Monday, April 30, 2018

Ex-pro star Likhovtseva joins JMG in Sacramento

   The JMG Tennis Academy at Arden Hills in Sacramento has scored a coup with the addition of coach Elena Likhovtseva.
   The 42-year-old Russian quietly enjoyed a decorated 17-year career (1992-2008) on the WTA tour.
   Likhovtseva (pronounced Lee-HOFF-seh-vuh) reached highs of No. 3 in doubles (2004) and No. 15 in singles (1999). She won 27 titles in doubles and three in singles.
   The slightly built Likhovtseva captured two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles (Wimbledon in 2002 with Mahesh Bhupathi of India and the Australian Open in 2007 with Daniel Nestor of Canada), reached four major doubles finals, and advanced to the singles semifinals of the 2005 French Open.
   In addition, Likhovtseva played on Russia's 2004 Fed Cup championship team, was a three-time Olympian and helped the Sacramento Capitals win four World TeamTennis titles in her nine years on the club (1999-2008). She was named the league's Female MVP in 2005.
   "She's almost like family for us," former Capitals owner Lonnie Nielson told The Sacramento Bee in 2007. "She's been around so long, and we enjoy having her on and off the court. She's one of the nicest players I've ever met."
   Likhovtseva stayed with Nielson's mother-in-law when the Capitals played at home.
   JMG, founded and owned by Joseph Gilbert, has produced junior national champions Collin Altamirano, Jenson Brooksby, Austen Huang, Karl Lee, Zachery Lim, Priya Nelson and Rudy Quan and sent numerous players to Division I universities on scholarship.
   Altamirano, who in 2013 became the first unseeded player to win the USTA boys 18 national championship, helped the University of Virginia win the NCAA team title in all three of his years there before turning pro last year.

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