Big Changes at On The Baseline Tennis News

By
Updated: November 8, 2010

Five years ago, on a whim, I launched a little website for fun about my favorite sport, women’s tennis. For those of you who have been with On the Baseline from the beginning, you can attest to how far we’ve come from the early days! Sitting on a tiny domain with a handful of visitors a day, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what the future would hold for OTB. Thanks to the tireless work of dozens of people over the years and the support of thousands of loyal readers, OTB has developed from a little online journal into one of the premier women’s only tennis websites in the world.

To say that it has been an epic journey would be an understatement. What started off as a fun hobby turned into one of the most valuable learning experiences of my life. I’ve had a front row seat to watching tennis history, while learning every day about new and exciting advances in online communication and social media. Above all, I’ve learned that although wins and losses are vital, there really is much more to life.

OTB was one of the first media outlets to embrace Twitter as a means of reaching a wider audience. Our balanced, but no-nonsense journalistic approach reaped mentions in some of the leading media outlets in the world, including The NY Times and Reuters. Microsoft spent twelve months profiling the early testing of Office 2010 in our day-to-day business routines and then featured OTB in its landmark $80-million dollar advertising campaign. Through the years, we’ve had the pleasure of bringing live coverage from many of the biggest tournaments in the world.

The past five years have been a dream come true.  The relationships I’ve made, the experiences I’ve had, the struggles and rewards are memories that I’ll cherish for years.

Effective November 1, 2010, On the Baseline Tennis News came under new ownership and management. I will be stepping back from tennis to expand a few personal horizons and further my work with DuoParadigms Public Relations & Design, Inc, a public relations and design company dedicated to helping Christian businesses and organizations broaden their reach in the world of online media.

Selling On the Baseline was a decision that I did not make lightly. It wasn’t a hasty decision, but one which I felt needed to be made as above all, OTB’s readers deserved the most dedicated leadership and management possible. Equally as important, I knew that OTB needed just the right buyer who could see its vision and would be committed to its future.

It is my distinct pleasure to announce that OTB has found just the right man for the job. Like many of you, Justin Pohn is a dedicated tennis fan and truly loves the sport. After seeing first-hand his enthusiasm and vision for the future of On the Baseline, I’m confident that under his new direction, OTB will continue to thrive and reach new heights.

Some things, though, will not change. Many of the writers you’ve grown to enjoy  will continue to provide stimulating and challenging discussions. OTB will continue to be a tennis leader in embracing social media and online marketing. Exciting things are coming in the weeks ahead as this year’s edition of the Players to Watch Series is already shaping up to be the best ever! Most of all, the commitment to journalistic integrity and women’s tennis will continue.

To all the readers, players, agents, advertisers, guest writers, tennis industry insiders, and WTA officials I’ve had the privilege of working with through the years, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Without you, none of this would have been possible. I’ve long found myself challenged, inspired, and encouraged by our loyal readers and I can never thank you all enough for your support. Many of you I’ve been privileged to get to know and I look forward to continuing those relationships in the days ahead as friends.

To Justin, thank you for catching the vision of OTB and I wish you the best as you take up this new opportunity.  To my family, Melanie Bogner, Larry Walls, Paula Vergara, and Chris Oddo, you have all been such wonderful supporters of OTB and have assisted in countless of ways through the years.  Above all, I thank God for the wonderful five years I’ve experienced and the lifelong memories and lessons that I will continue to cherish.


Aaress

*****************


Hello fellow tennis fanatics, let me introduce myself. I’m the new editor of OnTheBaseline.com, professional women’s tennis news from around the world. Tennis has been a part of my life since the age of six. I grew up in Chicago, Illinois and my first brush with tennis was having an opportunity to be a ball boy at the Volvo Men’s tournament, and the original Virginia Slim’s Women’s tournament held in Chicago, IL. That experience got me hooked. I even hit a few balls with John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova during an introductory session. Of course, so did a hundred other 6 year olds, but that didn’t matter. I think I remember passing Johnny Mac, at least that’s the story I’m sticking with.

I’ve played USTA tennis through the years at different levels, including Division I college tennis. Today, I continue to play singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in the USTA leagues and tournaments. I simply love the game, and love being around it.

I know I have large shoes to fill with Aaress moving on to fulfill her career goals. I’m sure she’ll pop in from time to time and be a guest writer, or post some commentary. In the upcoming years ahead, I’m looking forward to bringing you the most up to date, informative news in women’s professional tennis from around the world. I can’t wait to get your feedback on what you want to see and hear about in the world of women’s tennis.

2011 will be a fun year at OnTheBaseline.com. We’ll have more fan and follower interaction than ever. You’ll have many opportunities to win prizes such as tennis equipment, tickets to events, and other gifts. Let me know what you’re most interested in hearing and seeing on the site in the upcoming season. Do you want an expanded tape talk section (instructional guides), or more equipment and clothing reviews? How about expanded live written coverage of events, which ones? Are you interested in more contests with prizes? Or maybe more player interviews and interactions (with who?)

Remember to keep your eyes peeled for the 2011 players to watch series starting December 1st. Also remember to vote for your favorite players in the 2010 end of the year Baseline awards starting December 10th.

Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions or feedback at info@onthebaseline.com. Please be patient, I’ll do my best to respond in a timely fashion while I’m getting myself adjusted.

-Justin

Comments

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12 Legacy Comments

  1. Marija

    November 8, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Dear Aaress,

    The moment you sent me the email I was reading this announcement and I am glad and sad at the same time.

    Let’s start with good things first:

    I am happy that you will move on to other things in life, change is always good and I am sure you will be successful at whatever you pursue. Also, I am happy that On the Baseline will get a fresh voice and feel and I am really looking forward to having Justin as a fellow blogger. I’m sure we’ll cooperate wonderfully and I’m sure he will give justice to what you’ve established here and only build up on that.

    Sad things:

    I feel like we’ve been growing our blogs at the same time, and you are one of the very few writers that was consistent with their work. I saw many blogs come and go, but Aaress was always there, just like me. And that’s not all, you were one of the first bloggers, if not the first, to give a link to my blog and you wrote me a comment which was probably one of the first three on my blog. Not to mention our other cooperation like guest posts and my blog winning the Baseline Award. I feel sad that I’m losing one person of the very few from the old guard who have followed my blog since its baby steps.

    All in all, I think we should be positive. Blogging and tennis have enriched your life a lot, just as mine, and I’m more than happy to meet Justin and add him to my network of tennis friends.

    Aaress, all the best to you and thank you for being so supportive and professional throughout our blogging cooperation!

    Marija

  2. Aaress

    November 8, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Marija,

    Thank you so much for your comment! I sincerely appreciate it!

    Through the years, it has been such a pleasure working with you. You have been so faithful and diligent in your efforts at Women’s Tennis Blog, and I always enjoyed the opportunities we had to collaborate together on projects.

    Thank you for your support of OTB and I know you’ll continue to enjoy it in the days ahead.

    Best wishes!

    Aaress

  3. Vicki

    November 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Aaress you are OTB and made OBT a great site for women’s tennis news. I’m sad to see you go. But good luck with your new endeavours.

  4. Diane

    November 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Aaress, I, too am sorry to see you leave On the Baseline, but glad for you that you have a project that will keep you very busy.

    You have been a source not only of information, but also of support, for Women Who Serve. It has been a pleasure working with you and just having you close by in the tennis blogosphere. I have been honored to be a guest writer, and I will continue to be a regular reader.

    Thanks for everything you have done for women’s tennis, and thanks for being there for me.

    Diane

  5. Aaress Lawless

    November 8, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Vicki, thank you so much! You’ve been such a faithful supporter through the years!

    Diane, I’ll definitely miss collaborating with you and the many other fine writers I’ve gotten to know. I’m so grateful for all your contributions through the years!

  6. Sunny nine

    November 8, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Aaress,
    Besides the WTA official site, this was one of the first women’s tennis sites I began using regularly. I will miss your impact on the site and especially your hand in keeping the comment sections civil. The latter is really important to me-so thanks again. Personal matters have kept me away from commenting on the blogs I would like to, but I have always stopped by.

  7. Alice

    November 8, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Aaress

    I have only just received the news that you are moving on, and like Marija, my initial feelings are of a mix of shock and sadness. But I also know the decision to move on isn’t a step you would have taken without careful consideration and a bright vision of the future ahead.

    You have so many different projects on the go and I have always marvelled at your versatility as a writer, creator, innovator, and entrepreneur.

    5 years of 24/7 commitment at On The Baseline is impressive in itself, and perhaps this is the right time for you to move on to new things.

    You were one of the very first individuals in the tennis world to encourage me with my own work and offer a hand of friendship, I am grateful to you for the opportunity I have had to contribute to On The Baseline.

    Elena retiring and now this!

    My very best wishes to you for the future, and hope you will still visit us all and tweet now and then.

    Alice

  8. Aaress

    November 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Sunny, thank you very much for your kind words. It was always a pleasure having you comment at OTB!

    Alice, I appreciate your comment and your long-time support of OTB. I definitely enjoyed the opportunities that we had to work together when you contributed to OTB. You’ve been very diligent at your own site through the years as well!!! Take care!

  9. Pingback: short balls: dent says farewell to tennis « tennis served fresh

  10. the fan child

    November 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Best of luck Aaress! You’ll be missed but I know you’ll be checking in from time to time because you are a true tennis junkie like the rest of us!!!!

    Best of luck in your future endeavors, and don’t be a stranger!

    – Chris

  11. Paula Vergara

    November 10, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Aaress Lawless–simply the best in the business. I’ve learned so much from you over the years. Thank you for all of your support, endless-optimism, creativity, and ability to be even-keeled during all of the ups and downs. You are destined for success, wherever you go.

    Best of luck.

    Paula

  12. Aaress

    November 10, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Chris — it has been such a pleasure working with you! I’ve enjoyed talking tennis with you, especially at Indian Wells this past year. Looking forward to keeping those discussions up in the future!

    Paula — it is I who have learned so much from you! You have been such a solid source of encouragement and advice through the years. You always kept your ears to the ground and your dedication and loyalty to OTB means so much to me. I’ll miss working with you! Keep up the great work, my friend!

    Aaress