Navratilova and Davenport sign multi-year contract extensions with Tennis Channel
On Monday, tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport signed multi-year contract extensions with Tennis Channel. Navratilova, who won a record 167 singles titles during her career including 18 Grand Slam titles, will continue to be Tennis Channel’s lead match analyst during coverage in Melbourne. Davenport, who is a former world No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam singles champion, will be in Melbourne working as a sideline reporter for the first time. “I’ve enjoyed working with Tennis Channel during the past few years, and I’m excited to build on that relationship, starting with the Australian Open this month” said Davenport. The network has close to 30 hours of live match play lined up for the two-week competition, with 75 additional hours of the daily morning show Australian Open Today.
Mauresmo named Co-Director of WTA Open GDF SUEZ
Former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam singles champion Amelie Mauresmo has been named Co-Director of the Open GDF SUEZ, a WTA event held in Paris from February 5-13. The other Co-Director is Regis Brunet. Mauresmo won the Paris tournament three-times throughout her career including in 2009 when she beat recently retired Top 10 Russian Elena Dementieva.
Future location of French Open to be decided next month
After reviewing all the bids to host the French Open beginning in 2016, the French Tennis Federation said that they will announce the future location of the French Open sometime next month. Last year, French Tennis Federation officials said that they were considering relocating the only Grand Slam event played on clay-courts because it needed more space to remain competitive with the other three majors. On Saturday, a presentation of a location next to Versailles Castle was given to officials. The other three options include staying at an expanded Roland Garros venue, a site near Disneyland Paris in Marne-La-Vallee, and the town of Gonesse. The French Open has been played at the Roland Garros site since 1928. The current contract runs through 2015.
Final Australian Open main draw wildcards announced
On Tuesday, Australia’s Bernard Tomic and Carsten Ball were awarded the final two wildcards into the men’s main draw at the Australian Open in Melbourne, while Sally Peers and Sophie Ferguson received wildcards on the women’s side. Tomic, who previously won the junior Australian Open and US Open titles, won three consecutive matches in qualifying last weekend to make the main draw at this week’s Medibank International in Sydney. The 18-year-old, who resides in the Gold Coast of Australia, is currently ranked No. 209. Ball, who is based in California but is an Australian citizen, is a regular Davis Cup competitor for Australia. In 2010, Ball reached the second round in singles at the French Open and US Open and qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon. “These (wildcards) are always difficult decisions,” said Todd Woodbridge, Tennis Australia’s Head of Men’s Tennis. “We wanted to see players achieve some results, and Carsten has certainly done that throughout the year. Bernard is a talent but cannot be rewarded with a wildcard on that alone, nor should he ever expect that. He has not had much tennis and he missed the AO Play-off so the pressure was on him to perform, particularly after he did not play well in Brisbane. He had not done enough. He needed to produce something in Sydney and he has done that with three good wins. His tennis has now earned this wildcard.” Peers, a 19-year-old currently ranked No. 151, had a remarkable year in 2010. She qualified for the main draw in singles at the US Open where she lost in the second round to eventual champion Kim Clijsters. Later in the season, Peers won a gold medal in doubles with fellow Australian Anastasia Rodionova at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. Starting off the 2011 season, Peers notched her first win over a Top 50 player by knocking off Alisa Kleybanova in three sets at the Brisbane International. 24-year-old Sophie Ferguson of Sydney had an impressive year in 2010 as she qualified for the main draw at Roland Garros before losing in the second round to eventual champion Francesca Schiavone. Ferguson also qualified for WTA-level events in Ponte Vedra Beach, Charleston and Birmingham, England. Ferguson is currently ranked No. 123. “Congratulations to both Sally and Sophie on their Australian Open wildcards,” said Craig Morris, Tennis Australia’s Head of Women’s Tennis. “They are both well deserved. Sally has had a great year, with the highlight qualifying for the US Open and her first round win, as well having the chance to represent Australia and win gold in Delhi. Sophie has really improved throughout 2010 and I hope this will be a springboard into the top 100 in 2011.”
Ferrero withdraws from Australian Open
Former world No. 1 and 2003 French Open singles champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, who pulled out of this week’s Heineken Open in Auckland, has also withdrawn from next week’s Australian Open. The 30-year-old Spaniard is still recovering from wrist and knee surgery. The 2004 Australian Open semifinalist is currently ranked No. 29.
British hope withdraws from Australian Open and Fed Cup
Laura Robson, 16, has withdrawn from the Australian Open and Fed Cup with an adductor muscle tear. Robson will spend the next three weeks recovering in Paris.
Wilson Tennis goes Social Media wild at Australian Open
Attendees of the 2011 Australian Open in Melbourne will have the opportunity to get their picture taken on the Wilson Tennis couch and have it posted on the Wilson Tennis Facebook Page. Once the picture is taken, the fan will get the opportunity to select a Wilson Tennis player including Roger Federer, Venus Williams, Serena Williams or Justine Henin to sit on the couch next to them, digitally of course. All pictures will be displayed on www.facebook.com/wilsontennis. “Wilson is the #1 brand in tennis and we want to make sure that we are there for all the people who love our brand,” said Cory Springer, Wilson Global Business Director for Racquets. “We want to be accessible and interactive. It’s all about making it fun for everyone to be part of the Wilson team.” Wilson will host live UStream broadcasts through the tournament with player interviews, a behind the scenes look at the stringing room, inside the Wilson player service area and great Wilson giveaways. www.ustream.tv/wilsontennis.
Murray to play Davis Cup for Great Britain in 2011
After learning that participation in Davis Cup is required to play in the 2012 Olympics in London, Andy Murray announced that he will return to Davis Cup competition for Great Britain. Murray, who hasn’t played Davis Cup since 2009, must make himself available for at least two ties to be eligible for the Olympics. “I didn’t know about the Olympics situation until December, but I said to Leon (Smith, Davis Cup captain) before that I would be able to play and we should keep speaking,” Murray told the Daily Mail. “I will sit down and talk with him in Australia and see if he wants me to play in March or if it would be good for the other guys to have another match. I will definitely play, probably one or two (ties).”
USPTA announces new member credential
Starting on January 1, 2011, the United States Professional Tennis Association launched the Accredited Professional Coach classification, which is an opportunity to enhance current membership status. The classification is open to USPTA Professional 1, 2 and 3 members and Master Professionals. USPTA Professional members are required to take continuing education in order to earn and maintain APC status. Continuing education credits can be earned in a variety of ways, including attending educational presentations and viewing DVD seminars. For more information on earning and verification of credits, visit uspta.com and click on “Become a USPTA Accredited Professional Coach” in the blue box. The benefits of APC designation include opportunities for career enhancement through a commitment to tennis education and demonstration of expertise, and building the image of tennis-teaching professionals and tennis as a profession overall.