been on a tear this year and won three titles on the Challenger Tour; Binghampton, Stockton, and Tiburon. He also won his first main draw Grand Slam singles match at the US Open. After only five months of professional tennis since leaving college in May, Cam reached a ranking of #114.
Alison Riske and Shelby Rogers were both part of the Fed Cup title-winning team. In addition, Ali reached the final at Shenzhen, posted a career high of #36, and finished the year in the Top 70. Shelby joined Reilly Opelka to steal the show at the inaugural Topnotch Fantasy Tennis Camp — Wailea, reached the quarters at her home tournament in Charleston, posted two big Top 10 wins, and recorded the longest match ever played at the US Open.
Elena Vesnina won perhaps the biggest match of her career to capture the BNP Paribas Open title in Indian Wells. Elena competed for the Zhuhai WTA Elite Trophy and reached the quarters in St. Petersburg. She finished the year in the Top 20 again — but that's just in singles. In doubles, she finished as the 2nd ranked doubles team, winning three titles: Toronto, Wimbledon, and Dubai.
Ekaterina Alexandrova finished the year in the Top 100 for the first time, reached a career high of #69 in September, and won two titles: Shenzhen and Croissy-Beaubourg. Irina-Camelia Begu also won a title at her home tournament in Bucharest, reached the semis in Istanbul, and finished the year in the WTA Top 60. Jeremy Chardy participated in the inaugural Stowe Mountain Lodge Classic, reaching the finals and becoming a fan favorite. He was also part of the winning Davis Cup Team and finished in the Top 100. He also got married — congratulations to the happy couple!
Last but not least on the tennis side, Shuai Zhang won titles in Hawaii, Tokyo, Guangzhou, and Astana. She also reached the quarterfinals in Doha, finishing the year in the WTA Top 40.
A grand entrance into the golf management sphere
Our capabilities on the golf side have greatly improved after the addition of Michael McKenna to our team. Here's a look at what our clients achieved in 2017.
John Ashworth opened two flagship Linksoul Lab stores in California, in Huntington Beach and Oceanside. He also desinged “The Playground” at Goat Hill Park, a free, three-hole course for kids.
During her rookie year, Celine Boutier won two titles on the Symetra Tour. She finished #3 on the Symetra Tour money list and earned LPGA Tour status for 2018. Celine also won the Sanya Ladies Open in China, an LET event.
Aaron Cockerill posted two Top 15s on the MacKenzie Tour; he made 11/12 cuts. Recent signing Armando Favela had three Top 10 finishes and finished 4th in Driving Accuracy on the Web.com Tour. Colin Featherstone also posted three Top 10s — his were on the PGA Tour Latin America, including a T2 at the NEC Argentina Classic. He also got engaged — congratulations! Martin Simonsen got married — all the best to the happy couple! — and qualified for the European Challenger Tour. Sean Walsh was T16 at the NEC Argentina Classic. He qualified for the MacKenzie Tour and won his first pro event on the NTPGA. Fred Wedel played in his first Web.com Tour event, the Ellie Mae Classic, and posted a 4th place finish at the Quito Open.
We have a lot to look forward to for the 2018 season, and we can't wait to get started. Congratulations to all of #TeamTopnotch!