TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
WTA MONEY ABOVE THE TABLE — WTA Tour officials this week said that player guarantees to show up at tournaments, which in the past have been under-the-table affairs, can now occur above the table. “As of January, all guarantees are legal at all levels of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour events,” WTA Tour Senior Vice-president of Competition and Member Relations Peter Johnston told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Prize money increased by 40 percent last year and we are confident that the players are playing the appropriate schedules, so now we have got that in place we can allow market forces to work themselves out. If tournaments do want to entice players to play their events, we are prepared to allow it.” — In other words, ‘we’re going to now allow what has been going on for the last 30 years.’
LET’S GET SHAHAR — From Voxy.co.nz contributing douche Chris Ford: “I support the actions of Global Peace and Justice Auckland in protesting the appearance of Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer at the ASB Tennis Open. I feel that they should be there to let the watching world know that there are New Zealanders who are opposed to the ongoing Israeli presence on Palestinian lands. They are rightly using Peer’s presence at the tournament to point out that we, amongst other Western nations, are continuing to welcome Israeli athletes at a time when their continued occupation of Palestine shows no sign of ending.” — So protesting athletes that have nothing to do with their country’s policies is the way to go? Protesting women athletes? Idiot. “For the whole week, again and again and again, I’ve been asked about it and hearing them calling me to go out of the tournament, it’s not a nice feeling and not comfortable,” Peer said of the protesters during the Auckland event. “I’m only 22 and to get those calls against me is not nice…but I am really proud of the way I handled it. Unfortunately I don’t only have to deal with the players but I also have to deal with politics stuff as well. If it is because of where I come from, that’s not fair. I have nothing to do with politics. I am just a tennis player and I want to enjoy the tour like the other players.”
LACKING INTEGRITY — The Tennis Integrity Unit has fined 24-yearold Russian Ekaterina Bychkova $5,000 and barred her from playing for 30 days once they found out she failed to report she was asked to provide inside information and throw matches by the Russian mafia (likely)…
BELGIAN WAFFLE RANKINGS — Kim Clijsters rose from 18 to No. 15 after winning Brisbane. Justine Henin is unranked as she hasn’t played the minimum number of tournaments, but after the Brisbane final and one tournament result would come in at No. 252.
DEALS — According to Bloomberg News, Maria Sharapova has extended her sponsorship agreement with Nike by eight years for $70 million…Fila has extended their clothing sponsorship with former No. 1 Belgian Kim Clijsters.
WATCH OUT FOR MY EXPLODING HEAD — Serena Williams on keeping the No. 1 ranking in 2010: “I don’t think about it a lot. I’ve got a lot on my plate. Everyone assumes that I’m No. 1 anyway.”
DON’T BAN ME — Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova on countrywoman Ekaterina Bychkova being fined $5,000 and banned from playing the tour for 30 days for failing to report she was approached by gamblers, and being unclear on the WTA/Tennis Integrity Unit rules: “I don’t know exactly what has happened with her and I will ask and find out more…If you have been approached before and now come forward and tell them will they ban you? And if you don’t come forward will they ban you? We need to be clear. How do you know if someone approaches me and it is a joke?…Do I have to tell the WTA every time I get told a joke? They can send you a letter, fan mail, Facebook and you may not pay much attention to it and maybe it is people trying to catch you and doing it on purpose. It could happen and you could be not guilty.”
DJOKOVIC TO THROW WEIGHT AROUND — Novak Djokovic says he will leverage his position on the ATP Player Council in 2010 to create a longer off-season for the men: “It’s important that people understand how we feel. The season is too long, four or five weeks before the start of a new season is so little. We need at least two months at a minimum, we’re trying to fight for player rights.”
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