Williams Sisters, Mattress Mac, More ATP Housecleaning
Williams Sisters in Unfamiliar Court
If the court battle the Williams sisters are caught in was a dryer, it would be set on “super spin.”
Venus and Serena and crazy pop Richard are in court in West Palm Beach, FL, battling promoters who claim father Richard committed them to a “Battle of the Sexes” exhibition.
“My dad has the influence of a great father and a great person,” Serena told the court, according to the AP. “My dad came from nothing and made myself and my sister to be somebody. We’re not going to let somebody take that away from us.”
Not sure what that has to do with anything, but promoters Rhodes and Clarke contend that Richard Williams billed himself as a business manager to the sisters, with their lawyers played parts of a 2002 biography film, ‘Raising Tennis Aces,” in which Serena said of dad: “As a manager he’s the best.”
Not hard to imagine.
A lawyer asked Serena, “You knew that the public perception was that your father was your manager, correct?” and Serena replied “I don’t know what the public thought about as to my dad.”
Nice answer. Anyone following tennis even remotely close knows poppa Richard has always played a heavy part in the sisters upbringing, and even if they do have “official” management, he loves to spin deals on the side and do his best to project himself as a player.
Richard was working this deal, the “Battle of the Sexes,” a topic that always carries a lot of pay-per-view potential — hell, even when both sisters lost to the chain-smoking Karsten Braasch on a practice side court early in their careers, fans and the media were titillated. Richard knew what he was doing. Now it’s time to see if he and his daughters can twist reality enough without actually perjuring themselves.
According to the Palm Beach Post: “Testifying later, Serena Williams said she has no memory of ever visiting ‘We Media’ or talking about a battle-of-the-sexes tournament that Clarke and Rhodes claim would net her family at least $37 million. “Apparently I was there, but I don’t recall being there” she said, of the meeting that took place just before she competed in the U.S. Open. She attributed her memory lapse to her busy schedule.”
Mattress Mac Leaving Tennis
Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale, one-time promoter of the ATP Masters Cup in Houston, is setting the stage for an exit from tennis.
“There’s no money in tennis,” McIngvale said. “It’s taken me 10 years to learn that. We haven’t been able to grow the game as much as I thought we could…We’re not big ATP fans, as you know, but we’re huge USTA fans. Hopefully one of these days we’ll hook up with them again.”
Next year will be the last year McIngvale and Houston will host the ATP U.S. Clay Court Championships, then they were out. The quirky character who pumped millions of his own money into pro tennis is a casualty of tennis following the money out of the U.S. into Asia, and the ATP burning a bridge.
“Nobody in the United States has poured as much money into tennis over the last 10 years as me and Linda have. I hope they’re happy to have us in the game,” McIngvale said.
ATP Housecleaning Continues
ATP President Etienne de Villiers is swinging the ax after a year of not getting things done to his satisfaction — first it was U.S. Senior VP-Communications David Higdon, then it spread to the U.S. web team, and now to Europe.
Horst Klosterkemper has been canned at the ATP Europe CEO, to be replaced by another former Disney guy, Manchester United commercial director Andy Anson, who will join the tour in April.
“He brings a wealth of commercial branding and sport-based experience, as well as a real understanding of the current media landscape,” de Villiers said in a statement.
Anson says tennis should be at the same popularity level as the World Cup, Formula One and the Olympic Games.
No mention of the U.S., where the season-ending Masters Cup, featuring Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal, then Federer vs. James Blake, was almost non-existent.
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