Sharapova signs three-year sponsorship deal with Samsung
World No. 2 Maria Sharapova has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Samsung Electronics Co., according to her agent Max Eisenbud of IMG, as reported by Danielle Rossingh of Bloomberg News. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The agreement for the world’s highest-paid female athlete covers her native Russia and the Commonwealth of the Independent States. The deal started on April 1 and covers Samsung products including mobile phones, tablet computers, and television sets. “Maria really hasn’t been marketed that much in Russia,” said Eisenbud to Rossingh “It’s important to her because that’s where her roots are. I also felt that was a really untapped market, with the 2014 Sochi Olympics coming up.” Sharapova, who earns roughly $25 million per year according to Forbes Magazine, also endorses companies including Nike, Swiss luxury watch brand Tag Heuer, jeweler Tiffany & Co., and Evian water.
(Source: Danielle Rossingh for Bloomberg News, Maria Sharapova Signs Three-Year Sponsorship Deal With Samsung)
2012 Sony Ericsson Open boasts another record year
The 2012 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami concluded on a high note last weekend, recording 14 sellouts over the course of the two-week tournament. The overall attendance for the tournament this year was 326,131, surpassing last year’s mark of 316,267. Other exciting stories making news during the event included the March 30 announcement by Sony Mobile Communications that starting in 2013, the tournament will be known as the Sony Open. The name reflects the company’s new brand and name after Sony Ericsson became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony in February of this year. “The Sony Open tennis tournament enables us to introduce Sony’s XperiaTM smartphones to a broad and influential consumer audience in the areas of sports and entertainment,” said Stephan Croix, VP, Head of Marketing Creation at Sony Mobile Communications. “The tournament is a perfect platform to bring the excitement of Sony’s connected entertainment experiences to athletes, fans and consumers and offer them an opportunity to get their hands on the latest Sony products.” Also, the tournament added a $1 million upgrade to the player areas inside the stadium including doubling the size of the locker rooms, creating new lounge areas and enlarging the Player Dining area and Player Lounge. “It’s unbelievable,” said Petra Kvitova, currently ranked No. 3 and the 2011 Wimbledon Champion. “There are lots of new things, including a very nice locker room. We are really happy and it’s more comfortable for us.” For the third year in a row, the Sony Ericsson Open sold out of its 403 hotel packages. Overall more than 14,700 room nights were booked directly through the tournament. Known as a global event, the Sony Ericsson Open credentialed more than 500 media members from 32 countries.
USTA announces changes to National Junior Tournament Structure
According to a press release, the USTA recently announced a series of reforms to the National Junior Tournament Schedule designed to make the system more efficient, effective and affordable for current players and those who will enter the pipeline through the association’s 10 and Under Tennis initiative. The new system also aims to foster more local and sectional competition as well as fortify two historically important elite national championships in the summer—the USTA National Clay Court Championships and USTA National Championships. The new structure aligns the Junior Tournament Schedule with the current USTA Player Development philosophy and goals for training and competition. The changes were proposed by the USTA National Junior Competition Committee after more than a year of research. The amendments received overwhelming support from the USTA Executive Committee (comprised of the 17 USTA section delegates, the USTA board of directors, presidential appointees and past presidents of the USTA) at the USTA Annual Meeting held earlier this month. “The changes to the Junior Tournament Schedule were not taken lightly; they were heavily researched and well-vetted, ensuring we proceed down the right path to develop future world-class players as well as lifelong players and fans,” said Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “These changes are part of our overall long-term strategy to grow tennis in the United States and make sure tennis is the sport of opportunity for everyone regardless of their socio-economic background or geographic location. With more kids coming into the sport through 10 and Under tennis, this new calendar will make sure that there are more opportunities for kids to compete locally, translating to lower travel expenses and less time away from school.” The majority of the changes will take effect in two years. Changes to the schedule include converting the USTA National Winter Championships to a team event in 2014, eliminating the USTA National Spring Championships in 2014 to avoid a major national championship being contested during the school year, create more local player opportunities and enhance the standing of current flagship national events – the USTA National Clay Court and USTA National Championships, and the creation of more local competitive match play opportunities while reducing the expense and time of travel through new regional events. For more information about the changes, please visit www.usta.com/juniorcompetition.
2012 USTA Tennis on Campus National Championship set for April 12-14 in North Carolina
On Tuesday, the USTA announced that co-ed intramural and sport club tennis teams representing 64 colleges and universities across the country have qualified for the 2012 USTA Tennis on Campus National Championship, which will be played from April 12-14 in Cary, N.C. “The Tennis On Campus National Championship is the most exciting and successful recreational college tennis event in the country – providing an over the top socially-competitive experience for college teams both big and small,” said Glenn Arrington, National Manager, USTA Tennis On Campus. “For the players who compete in this tournament, the experience is rewarding, memorable and helps define their college experience.” First-time qualifiers for the tournament include teams from Columbia University, Davidson College, Purdue University, Tulane University, University of Cincinnati and Washington State University. Schools slated to participate in the event once again include Arizona State University, Auburn University, Boston College, Brown University, Cornell University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Indiana University, Marquette University, Ohio State University, Stanford University, Stony Brook University, UCLA, University of Arizona, University of California-Irvine, University of Central Florida, University of Colorado, University of Florida, University of Iowa, University of Maryland-College Park, University of Oklahoma, University of Oregon, University of Pennsylvania, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California, University of Virginia, Villanova University and Western Washington University.
Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program Celebrates 40 Years of Service in 2012
This year, the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program are celebrating 40 years of service. HJTEP’s year-long celebration kicks off with a Celebrity Pro Am on Monday, May 7 at the celebrated USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Matches begin at 2 p.m. with tennis champions John McEnroe, Patrick McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake, Justin Gimelstob, Gigi Fernandez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Zina Garrison, Chanda Rubin and others, pairing with amateur players. The finals will be played on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Followed by cocktails and dinner at 6 p.m. with music, silent and a live auction, this exceptional event brings together tennis greats, celebrities, and donors, supporting HJTEP’s community services. Premium auction items include autographed player memorabilia, US Open President’s box tickets, fine dining at local restaurants, Grand Slam packages, resort and spa packages, and much more. “Our fundraiser is significant because it brings everyone together who believes in and supports our program. Current participants and alumni, donors, and tennis greats all inspire each other,” said Katrina Adams, HJTEP Executive Director. “When all of these people come together for a worthy cause, great things can happen. We are very excited about our 40th Anniversary celebration as we look forward to the support of the Harlem community and the Tri-State area, to insure our future.” For more information about the gala or to make a donation, please call (212) 491-3738, email email@example.com or visit www.hjtep.org. The Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program (HJTEP) is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization. The mission is to bring the values to be learned through tennis to youth from high risk, low income inner-city neighborhoods and to offer opportunities for self- development, while highlighting education and a positive code of behavior.
Futures Tennis Aces to face off on April 14 at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
The Longines Futures Tennis Aces tennis tournament, which features 16 of the top female junior tennis players in the Northeast, will take place on Saturday, April 14 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. The champion of the one-day qualifying tournament will earn a trip to Paris, France to compete against qualifiers from 16 other nations for the opportunity to earn financing for her tennis equipment through her 16th birthday and a special chance to hit with tennis Hall of Famer legend Steffi Graf on the historic red-clay courts at Roland Garros. Longines and the 22-time Grand Slam singles champion Graf hand selected the participants for next weekend’s tournament. This program aims to aid in the development of the sport in America as the United States continues to struggle to develop the next world tennis superstar. There are currently only nine American women ranked in the Top 100. At the conclusion of play in Paris, Longines will present a check for $100,000 to the two foundations of its ambassadors: The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and Graf’s Children for Tomorrow.
Johan Kriek Tennis Academy moving to Charlotte
The Johan Kriek Tennis Academy founded by former world No. 7 and two-time Australian Open champion Johan Kriek, will move from its current location in Roanoke, Va., to Charlotte. “It’s 100 percent now – we’re coming,” said Kriek. “I’ve always liked Charlotte and have some connections there and I think this academy is something the tennis community in Charlotte could really use.” The 54-year-old Kriek will partner with the Charlotte Indoor Tennis Club in south Charlotte and run an elite junior tennis academy there that will teach around 24-32 students. The monthly fee for each athlete in the program will range from $1,400 – $1,600. The South African native, who earned wins over John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors during his professional career, has a long history of playing in Charlotte. In 1994, he played World TeamTennis for the local franchise and in the 1980s was a regular winner of an annual exhibition tournament at Olde Providence Racquet Club. The academy in Charlotte will mark the third try in five years that Kriek has tried to establish a prestigious tennis academy. He had one for three years in Sarasota, Fla., before establishing and relocating the academy to Roanoke 18 months ago. Kriek and his family will relocate to Charlotte in May.
Tennis Channel to re-air 100 Greatest of all Time in its entirety on Saturday, April 7
Tennis Channel plans to air two encore showings of its countdown series 100 Greatest of all Time Presented by Ally Bank on Saturday, April 7. The five-episode special, which ranked the 100 best tennis players of all time, male or female, will run in its entirety from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST and again from 7 p.m. – midnight. The Tennis Channel series originally aired from March 19-23. Roger Federer was revealed during the special as the No. 1 best player in the history of tennis. Rod Laver was selected as the second greatest tennis player, while Steffi Graf was third and Martina Navratilova was fourth. Pete Sampras, a 14-time Grand Slam champion rounded out the Top 5 at No. 5.
Tickets on Sale for 2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London
The ATP announced on Tuesday that tickets are currently on sale for the 2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which will be held at The O2 in London from November 5-12. You can purchase your tickets today by visiting www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.
Roddick to participate in AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club in London
Former world No. 1 and three-time Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick will return to Queen’s Club in London from June 11-17 to participate in the AEGON Championships. The American, who won the title at Queen’s Club in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007, will be hoping to capture his fifth title on the historic grass courts just days before the start of Wimbledon. “I love coming back to the Queen’s Club,” said Roddick. “There’s so much history there and it’s one of my favorite tournaments on the Tour. It’s hard to believe I’ve won a tournament as strong as the AEGON Championships four times and I’d love to win it again.” Roddick joins Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro as early entrants into the field.
Hewitt commits to Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport
Former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt has committed to play in this year’s Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, which will be played from July 9-15 on the historic grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. “With his tenacity on court and aggressive playing style, Lleyton always brings a great energy to a tournament. We look forward to welcoming him back to Newport for what is sure to be a great week,” said Mark L. Stenning, Tournament Director. This summer will mark Hewitt’s second appearance in Newport, having reached the second round in 1998. In addition to Hewitt, players set to compete in this year’s tournament include John Isner, Milos Raonic and Bob and Mike Bryan. Tickets for the tournament are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.tennisfame.com or by calling (866) 914-3263.
Babolat and Tsonga give back to Greater Miami Tennis Community
Babolat, the leading tennis equipment manufacturer, and sponsored Babolat player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga hosted a special event during the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami to celebrate the Greater Miami Tennis & Education Foundation (GMTEF). The spectacular event included a special donation from Babolat of junior-specific products including racquets and footwear along with tennis balls to support GMTEF’s programs for children. Tsonga, a quarterfinalist at this year’s Sony Ericsson Open, presented a donation on behalf of Babolat to representatives of GMTEF and an audience of kids participating in its Adopt-A-Player program. Following presentation, kids had the opportunity to meet Tsonga and play mini-tennis with him. The Greater Miami Tennis & Education Foundation has served over 33,000 youth from economically and socially challenged communities in Miami-Dade County since its inception in 1974. Its programs educate youth on the game of tennis and valuable life skills by establishing a pathway from beginner through competitive levels for junior players.
Taylor Townsend to turn pro this year
Fifteen-year-old Taylor Townsend announced that she plans to turn pro this year. Currently ranked No. 2 in International Tennis Federation Junior Rankings, Townsend plans to play a full slate of top junior tournament before turning pro. The American is currently competing in the USTA International Spring Championships, then will play the Easter Bowl, the juniors at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, then officially turn pro. “This was just all part of the plan,” said Townsend. “They are in States and I can get the ITF points I need to be No. 1. Plus, these are my last few junior tournaments so I want to go out and enjoy it.” Townsend is currently coached by former WTA Tour star Kathy Rinaldi. She trains at the USTA Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., and also occasionally trains near her home at the Racquet Club of the South in Norcorss, Ga.
Kovacs to lead Professional Tennis Registry Sport Science Committee
Professional Tennis Registry President Jorge Andrew has appointed Dr. Mark Kovacs to chair the organization’s new Sport Science Committee. Kovacs, a former All-American and NCAA Doubles Champion while playing collegiate tennis at Auburn, has been a presenter at the PTR International Tennis Symposium for the past five years, including in 2012 when he was the highest rated speaker with his Teaching the Serve – An 8 Stage Model to Improve Power, Spin and Placement. Last month, Kovacs was presented the Educational Merit Award from the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Canadian Rebecca Marino to take extended break from competing on WTA Tour
Canadian Rebecca Marino, a former Top 40 player, has decided to take an extended break and has not announced a specific return date. Marino has not competed since losing in her opening round match in Memphis in February. “Earlier this year, after suffering from intense physical and mental fatigue, I decided to pull out of some events and take a bit of a break to rest and return stronger,” Marino said in a statement. “As the days went by and became weeks, I realized I would need more than just a few days to fully recover. I have decided to do what’s best for my career and make sure I am fully rested before I return to the courts. Once I’m ready to come back, I plan to pick up where I left off, get my ranking back and challenge the best players in the world.” Marino is currently ranked No. 140 in the world.