Home » HEADLINES AND FEATURES, This Week in Tennis Business with Justin Cohen, Top Stories » 2010 US OPEN ARTWORK SURFACES, GEICO BECOMES WTT PRESENTING SPONSOR: THIS WEEK IN TENNIS BUSINESS




By: Justin Cohen

  • The official artwork of the 2010 US Open has surfaced to the public (see photo) as tickets for the 2010 US Open tennis championships have been on sale to the public for just over two weeks. For ticket information, go to www.USOpen.org.
  • World Team Tennis announced that GEICO will be the presenting sponsor of the 2010 WTT Pro League. Since 2005, GEICO has been the official auto insurance sponsor of the WTT Pro League and presenting sponsor of the WTT Coaches Challenge. GEICO will now be extending its role with the WTT as the presenting sponsor and will have league-wide branding and signage initiatives including baseline signage, net post covers, umpire boxes, instant replay boxes and LED screen. “We applaud World Team Tennis for putting together a unique program that challenges players and entertains fans,” said Rynthia Rost, GEICO Vice President.  “We see how WTT inspires people to be connected to the sport and enjoy the competition.  We’re delighted to once again take part in the upcoming WTT season.” The WTT Pro League regular season kicks off on July 5 in ten cities with the finals being played in Kansas City on July 25. Serena and Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis, John McEnroe, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters, Anna Kournikova, Michael Chang and Bob and Mike Bryan are all slated to participate in the WTT Pro League this summer.
  • Via Twitter from TennisReporters, former American player Jan-Michael Gambill allegedly owes more than 1.7 million dollars in delinquent federal taxes.
  • AT&T and Tennis Channel announced the addition of Tennis Channel to the U-verse® television line up. Tennis Channel is available on channel 660 and 1660 (high definition) in the AT&T U450 package, as well as The Sports Package. Plans are in full gear for a distribution expansion across multiple AT&T screens, including AT&T mobile and U-verse online services. “We’re proud to bring the Tennis Channel to AT&T customers. It’s a great addition to the U-verse TV channel lineup and our Sports Multiview app,” said Dan York, the President of Content at AT&T. “This deal helps us with important strategic content initiatives and gives our U-verse TV customers access to even more exciting sports content, and in thrilling HD.”
  • The USTA Player Development has announced the hiring of Argentine Diego Moyano as their new Clay-Court Specialist coach. Moyano, who will be based at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., will assist in coaching and training programs designed specifically for clay court play. Moyano, who played professionally from 1997-2005 and reached a career best ATP ranking of No. 130 in 2000, will report to Jose Higueras.
  • Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been re-elected to the ATP World Tour Players Council. Novak Djokovic was not re-elected, while Sam Querrey and Nenad Zimonjic were the newly appointed members.
  • The Bank of the West Classic from July 26-August 1 at Stanford University’s Taube Family Tennis Stadium will feature 11 of the top 27 seeds from this year’s Wimbledon. Samantha Stosur, Agnieszka Radwanska, Marion Bartoli, Shahar Peer, Yanina Wickmayer, Maria Sharapova, Zheng Jie, Vera Zvonareva, Daniela Hantuchova, Alisa Kleybanova and Maria Kirilenko will all compete in Palo Alto during the Olympus US Open Series event.
  • The Cowboy Tennis Classic at the new Cowboy Stadium in Dallas has been cancelled. No reason was given for the cancellation of the July 10 exhibition matches that were to feature Andy Roddick, John Isner, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. All tickets will be refunded according to a statement.
  • Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla., has become the presenting sponsor of “World Tennis with Harry Cicma” which can be seen on the New England Sports Network (NESN). The final three shows in July, August and September, will be hosted from the official site of the Saddlebrook Resort and will feature interviews with top players that train at the resort. The “World Tennis with Harry Cicma” deal with Saddlebrook was brokered and negotiated by Leverage Agency Chief Executive Ben Sturner. Leverage Agency (www.LeverageAgency.com) is a top five sports marketing agency with headquarters in New York City. Other sponsors of the 2010 season of the show include Tournagrip (www.uniquesports.com), Ace Authentic (www.aceauthentic.com), Grand Slam Tennis Tours (www.GrandSlamTennisTours.com), the International Tennis Hall of Fame (www.tennisfame.com), Morfit Performance fitness apparel (www.MorfitPerformance.com), the Peter Kaplan Tennis Academy (www.WesthamptonTennis.com), State Ultra Lounge (www.StateUltraLounge.com) and New Chapter Media (www.NewChapterMedia.com.)
  • Justine Henin’s brother, Thomas, faces one year in prison after being convicted of embezzlement and fraud in Belgium. He was recently sentenced to two years in prison with one of those years suspended after he was busted for stealing 200,000 Euros from a bank he worked at 10 years ago. Henin’s other brother, David, is also alleged to have benefited from the crime and might be slapped with 300 hours of community service.
  • Following his opening round straight set loss to Robin Haase at Wimbledon, 30-year-old James Blake said he experienced more pain in his knee that has caused him troubles recently and will consider retiring from the ATP World Tour if the problem continues. “If it doesn’t get better soon, I’m not sure how much longer I want to play in pain,” said Blake. “It was feeling great in Eastourne, and then had a little setback.” The former Top 10 player said he will see how the injury holds up throughout the summer.  “If (the option) is continuing to play in pain, I’ll reassess after the Open and see if I want to continue that. If I need to, after the Open, take the rest of the year off and then see if I can start fresh in 2011.”
  • Thomas Muster, a former world No. 1 and 1995 Roland Garros champion, will come out of retirement at the age of 42 and play on the ATP Challenger circuit. “I never formally retired, as I said after that match I would go on a holiday,” said Muster. “So now I am just returning from my holiday.” He will play his first challenger at Braunschweig in Germany in two weeks.
  • The Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I., is having a special ticket offer through June 26 for the only professional grass court tournament played in the United States. Buy two tickets for the finals on Sunday, July 11 and receive an autographed picture of top seeded American Sam Querrey. Tickets for the tournament, which will be played from July 5-11, can be ordered online at tennisfame.com or by calling 866-914-3263. American Rajeev Ram is the defending singles champion.Georgia Tech’s Irina Falconi and University of Southern California’s Robert Farah were named the 2010 Campbell’s/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National College Players of the Year on Tuesday. The award is given annually to one male and one female singles player who has had the most outstanding year in college tennis. Falconi and Farah will be recognized at the 2010 International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on July 10 in Newport, R.I., during the ATP World Tour Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. Former ITA National Player of the Year winners include James Blake, Amer Delic, Bob Bryan, MaliVai Washington, Lisa Raymond, Jill Craybas and Laura Granville.



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