by Liz Kobak
Nadal Craves First Sony Open Crown
Since December 1, individual session 2014 Sony Open Tennis tickets have been on sale, serving tennis fans the opportunity to see Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal vie for his first Open title.
“I was very disappointed that I was not able to attend last year’s tournament and am looking forward to returning in 2014,” Nadal said. “I love to play in Miami because of its beautiful location and tremendous fans support. Miami is an international city, and the diverse crowds that attend the tournament create an unbelievable atmosphere. I am excited to see all my fans in Miami this year.”
After missing last year’s event due to doctor’s orders, world No. 1 and 14-time Grand Slam Champion Rafael Nadal returns to the purple courts in 2014 looking to claim his first Sony Open title. In 2013 Nadal recorded on of tennis’ greatest comeback seasons. After missing nearly seven months due to a knee injury, Nadal returned in February and posted 75-7 record, won 10 singles titles, including two Grand Slams and reclaimed his World No. 1 ranking.
The biggest names in music, entertainment and sports visit the Sony Open each spring. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kim Kardashian and Owen Wilson have attended in years past. Who knows how many more celebrities will be in the stands this year.
The 2013 Sony Open is held March 17-30 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center and features the world’s top players competing for one of tennis’ most prestigious titles. For more information on how to get your ticket, visit www.SonyOpenTennis.com or call the Sony Open ticket office: 305-442-3367.
A few WTA and ATP executives have either left or will leave their positions by the end of 2013, TENNIS.com recently reported.
Two WTA marketing and communications big wigs are calling it quits. WTA Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Walker abandons his post at the end of December after ten years as CMO but seeks to continue working within the sports industry. Former WTA CEO Larry Scott, who left for the Pac-12 college athletic conference, originally hired Walker. WTA Head of Communications Chris Wallace also recently left the tennis organization.
Daily Tennis is reporting that ATP World Tour Chief Player Officer and Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Tournament Director Andre Silva is leaving the ATP at the end of December to work with Roger Federer’s agent Tony Godsick. The Brazilian has been with the ATP since 2000. The organization recently hired CEO Chris Kermode, who worked with Silva at the ATP World Tour Finals. Kermode might want to bring in a new team, according to Daily Tennis.
Fed Cup, Davis Cup Tickets On Sale Friday
The USTA announced on Tuesday that United States’ 2014 Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round ties tickets are available to the general public on Friday, December 6.
Fed Cup First Round tickets versus reigning champion Italy at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium, February 8-9, go on sale at 10 a.m. EST. US Davis Cup First Round against Great Britain at San Diego’s Petco Park (Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2014) are on sale at noon. An exclusive pre-sale for USTA members begins on Wednesday, December 4, for both events (starting at 10 a.m. ET for Fed Cup, 10 a.m. PT for Davis Cup) and will continue through Thursday, December 5 (or while supplies last).
Davis Cup play begins on Friday, January 31, with two singles matches, featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the opposing country’s No. 2 player. Saturday’s schedule features an essential doubles match. The final day of play on Sunday showcases two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 competitors play each other and then the No. 2 players square off in the final match. The winner plays either Italy or Argentina in the quarterfinals, April 4-6.
Reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is expected to compete for Great Britain despite recovering from back injuries. The United States and Great Britain rivalry is the oldest in Davis Cup history, dating back to their first competition in 1900. The United States holds an 11-7 Davis Cup record against Great Britain, winning the last four ties.
On the women’s side, Fed Cup play begins on Saturday, February 8, with two singles matches followed by two reverse singles matches and the doubles match on Sunday. The match winner faces either Spain or the Czech Republic in the semifinals, April 19-20.
Tennis Channel is providing live daily Fed Cup and U.S. Davis Cup ties coverage. For both events’ ticket information, visit ticketmaster.com or call 888-334-USTA (8782).
Claro Leading Rio Open Title Sponsorship
South American telecommunications company Claro is officially the inaugural Rio Open’s title sponsor.
The Rio Open tennis event comprises the men’s ATP World Tour 500 and women’s WTA International schedules – the only simultaneous event on both tours’ South American calendars. The clay court tournament takes place Feb. 15-23, 2013 at Rio de Janeiro’s Brazilian Jockey Club. Rio replaces Memphis as an ATP World Tour 500 event, the third highest tier of tournaments in men’s tennis behind all four Grand Slams and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 series.
Competitors Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer have attracted many supporters. Tournament organizers said Peugeot, Correios, Raizen, Itau, Rolex, Asics, Xerox, Head, Corona and Universidade Estacio de Sa are proud Rio Open sponsors.
NEC Extending Wheelchair Tennis Masters Sponsorship
Japanese IT services company NEC renewed its International Tennis Federation title sponsorship agreement for the Wheelchair Tennis Masters tournament.
NEC, which has sponsored the Wheelchair Tennis Tour since its 1992 inception, will also continue as an official Tour partner in 2014.
As a follow-up to last month’s edition in Mission Viejo, California, the 2014 Wheelchair Tennis Masters is taking place at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London 2012 Paralympic tennis venue Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park November 24-30. UK charity the Tennis Foundation is hosting.
The Wheelchair Tennis Masters is the Tour’s end-of-year singles championship, featuring the top eight men and women players and top four quad athletes. Its 20th anniversary is next year.
Dunlop Kicking Off 2014 Diadora Footwear
Dunlop Sports Group Americas, manufacturer and distributor of Dunlop tennis racquets, balls and accessories, has reached an agreement with the Italian footwear brand Diadora.
Dunlop is slated to become Diadora’s exclusive premium tennis footwear distributor. The new product line begins shipping in January 2014.
“The partnership between Diadora and Dunlop is the result of the natural meeting of two of the greatest names in Sport, which have always dominated the Tennis industry,” said Diadora Sport President Enrico Moretti Polegato. “Diadora has made history with tennis, and some of the most iconic champions have worn it with pride, like Pat Cash, Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker and Ivan Ljubicic just to name a few. We are committed to continue on this path and to write – with our products -new pages of sport for many years to come.”
Under this new deal, sport company representatives have not yet announced which contemporary athletics will serve as brand ambassadors.
New Beverage Sponsoring ATP World Tour US Events
The ATP announced on Monday its Premier Partner Sponsorship branding strategy change. Starting in 2014, Michelob ULTRA will be featured at United States tournaments.
Michelob ULTRA’s benefits include net signage and all other on-site activations at the all ten United States ATP tournaments.
“As a global sports property that takes place across 61 tournaments in 30 different countries throughout the season, we have always prided ourselves on our ability to adapt and build specifically tailored meaningful programs for our partners on the ATP World Tour,” said ATP Commercial Director Laurent Delanney. “The integration of Michelob ULTRA within the U.S. market place demonstrates the type of flexibility we can bring to a multi-brand global partner of the ATP.”
Michelob ULTRA representatives are excited to expose their brand to a new audience.
“In the U.S., we are pleased to bring Michelob ULTRA fans unique access to world class tennis via the ATP World Tour, and we’re looking forward to unveiling our plans soon,” said Michelob ULTRA VP Lori Shambro.
Corona Extra remains the ATP World Tour’s premier global partner and will continue to be exclusively featured at non-US events.
Liz Kobak won the 2013 USTA National Women’s Open Singles Grass Court Championship. She is a 2010 Columbia University graduate and Northwestern University journalism master’s recipient. She is a former WTA ranked pro and #1 ranked United States junior tennis player who rates her 6-4, 6-1 win on Italian clay over Sara Errani as her best victory.