Home » HEADLINES AND FEATURES, This Week in Tennis Business with Justin Cohen, Top Stories » 2010 US Open One of the Most Successful Tournaments in History: This Week in Tennis Business

By Justin Cohen

  • On Tuesday, the USTA announced that the 2010 US Open was one of the most successful tournaments in history, as Rafael Nadal became the seventh male player in history to capture the career Grand Slam after beating Novak Djokovic in four sets to win the singles title on Monday. Just a couple days earlier, Kim Clijsters extended her winning streak in New York to 21-matches after capturing her third US Open title by defeating Vera Zvonareva in straight sets. Clijsters, who has won the US Open crown the last three years she has competed, earned $2.2 million in total prize money, which is tied for the biggest purse in women’s sports history, the same total she earned in 2005 after winning her first title at the US Open. For the fourth consecutive year, attendance topped 700,000 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, with an overall total of 712, 976 watching the final grand slam tournament of the year. USOpen.org, the official website of the tournament, exceeded 12.4 million unique visitors, which is the second highest in history, while total visits to the website reached more than 40 million for just the second time in tournament history. Throughout the tournament, the official Facebook fan page grew by 33 percent and since the conclusion of the 2009 tournament, it has grown 312 percent. The US Open official Twitter page grew by 51 percent over the two week tournament and by 158 percent since the conclusion of the 2009 tournament.
  • Mary Joe Fernandez’s contract as U.S. Fed Cup Captain has been extended through the 2012 season. In her first two seasons as captain, Fernandez has lead the team to the Fed Cup finals in back-to-back years for the first time since the United States won the titles in consecutive years in 1999 and 2000. Last season, the Americans lost on the road on clay to Italy but can get revenge in November when they host the same Italian team in San Diego on an indoor hardcourt. “For the first time in ten years, the U.S. has reached the finals of the Fed Cup in two consecutive years,” said Lucy S. Garvin, the USTA President and Chairman of the Board. “We are incredibly proud of Mary Joe Fernandez and what she has accomplished as the captain of the Fed Cup. She has the respect and the admiration of her team as well as the USTA. And I am very pleased to announce that the USTA is extending Mary Joe’s contract for 2011 and 2012. We are delighted that she is staying on board with us.”

    Rafael Nadal

  • Patrick McEnroe resigned as U.S. Davis Cup Captain after 10 seasons during a news conference at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, site of the US Open. McEnroe said that he was stepping down because he needed to focus his attention on his current position as General Manager of the Player Development Program at the USTA. McEnroe, who has a 16-9 record as Captain, will retain his captaincy through the upcoming tie between the U.S. and Colombia in Bogota from September 17-19. “It’s mixed emotions for me because of what Davis Cup has meant to me for 10 years, to the players that have supported it,” said McEnroe. “But I feel now is a good time for a transition. I can focus on my professional energies, player development and will obviously still be involved with the team, who plays, and supporting guys that are part of the team.”
  • FedEx Corporation, the world’s largest air-cargo carrier, has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the ATP World Tour, becoming a platinum sponsor. FedEx will sponsor 17 tournaments throughout 12 countries. The Memphis, Tenn., based company will get marketing rights and become the official carrier of the ATP World Tour.
  • Martina Hingis, who is possibly considering coming out of retirement to play doubles only on the WTA Tour, has signed a new multi-year deal with Yonex racquets.
  • The USTA announced that Wilson Racquet Sports has extended its support of the USTA and will continue as the official ball of the US Open in a new long-term deal. Throughout the world’s largest annual sporting event, more than 90,000 Wilson tennis balls are used. Under the terms of the new agreement, Wilson will provide a wide range of support for the USTA’s professional tennis and player development programs. “Wilson has been a tremendous partner of the USTA for more than thirty years, and this new agreement exemplifies their continued commitment to tennis,” said Lucy S. Garvin, Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA.  “Throughout our long partnership, the purchase of Wilson US Open products has directly funded—through its licensing royalties—the USTA’s mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis.”
  • The city of Charleston, S.C., was named the winner of the USTA’s “Best Tennis Town” for the year 2010 and was awarded with a check of $100,000 to be used towards community tennis programming or facility enhancements. After an online voting period from July 16 to July 26, Charleston beat out Atlanta, Ga., and Richmond, Va., to earn the title in the USTA’s second nationwide search for the best tennis community. Atlanta finished as first runner-up and won a $50,000 check from the USTA, while Richmond finished as second runner-up and earned a $25,000 check.
  • On September 7, new rules had been passed for 10-and-under tournaments in USTA sanctioned events and will take effect on January 1, 2012. The new rules will require that 10-and-under tournaments be played using slower-moving and lower-balls, on smaller courts and players must play with shorter, lighter racquets. “We’re very excited about what this change means to the future of tennis in the United States,” said Lucy S. Garvin, Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA, and Chairman of the US Open. “Competition is an important element of learning and growing the game, and now all children 10 and under will have the proper platform with which to compete.” The specifications for the revised rule says that all tournaments for those aged 9-10 be played on 60-foot courts using orange low compression tennis balls and regulation nets (3 feet at the center) or, for those more experienced and more skilled players, on 78-foot courts with green lower-compression balls. Tournaments for those 8 and under are to be played on 36-foot courts using red foam balls and nets at a height of 2 feet, 9 inches. “Competition is at the very heart of our sport,” said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. “And learning how to play tennis the right way, with the right strokes and the proper technique, is beneficial for kids both now and into the future, whether they pursue the game recreationally or at the very highest levels.”
  • Seven tennis facilities throughout the United States were honored during the 29th annual USTA Facility Awards Program, which recognizes excellence in construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities throughout the country. Libbey Park Tennis Complex in Ojai, Calif., and Palm Coast Tennis Center in Palm Coast, Fla., was the winners for the small public tennis centers (2-10 courts). Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education in Philadelphia was the winner in the large public tennis center (11 courts or more). Lakes Tennis Academy in Frisco, Texas and Courtside Club (USTA Featured Facility) in Los Gatos, Calif., was the winners for the private facilities. Gable Tennis Complex in Culver, Ind., and Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont, Calif., were the winners for the Educational Institutions. “These facilities have gone above and beyond to create a superior tennis experience for their patrons and community at large,” said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive of Community Tennis of the USTA.  “We are proud to honor each of their achievements and applaud their devotion to the sport.” Each facility was honored on September 5 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City at the USTA semiannual meeting during the meeting of the Technical Committee.
  • Paul Annacone, who was recently hired as Roger Federer’s full-time coach, has resigned from his position as head of men’s tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association effective immediately.
  • Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been re-elected as the President and Vice President of the ATP Player Council after a vote at the ATP players’ meeting at the US Open. The player council is made up of the following: Federer (President), Nadal (Vice President), Yves Allegro, Eric Butorac, Ashley Fisher, Fernando Gonzalez, Peter Luczak, Jarkko Nieminen, Sam Querrey, Nenad Zimonjic, Claudio Pistolesi (Coach), and Ignacio Hirigoyen (Alumni).
  • Serena Williams, who has not played since winning Wimbledon due to injury, told the Associated Press on Monday that she is back practicing again. The World No. 1 and 13-time Grand Slam singles champion, who missed the recent US Open in New York, hopes to return before the end of the season in time to play the Fed Cup final against Italy in November. “Hopefully sooner rather than later,” said Williams. “I really can’t wait to get back more than ever.”
  • Australian legend Ken Rosewall was honored at the US Open in the Court of Champions at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sunday when a plaque was unveiled paying tribute to his accomplishments to his US Open achievements. Rosewall won the US Championships in 1956 as an amateur and the US Open 14 years later in 1970 as a professional.
  • Aleskandra Wozniak will be sidelined for the rest of the season with an ongoing wrist injury. Wozniak lost in the opening round at the US Open to qualifier Sally Peers.

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