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Lagardere hit by major write-down losses related to sports marketing division

Andy Roddick in action in Indian Wells, California (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Paris-based Lagardere reported a net loss of $707 million (EU) compared to net income of $163 million (EU) in 2011 largely because of a major write-down loss related to its sports marketing division, Lagardere Unlimited. The loss in the sports division reported losses of $895 million (EU), of which $550 million (EU) was from Lagardere Unlimited and a $310 million (EU) charge on its 20 percent stake in Canal Plus, the French pay-TV group. The group has blamed the steady decline in the economy and poor prospects of Lagardere Unlimited for the charge. The sports unit has been in several costly litigations with the Board of Control for Cricket in India in connection with cricket rights. Further, the media group has also suffered from the non-renewal of a handful of contracts, including the French Football Federation. “If one puts to one side the ‘accident’ of sport, the group overall did well in 2011,” said Arnaud Lagardere, the company’s Chief Executive.

USTA awards $900,000 in grants to grow youth tennis

According to a press release, the United States Tennis Association just announced that 18 communities across the country will receive a $50,000 grant as part of its efforts to get more kids playing tennis. The contribution will be distributed over a three-year period to build new and adapt current tennis courts to accommodate 10 and Under Tennis, as well as support new programs. 10 and Under Tennis provides the opportunity to achieve immediate success by playing tennis on smaller courts, using smaller and lighter racquets and slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls. In total, the USTA will disperse $900,000 in grants to support its youth initiative and fund tennis programs. Community officials will work with the USTA to ensure that local organizers have the proper techniques and skills to implement this new method of teaching tennis to kids. The USTA and its USTA Sections will be working with partners, such as schools, public parks, youth organizations, tennis facilities, and pros to incorporate tennis into physical education classes, after-school programs and other youth programs to drive participation. Communities earning the grants in 2012 include Atlanta (East and West), Birmingham, Ala., Bayamon/San Juan, Puerto Rico, Honolulu, Hawaii, Jacksonville, Fla., Jackson, Miss., Lee County, Fla., Metro Phoenix East Valley, Ariz., Mobile, Ala., Northern Albany, N.Y., Northern Colorado, Pensacola, Fla., Richmond, Va., San Francisco, Calif., Salt Lake City, Seattle and Springfield, Mass. “We are excited to be working with the local tennis leaders in these communities to help introduce the game to more kids,” said Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “We believe tennis is the sport of opportunity that provides a lasting effect on the lives of children.”

Vince Spadea’s “Play Like A Pro” 6-DVD Tennis Instructional Series now available for Pre-Order

Former Top 20 ATP World Tour star Vince Spadea has created an exceptional 6-DVD Tennis Instructional Series called “Play Like A Pro” which is now available for pre-order for just $129.95. Spadea, who earned victories over tennis stars including Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Marat Safin, Patrick Rafter and James Blake in a career that started in 1993, shares his remarkable insight and experience with you in the 6-DVD collection. In the series, Spadea shares his vast knowledge as a player and coach to personally teach you all the proper techniques, mechanics and strategies for improving your consistency and shot making skills. Spending most of the year in Los Angeles personally teaching high profile clients including sports figures and celebrities including rock singer Gavin Rossdale, Spadea also spends time in his hometown of Boca Raton, where he can frequently be seen on the courts at Mar-A-Lago, one of Donald Trump’s properties in Palm Beach, Fla. To learn more about Spadea’s “Play Like A Pro” DVD series or to order, please visit www.vincespadeadvds.com.

Turnberry Isle Miami Resort offers a two-day Grand Slam event featuring tennis legend Fred Stolle

For just $250 per person, tennis fans in Miami for next week’s Sony Ericsson Open can play tennis and mingle with 18-time Grand Slam champion Fred Stolle at The Turnberry Isle Miami Resort from March 23-25. The fun-filled weekend will include a pro-am round robin and meet & greet at 5 p.m. on Friday followed by a wine and cheese reception. Then on Saturday, tennis enthusiasts will have the opportunity to enjoy a two-hour group clinic followed by an organized match-play event that begins at 9 a.m. A tennis drill and open play session on Sunday will round out this once-in-a-lifetime experience. By submitting the $250 fee to participate, you will have the opportunity be included in all the tennis activities with Stolle, enjoy unlimited court time throughout the weekend, a wine and cheese reception and save 30 percent at the Tennis Pro Shop. Spaces are limited for this event and reservations are required in advance by calling (305) 933-6925 or by emailing Elisabeth Cusack at ecusack@turnberryislemiami.com.

adidas launches micoach Tennis

Last week, adidas launched micoach Tennis, bringing together the digital and physical world in ways never imaginable in an iOS app. Visualize your speed stats collected by the miCoach SPEED_CELL, a device that sits inside a cavity of the adipower barricade 7.0 tennis shoes or clips onto your laces to measure your speed, rallies and distance from every direction covered during your tennis matches or training sessions. World famous tennis star Andrea Petkovic of Germany will take you through a sports experience unlike any other. Experience the training system professional tennis players use to stay at the top of their game. Share and compare your tennis stats with your friends or the entire world via Facebook, Twitter or email, and get in-game rewards for your real-life workouts. Send them to micoach.com where they will be compared with stats from tennis players from all over the world. miCoach SPEED_CELL is for smartphone, tablet, PC or MAC available for $70 at adidas Sport Performance stores or shopadidas.com.

Kuerten to be inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame on July 14 in Newport

Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten, a former world No. 1 and three-time French Open singles champion, has been elected to receive the highest honor in tennis, induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., on Saturday, July 14. Recognized as one of Brazil’s most famous and successful athletes in history, Kuerten’s induction was announced last week in a special ceremony in São Paulo at the offices of Banco do Brasil, a long-time sponsor of the former tennis champion. “During my career in tennis I was fortunate to have many victories, but the Hall of Fame induction is a special one,” said Kuerten. “I was inspired by lots of great tennis players, like Maria Esther Bueno and Thomas Koch, two of the biggest Brazilian tennis players, and I have also always greatly admired Hall of Famers including Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, and Agassi. To be honored in the same category as those great players is amazing. Probably one of my greatest accomplishments was being able to get Brazilians excited about tennis, and to elevate attention for Brazil as a tennis nation. I’m so happy to be able to celebrate this honor here in Brazil with the people who supported my career, and I look forward to the induction celebration in the United States in July.” Kuerten compiled a 358-195 record while competing on the ATP World Tour, including winning 20 singles and eight doubles titles. Earning more than $14.8 million in tournament prize money throughout his career, Kuerten played his last professional match in 2008 at Roland Garros where he lost to Paul-Henri Mathieu in front of 15,000 fans. During the match, Kuerten wore the same blue and yellow outfit he wore in 1997 when he captured his first Roland Garros title. The 35-year-old has been elected in the Recent Player Category. Additional members of the Class of 2012, who were previously announced, include Spanish tennis great Manuel Orantes, in the Master Player Category; tennis administrator and promoter Mike Davies in the Contributor Category; and Randy Snow, who has been elected posthumously in the Recent Player Category for his accomplishments as a wheelchair tennis player. The remainder of the Class of 2012 will be announced in the month ahead. “King of the clay courts, Guga was one of the most popular players of his era, and he achieved tremendous success during a time when some of the greatest players in history were active, including Hall of Famers Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and Michael Chang,” said Christopher Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Enshrinee Nominating Committee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, I extend sincere congratulations to Guga on this well-deserved honor. We look forward to celebrating with him and all of the Class of 2012 inductees in July.”

2012 World TeamTennis schedule released

The 2012 World TeamTennis Pro League schedule kicks off on Monday, July 9, with the defending champion Washington Kastles hoping to continue their 16-match winning streak that started last summer, as they face off against the Orange County Breakers in Irvine, Calif. WTT officials just last week released the 59-match schedule for the three-week regular season of the WTT Pro League presented by GEICO, which runs July 9-28 and concludes with the WTT Finals Weekend from September 14-16 in Charleston, S.C. One of the most highly anticipated matches this summer will see former world No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Hingis lead the New York Sportimes into a match against seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams and the Kastles on Monday, July 23 SECFU Arena at the University of Albany in Albany, N.Y. The two former top-ranked WTA stars faced each other 21 times while on tour, with Hingis holding an 11-10 edge. Hingis is expected to play at least 10 of the Sportimes’ 14 matches, including five at the Sportimes’ regular home venue Sportime Stadium at Randall’s Island in New York, N.Y., and matches in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Albany. Venus will also play in Washington, D.C. on July 24, two days after sister Serena’s only WTT match of the season on July 22, also in the nation’s capital. Lindsay Davenport, a former world No. 1 and winner of 55 career singles titles including three Grand Slams, will be playing most of her 2012 schedule close to her home base in Southern California with the Orange County Breakers in Irvine, Calif. Davenport missed the entire 2011 season due to pregnancy. The former American star will play all seven Breakers’ home matches at Bren Events Center on the campus of UC Irvine, and will travel to play matches in Sacramento, Springfield and Boston. World No. 8 Mardy Fish will play home matches for the Sacramento Capitals on July 12 and 13. Former four-time University of Georgia All-American John Isner will return to the Boston Lobsters this summer for two matches, July 23 at home against the Philadelphia Freedoms, and July 24 in Albany against the Hingis-led Sportimes. Australian Mark Philippoussis, who was the top overall pick in last month’s Marquee Player Draft, will be in action on July 25 in Philadelphia then leads his Freedoms out west against Sacramento on July 27 and Orange County on July 28. For a full schedule and list of marquee player dates, visit www.WTT.com.

Ljubicic to retire next month at Monte Carlo Rolex Masters

Former world No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia announced his plans to retire at the conclusion of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters in April. The 33-year-old has had a very successful professional career, winning over 400 career singles matches, including 10 ATP World Tour singles titles. He also won the Davis Cup for Croatia in 2005, as well as a bronze medal in doubles with Mario Ancic at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Throughout his career that started in 1998, Ljubicic earned victories over noteworthy players including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Gael Monfils, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Gustavo Kuerten, Marat Safin and Carlos Moya. “It’s never an easy decision for any professional athlete to retire,” said Ljubicic. “I look forward to the next stage of my life. Tennis has given me so much and I want to continue to stay involved and contribute in some ways.”

Petrova confirms U.S. citizenship application

Russia’s Nadia Petrova, who currently owns a home in Miami, confirms that she has applied for U.S. citizenship. The 29-year-old WTA Tour veteran says she feels very comfortable living in America, specifically South Florida. “I like the lifestyle. I like the weather. It’s just a perfect place for tennis,” said Petrova. “Everything’s so easy. You just come, you need to go to the pharmacy, drug store, it’s 24 hours open. Everything is here just for the people, you know. I just feel very comfortable here, relaxed atmosphere, and I don’t have to stress. I don’t have that crazy traffic like it is in Russia. I don’t have those cold winters.”

Sock faces the possibility of three months off ATP World tour

American teenager and world No. 334 Jack Sock, who won the 2011 US Open Mixed Doubles title with Melanie Oudin, may have a tear in his groin, and could miss up to several months on tour. Following his first round loss at the BNP Paribas Open, Sock received an MRI that happened to reveal a tear, but his personal physician wants him to have another one done this week on the east coast, so he is clear on how to proceed with the possible injury.

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About Justin Cohen
Justin Cohen is a graduate of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Specialization in Journalism and was a member of the varsity tennis team, where he and his teammates finished as the runner-up at the 2006 NCAA Division II Men’s Tennis Championships. Justin began writing his weekly column, “This Week in Tennis Business with Justin Cohen” in July 2009. The following month, he covered the ATP/WTA Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open in Cincinnati, Ohio interviewing most of the top ranked players in the world. A lifelong tennis enthusiast who has enjoyed traveling to many professional tennis tournaments, Justin has much experience in the tennis industry. Previously, he worked at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in Princeton, New Jersey, and also completed summer internships in ticket sales at the ATP/WTA Tour Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open in Cincinnati and in marketing at the Tennis Channel in Los Angeles.

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