By Liz Kobak
Federer Delivers New Tennis Agency
Big shot tennis players co-founding sports management agencies is becoming in vogue.
As reported by Christopher Clarey in the New York Times, Switzerland’s most prized athlete Roger Federer, his longtime agent Tony Godsick and two American investors recently formed Team8 agency.
The Cleveland-based company that Godsick spearheads will represent 17-time Grand Slam Champion Federer and other top-earning ATP tour athletes. Team8 has also signed one of the Swiss man’s main rivals, world No. 5 Juan Martín del Potro of Argentina. This unifying decision came after Federer spent time with del Potro during a South America exhibition tour last year. Rising Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, whom tennis experts view as a potential Grand Slam champion, confirmed via email that he is joining Team8 on Jan. 1, 2014.
“We’re trying to be a boutique agency that will manage just a small stable of iconic athletes,” Godsick said to Clarey in a telephone interview from his firm’s new Pepper Pike, OH offices. “We’re really going to try to be selective here. Some of the other groups, they look to sign as many players as they can and hope a few of them stick and make it, and they really go after the juniors. We’re not going to.”
In addition, Godsick said Team8 was partially created to give Federer a platform when he retires.
“I can sell Roger Federer really well, but nobody sells Roger better than Roger,” Godsick said to Clarey. “I always joke with him, ‘Look, you’ve been really successful on the tennis court, but I promise you, you’ll be more successful when you’re done playing tennis.’ ”
In the meantime, Federer has been training and testing new rackets in Dubai. For now, he is a client rather than an active partner.
McEnroe, Connors, Lendl, Cash, Reprising Epic US Open
Pat Cash, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors will reprise their epic “Super Saturday” semifinal matches from the 1984 US Open at 2014 PowerShares Series tournaments in Nashville and Charlotte, InsideOut Sports & Entertainment announced on Wednesday.
“We are really looking forward to recreate these two match-ups from probably the greatest day in tennis history in Nashville and Charlotte 30 years after the original ‘Super Saturday’ at the US Open,” said Jon Venison, Partner at InsideOut Sports & Entertainment. “It will be two nights to remember, full of nostalgia with the competitive juices still flowing among four great champions who will look to rekindle their rivalries and settle some scores.”
Thirty years after their fabled semifinal confrontations at Flushing Meadows, Cash plays Lendl and McEnroe plays Connors in semifinal matches at the Champions Challenge on Wednesday, March 12 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., and again on Thursday, March 13 at the Champions Cup at the Time Warner Arena in Charlotte, N.C. Both events are part of the 12-city PowerShares Series tennis circuit for legend tennis players more than 30 years of age. Each one-night tournament features three matches: two one-set semifinal matches and then a one-set championship match.
Tickets for all PowerShares Series events start at $25 and are purchasable at www.PowerSharesSeries.com. Nashville and Charlotte tickets are available at www.TicketMaster.com, TicketMaster locations, at the arena box offices and by calling 800-745-3000. All event VIP packages are also available at PowerSharesSeries.com, by email (VIP@insideoutse.com), or by phone: 253.315.4299.
Chang Coaching No. 1 Japanese Player in 2014
Many tennis players use social media as a means of connecting with their fans.
Last Tuesday, ATP world tour No. 17 Kei Nishikori announced through his self-entitled Twitter handle and Facebook page that he has hired 1989 Roland Garros Singles Champion Michael Chang as his part-time coach next year.
“Excited to announce an addition to the team,” Nishikori’s page indicated below a photo of head coach Dante Bottini, Nishikori and Chang. “Michael Chang will join us in 2014. Dante will remain the full time coach. We have already spent the last [two] weeks working hard and are getting ready for 2014.”
That Facebook post garnered more than 80,000 likes and 150 Re-Tweets, giving the 2012 Australian Open quarter-finalist increased media attention leading into his most successful Grand Slam event. Nishikori has been training in California with Chang for the past few weeks. Chang is coaching Nishikori in 17-20 tournaments.
Cost Causes WTA Event’s End
The AP reported on Wednesday that the WTA’s Brussels Open has ended after three years due to staging expenses.
This clay-court tennis tournament was Roland Garros’ warm-up event, drawing top players like Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska and Marion Bartoli in times past.
“The current economic context and the ever-increasing investments to meet the demands of the WTA for the Premier label made it a difficult, near impossible task,” tournament officials said.
The 2013 edition, which offered players $250,000 in prize money, was plagued by bad spring weather and poor crowds. Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, WTA ranked No. 30, was the last victor.
USTA Chooses EdgeWave as 2013 US Open Network Security
Leading web and email security solutions company EdgeWave Inc. announced on Wednesday that its Advanced Web Gateway program successfully secured internet access and enforced USTA internet policies during this year’s US Open.
The US Open is one of the largest global sporting events, with more than720,000 media, athletes, partners and fans in attendance. As many individuals carry a laptop, tablet or smart phone, the USTA’s internet security team was challenged in providing an open network while enforcing internet policies such as blocking gambling sites.
“With an event of this magnitude, there are thousands of moving parts that can change at any moment,” said USTA CIO Larry Bonfante. “Working with EdgeWave prior to the US Open allowed the Advanced Web Gateway to run flawlessly and to meet operational requirements from the very start, giving us one less thing to worry about.”
EdgeWave and the USTA have already planned their 2014US Open partnership. The two parties expect that bandwidth and security requirements will increase next year.
Lisicki Scores More Sponsorships Leading into 2014 Season
German tennis superstar and 2013 Wimbledon Singles Finalist Sabine Lisicki recently signed endorsement deals with K-Active and Thomas Sabo, according to her management team.
The two new products Lisicki is brand ambassador for are quite different. K-Active produces pre-cut tape that nurses soreness and injuries, while Thomas Sabo is a German sterling silver jewelry and charm company. However, both brands encompass Lisicki’s lifestyle as she is active on the court and fashionable off it.
Lisicki’s K-Active and Thomas Sabo deals are just two of many she aced this year. In November, the world No. 15 became brand ambassador for car companies AdmiralDirekt.de and Peugeot.
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.