TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
ATP TENNIS CLUB CLOSES — Formerly part of the complex known as the “ATP World Headquarters” in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., the ATP Tennis Club without ceremony closed its doors on Nov. 30, 2011. In its heyday the club, which included a restaurant, workout room, locker room, stadium court and nine other red clay, hard court and grass courts, was the home to an ATP Challenger tournament and an ATP senior tour event, amidst numerous tennis exhibitions and other events. The land was an initial gift from the neighboring PGA Tour to bring more development to the area in 1989 when the ATP moved ahead with its plan to take over the men’s tour from the Men’s Tennis Council which at that time ran the tour. The ATP Tennis Club was meant to become a training hub for men’s tennis, but it never came to be due to location (45 minutes from the airport, rich area but rural) and mismanagement (the club was rumored to lose $100,000 a year). When U.S. CEO Mark Miles exited, replaced by a string of European CEOs who made the ATP London office their home, it was the beginning of the end for the Ponte Vedra Beach site as a major office. The club was piece by piece sold to The Bolles School elementary-school campus, a private school, which constructed school buildings over some of the courts but kept most intact. Eventually the entire play site was sold to The Bolles School, which on Nov. 30 shut down the former ATP clubhouse, and on Dec. 1 took all the nets down from the courts. The ATP offices for American-based staffers remains across the street from the Bolles school. RIP PVB ATC.
Jelena Jankovic attributed her plummet after reaching No. 1 to over-training going into the next season. Here’s Jankovic talking to Sky Sports on her off-season training for 2012: “I’m training more than I ever have…7 hours a day…I start at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. everyday but Sunday…day off…tennis is five hours and fitness is two hours a day…I’m getting in great shape!” Good luck with that. According to tennis writer Matt Cronin, Jankovic has now hired Henner Nehles, a former UNLV player from Germany, as her new coach. Jankovic also split with her agency, IMG, and is now being managed by the Las Vegas-based Linda Long. She has also hired fitness trainer Korey Goodwin, the former director of performance at Athletes’ Performance Las Vegas…Kim Clijsters says she will take care with her scheduling in 2012, and has not made a decision yet on playing Fed Cup in an Olympics year: “The start of 2011 was really good. But after that I made some decisions I no longer would make now. After a physically and psychologically very strenuous Australian Open, the indoor tournament in Paris was the one event too much. Now, I’ll be listening to my body much better.”…Williams sisters exo cash-grab watch: latest stop, Barbados and the “Tennis Pon de Rock” exhibition at the exclusive Sugar Hill Tennis Resort among the others, next stop exos in Florida…Kim Clijsters beat Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets in an exhibition in Antwerp…Comcast cable lost their court case with Tennis Channel, and must now carry Tennis Channel at the same level as Versus and Golf Channel. “They were ordered to proceed as soon as is practicable,” said Ken Solomon, the chief executive of the Tennis Channel, speaking to the NYT. “So we’re preparing to add between 20 million and 23 million households.” Current Tennis Channel subscribers have to pay a fee for a “sports tier” to see the channel rather than viewing it with basic cable channels…The ATP Atlanta Tennis Championships is moving sites to Atlantic Station, a high-traffic area of Atlanta. The July event is still seeking a title sponsor…The Indian Wells event has raised prize money where both the men’s and women’s champions will receive $1 million in prize money in 2012…Dutch newspapers reported that Richard Krajicek pulled out of the race to become the next ATP CEO, feeling he didn’t have support from ATP board members. Now the position is reportedly between ATP desk jockeys Brad Drewett of Australia and Mark Young of the U.S. (but you can nix Young as they won’t give it to an American)…The Kooyong exo field will be Milos Raonic, Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick, Bernard Tomic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych, Gael Monfils and Juergen Melzer…Marin Cilic has pulled from Chennai in January citing a leg injury, and aversion to Indian food…Where would we be without sites such as Live Tennis Guide and Bleacher Report clogging the news feeds with insightful stories such as “[Player name here] Aims to Win Slam in 2012″? Here’s an article: “ATP World Tour: The Case for Shortening the ATP Season,” where the author starts, “In this article, I am going to discuss the merits of cutting down the schedule of the ATP season…” It’s always great to start a story “In this article…” because then you’ve cleared-up the confusion that you may be simultaneously writing another great Bleacher Report article simultaneously that we’re not even aware of…The WTA Memphis event is still looking for a title sponsor after losing Cellular South, and as of now will be called The Memphis International. Is there not a beer sponsor, gambling or porn site willing to step up?…Tim Henman says Roger Federer will be No. 1 again, and that his favorite ice cream flavor is still vanilla…The Gerry Weber Open grasscourt event signed Rafael Nadal to a three-year participation deal, joining Roger Federer and leaving the Queen’s Club with the scraps (and Novak Djokovic)…Ana Ivanovic on playing the Hopman Cup last year: “That was really refreshing…getting to play alongside Novak and seeing how differently he functions. It was interesting to watch how much fun he had and how much he enjoyed his tennis…That’s why we all play the game, but sometimes with the pressure and stress that gets forgotten. Maybe we (women) would perform much better if we could relax a little more and let it go. The things with men’s tennis is that it’s set up a bit differently and I feel it’s more relaxed. They just don’t seem to stress about the small things. That might also be a difference between guys and girls generally. Girls take everything so personally. Everything is more emotional for us.”…Ian Ritchie, Wimbledon chief executive since 2005, is leaving the All England Club to take the same role at England’s Rugby Football Union…Since losing control of the rankings long ago the International Tennis Federation has always needed a “look at us!” gimmick — hence every year issuing their “the rankings are wrong!” ITF World Champion Awards. For 2011 they went to Novak Djokovic, Petra Kvitova, and in doubles Bob and Mike Bryan, and Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik…Albert Costa officially stepped down as Spain’s Davis Cup captain to become coordinator of the Spanish federation’s national teams. No replacement has yet been announced…Maria Sharapova says she will play Fed Cup for Russia in 2012 (since she has to for Olympics qualification)…In addition to putting Marat Safin in the Russian Parliament, Vladimir Putin also seats to a former boxing champion and a Playboy playmate. At least Marat will have the regular hook-up. That country is going places…Jimmy Connors will return to the ATP Champions Tour after a 13-year absence to play in the Zurich Open in March…Ana Ivanovic is back with Australian golfer Adam Scott, and told the Herald Sun she likes Aussie guys more than Serbs: “I like the relaxed, laid-back Australian mentality. And I also feel like he’s very helpful around the house. When we’re together he offers to do things and help — much more than Serbian men would.” Bam! Suck it Serbian men, you’re out. We’ve heard than Novak won’t do shit around the house…Argentine Davis Cup captain Tito Vazquez’s contract was not renewed after Argentina lost to Spain in the 2011 Davis Cup final, and he took the opportunity to take some shots at Argentine player David Nalbandian: “I didn’t see Nalbandian as a positive leader, but I was willing to give him another chance,” Vazquez told TyCSports. “I don’t think the same way as Nalbandian, and do not share many of the [ideas] about leadership.” Vasquez contrasted Nalbandian with Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who he said is “a guy who you want to have on your team. He’s a motivational leader and was in the stands encouraging.” Former Argentine pro Martin Jaite was named the new captain…Svetlana Kuznetsova will do a coaching try-out with Elena Dementieva’s former coach Olga Morozova, and Daniela Hantuchova has begun working with former ATP pro Claudio Pistolesi for a trial period…Mikhail Youzhny completed his doctorate in philosophy this year after six years of study. “I didn’t mind if it took 5, 6, 7, 8 years, when I had some free time I could do it slowly. I feel good because I took the time to do what I wanted to do, I finished it, and I’m happy with that.”…Croatian tennis is blowing up — not necessarily in a good way. The AP reports that Goran Ivanisevic won’t be the permanent Croatian Davis Cup captain because the Croatian tennis federation could not meet his hefty price tag. At the same time it was announced that he would captain the team pro-bono against Japan in their upcoming tie, and that leadership-challenged Croatian former French Open champion Iva Majoli would captain the Croatian Fed Cup team. Good luck with all that…Venus Williams pulled from the WTA event in Auckland, still dealing with the Sjogren’s syndrome that has knocked her out of competition since the US Open.
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Nadal in Barcelona, Sharapova in Stuttgart; ATP/WTA Previews
Serena Williams: If Djokovic Completes “Novak Slam”, He Can Join My Club And We’ll Be Best Friends