Tennis-X Notes: Euros Sick of U.S.; Gambling Journalists?
by Richard Vach | April 8th, 2008, 8:05 am
  • 14 Comments

LEANDER PAES SAYS DON’T GET FAT: The U.S. holds the distinction as having the most fat kids in the world, but India is catching up, so doubles whiz Leander Paes in leaping into action — as a super hero. Paes, who has rock star status in India, will feature in an animated series where he plays a super hero who promotes active lifestyles for children in “The Magic Racquet.” Not to be outdone, ESPN has announced it will debut an animated series featuring Andy Roddick, where the American travels the world screaming at chair umpires to promote them actively making line calls rather than relying on the Hawk-Eye replay player challenge, to be called “Feel Free to #&@*!$% Help Me out Here, Man.”


ATP, WTA DRAINING PRO TENNIS IN THE U.S.?: Last week, San Diego Union-Tribune tennis writer Jerry Magee noted that when the WTA Tour San Diego event went up for sale last year, and Indian Wells organizers attempted to buy it, they were told there would be no bidding process as the WTA was going to buy it and move the tournament to Beijing. Now the ATP’s intentions have been announced where they want to move the Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas to South Africa? If you thought American pro players were struggling now to reach the upper echelon (currently there are only four American men, and three American women (the 30+ Lindsay Davenport and the Williams sisters) in the Top 50 rankings), then just wait until all the smaller tournament opportunities have been exported to Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

A COMEBACK DATE: According to Japanese media, former No. 4-ranked player Kimiko Date will this week announce her return to competitive tennis at the age of 37. Date reached the No. 4 rank in 1995 before retiring the following year. Date was inspired to return to the tour after a recent Asian exhibition where she beat retired former No. 1s Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova.

U.S. DAVIS CUP LINE-UP RECORD: When the U.S. Davis Cup team hosts France in April it will be the 10th consecutive time that captain Patrick McEnroe goes with Andy Roddick and James Blake in singles, and the Bryan brothers in doubles. Mardy Fish will be the reserve player/practice partner for the U.S. during the tie.

MEMPHIS SOLD: The owner of the combined ATP/WTA event in Memphis is selling to local buyers, according to the SportBusiness Journal, ending 30 years as the face of tennis in that city. The deal includes the Racquet Club of Memphis as well as an additional 12 acres around the club. In 2009 the ATP plans to discard the “Masters Series” designation for its top level of events, naming its three levels of events 1000, 500 and 250. It’s yet another confusing change for casual tennis fans, and the media that cover tennis, exemplified by this erroneous excerpt from a story from the Memphis Business Journal: “It was announced last year that the men’s side of the Memphis tennis tournaments will be designated as an ATP 500, which raises the profile of the events. The ATP 500 tour is one level below the majors such as the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open.”

RODDICK, BLAKE LINE UP FOR FISH: Andy Roddick and James Blake will be groomsmen when Mardy Fish marries Stacey Gardner, who holds the No. 2 briefcase on NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” game show, in September in Los Angeles.

RODDICK GETTING HITCHED: It was revealed last Monday at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami that Andy Roddick has been engaged to girlfriend and model Brooklyn Decker. Roddick wasn’t forthcoming in the details of how he popped the question after winning his match Monday night in Miami. “Just little details I’ll probably keep to myself,” Roddick said. “It’s our business. It was nice. I got down on a knee, but I think the details we’ll keep close to our family and friends…I think it’s a life choice, so it is a bit different. I think I lost half my fan base today.” Roddick’s official website also posted an announcement. “The couple wanted to tell their family and close friends first, but good news travels fast. With their hectic travel schedules, Andy and Brooklyn plan to enjoy their engagement and will wait to set a wedding date.”

ATP CEO DE VILLIERS ON THE FIRING LINE?: From South Florida Sun-Sentinel writer Charlie Bricker: “With fewer than nine months to go on his three-year contract, ATP CEO Etienne de Villiers is facing intensified heat from some of the tour’s top players, who want him terminated. According to one of my best sources, and someone very well connected to ATP politics, several top-20 players have organized a petition that demands that the six-man board of directors not begin negotiations to extend de Villiers’ contract past December until they’ve examined other candidates for the CEO’s job. Obviously, you don’t examine other candidates if you’re happy with the man who’s doing the job and, while the board of directors appears to be solidly behind de Villiers, there are players who are not.”

ATP PARTNERS WITH ITS OWN ENEL-GIZER BUNNY: Enel, Italy’s largest power company and Europe’s second-largest “utility for installed capacity,” has become an official ATP sponsor. Their three-year agreement with make Enel prominent at eight ATP events. Enel serves approximately 50 million power and gas customers in 21 countries.

TENNIS PUTTING GAMBLING CLAMP-DOWN ON JOURNALISTS: The tennis tours let the top players skip out on major events without fines and accept ‘doctor’s notes’ whenever a players wants to feign injury to take a rest — but watch out gamblers! Tennis will flex it’s muscles when it comes to fining low-ranked Italian players and kicking out fans talking on mobile phones at tournaments. Or making Nikolay Davydenko’s life a living hell without producing any results. In the latest installment of ‘Pro Tennis: Tough on Gambling!’, rumor has it that the ATP, WTA, tournaments, or all of the above will require journalists to sign a waver saying they won’t engage in gambling activities on-site or during events. And if the journalist won’t sign the waver? Then no access to the players. Stay tuned.

TEACH ME THAT MOONBALL FOREHAND: Alex Corretja will reportedly coach Andy Murray through the claycourt season.

GET ME OUT OF THIS COUNTRY: Rafael Nadal and other European players are complaining that the four-week stretch it takes to play the Indian Wells and Miami tournament is too long, especially compared to the claycourt season where players have to compete in three Masters Series events in a span of four weeks: “I’m very comfortable in United States, but not for this [amount of] time,” Nadal said during the Miami event. “It’s not fair have one month, two tournaments, and after go back to Europe and we have to play three Masters Series on clay. We only have three Masters Series on clay during all the season, and we have three Masters Series in four weeks. So for us it’s terrible, that. And three Masters Series in the middle of the biggest tournament on clay in the world: Barcelona. So if you see the calendar, that is unbelievable…It’s because these two tournaments [Indian Wells and Miami] are one week later, because you have university or something like this, college basketball. I respect 100% the college basketball. I think it’s very important. I know here it’s very important, the college basketball, because I saw always the American players and the men in the locker room watching always this. But, well, we can’t have the calendar thinking about the college basketball, no? So we are 100% disappointed about this decision of the ATP.”


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14 Comments for Tennis-X Notes: Euros Sick of U.S.; Gambling Journalists?

tennisballpenetrator Says:

Why did he say the biggest clay court tournament in the world is Barcelona?


Skorocel Says:

To tennisballpenetrator:

As you may have noticed, English still isn’t one of Rafa’s strengths :) He obviously wanted to say Barcelona is the biggest clay tourney apart from RG and the MC + Rome + Hamburg trio (which is indeed true)…


Von Says:

“ESPN has announced it will debut an animated series featuring Andy Roddick, … to be called “Feel Free to #&@*!$%. Help Me out Here, Man.”

Well, you just can’t keep a good man down. Roddick made headlines for his ump rant and raves and was dubbed the “Ugly American”, but his dark cloud will soon have a silver lining. He’ll be smiling all the way to the bank. Life is a bowl of cherries for A-Rod! A+ for originality!


Richard Vach Says:

It is essentially the “Spanish Open” and very important to the Spaniards.


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies like Richard Vach Says:

who cares about clay season?


Dr. Death Says:

Anyone over 40 with bad knees loves the clay court season. One of the great things about tennis is the different surfaces. It is the only sport that comes to mind where to be great one has to adapt to these different venues because of the historic tradition of the sport.

I find the comments of RV concerning the sale of events to interests outside of the U.S. important on two fronts. Firstly, we have to recognize that many sports have international appeal. American football has played games abroad as has baseball. Ever been in Singapore when the NBA is in town?

Secondly, we should not be so surprised by this given what we read in the financial press. The growing investments of Sovereign Wealth funds into the U.S. is a manifestation of the movement of wealth globally. It is no longer the U.S. investor who dominates. Similarly, we ought to expect these parallel interests to want their sports nearer to home. Beijing is tennis mad; see the previous Masters event there. There are people who employ full time tennis coaches to play with.

The credit crisis is changing everything.


Richard Vach Says:

That is me, over 40 with bad knees and a sissy and loving clay (even after watching my approach shots sit up and getting passed).


MMT Says:

Richard – never feel obligated to respond to I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies…he’s a bit of a buffoon.

Real tennis fans embrace the change of surface, and I agree with Rafa that Indian Wells and Miami make little sense based on the calendar of slams.

In the abstract, they ought to play them before the Australian Open, and before the smaller Pacific Rim hard court tournaments. Dubai should also come before the Australian and the Australian should move to March/April, but that will never happen.

Instead, they will eventually entirely lose their appeal and be dropped from the schedule in favor of a couple of Masters level events in Asia schedule with a smaller move to February for the Australian Open.


Von Says:

MMT:

“In the abstract, they ought to play them before the Australian Open, and before the smaller Pacific Rim hard court tournaments. Dubai should also come before the Australian and the Australian should move to March/April, but that will never happen.”

You make absolutely good sense about moving those events. Weather-wise it would be perfect if Dubai were moved to the 3rd week of January and the IW and Miami tournaments were to be moved up to the 3rd week of February, with a two-week interval, followed by the AO. The clay season can begin shortly thereafter. All around the climate would be most favorable to the athletes’ performance and would allow for better scheduling of the clay tournaments. The variety would be a great boon for the athletes’ mentally. But, there have been complaints from some of the top 10 players in the past, that the season begins too early in the year, as it is. A catch-22 situation, indeed.

If the ATP really wanted to do something worthwhile they should begin by rescheduling some of the MS tourneys and also overhauling the calendar. However, it’s all a matter of how much importance they place on the athletes’ health and the success of the tournaments. It seems that their actions revolve around the amount of money they can save and make, and as long as the tournamnets are well-attended and a huge profit realized, well, who cares. A classic case of supply v. demand. Whichever way we look at it, something needs to be done and soon.

Ref: Dr. Death’s comments on global economy v. American economy – very true. There is no longer an American monopoly/oligopoly, and whether we like it or not, the global markets are now wielding big axes and they are great sources of untapped wealth. The American businesses overseas are the ones making up the greater part of the profits, and as such, are keeping the American based businesses afloat, stock prices/market, etc. “That it should come to this!”.


zola Says:

Richard Vach,

You have completey taken Rafa’s comments out of contxt. You have ( for some reason) cut out the “college Basketball” part of his comment. and it is not fair and not ethical at all.

His protest was not to the long run here ( berdych’s was). Rafa’s complain was about the fact that because the final of College Basketball ahs been pushed back one week, the ATP also pushed back the IW and Miami final a week, so that CBS can braodcast both finals in the same weekend. That resutled in eleimination of one week between Barcelona and Rome. Barcelona is the most important clay tournament ( a goleden series). Now the players have to playe 3 master series in a month plus Barcelona ( 4) . That’s brutal on their body and that’s what Rafa was complaining about.

The full quote is this:
——————-
Q. A lot of the European players tell us that this part of the calendar is very hard for them. They get tired being in the United States for a month or over five weeks. You seem to play well in these tournaments. Are you comfortable here in the United States for that long of time? And if so, why is that?

RAFAEL NADAL: I’m very comfortable in United States, but not for this time. It’s not fair have one month, two tournaments, and after go back to Europe and we have to play three Masters Series on clay.
We only have three Masters Series on clay during all the season, and we have three Masters Series in four weeks. So for us it’s terrible, that.
And three Masters Series in the middle of the biggest tournament on clay in the world: Barcelona. So if you see the calendar, that is unbelievable.
Everybody can say about the Olympics. Is not for the Olympics. This year we have that. It’s because these two tournaments are one week later, because you have university or something like this, college basketball. I respect 100% the college basketball. I think it’s very important.
I know here it’s very important, the college basketball, because I saw always the American players and the mens in the locker room watching always this.
But, well, we can’t have the calendar thinking about the college basketball, no? So we are 100% disappointed about this decision of the ATP.
Finally the European players are, well, I don’t know, very angry about these decisions, no? For me it’s terrible. You know, I’m a clay player, but I can play very well on all surface. But play four weeks it’s impossible if you are playing well, no?
————


zola Says:

Sorry for all the typos.


corrected_context Says:

“the college basketball,” “I saw always the American players and the mens in the locker room watching always this.” “that is unbelievable.” “For me it’s terrible.”


Skorocel Says:

To Zola:

Gotta agree with your man on this one. Don’t know about the previous year, but as for 2006, I certainly remember there were 2 weeks between Monte Carlo and Rome (with one of these 2 weeks belonging to the Barcelona tourney, of course). Now it is MC + Barcelona + Rome + Hamburg, all in 4 weeks… That’s pretty ridiculous!


zola Says:

Thanks Skorocel.
I think there was always one week between Barcelona and Rome . Even that was hard. ( Having 3 master series in 5 weeks!). Now they wou’t even get time to pack up for the next tournament if they reach the final. And RAfa defends huge points in all of the.

corected-context
that was too funny!. :)

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