More people watching Wimbledon this year on ESPN than last year
During last year’s coverage of Wimbledon on ESPN, the network enjoyed an eight percent increase over its household audience through the first six days of marathon telecasts. After six days this year, the ESPN/ESPN2 presentation is up eight percent in household impressions to 569,000 homes compared to last year. ESPN/ESPN2 are even with last year’s ESPN2/NBC rating of 0.5 (US rating) to date. Nevertheless, the audiences for the key male demos are all seeing an advantage over last year — M18-34 is up 13 percent, M18-49 is up 20 percent, and M25-54 is up 11 percent. On Saturday, the ten-hour, ten-minute ESPN telecast (the third longest Wimbledon telecast ever, behind only an ESPN2 telecast in 2010 and Day One this year) – earned a 0.9 US rating, the best for the “middle Saturday” since 2007 (1.0). The ESPN coverage rating of 1.0 ties the ESPN Wimbledon record (two previous 1.0 ratings: ESPN2 on July 4, 2007 for the Ladies’ Quarterfinals, and ESPN on July 4, 200 for a Gentlemen’s Semifinal). The telecast ended with Andy Murray’s victory over Marcos Baghdatis in the latest-ever finish at Wimbledon (11:02 p.m. in London). Digital consumption of Wimbledon action on ESPN3 and WatchESPN through six days has soared over the usage a year ago. Through the first week of Wimbledon, there was a total of 46.6 million live minutes consumed across all platforms (computer, smartphone, tablet and Xbox), up 67 percent from 2011 through the same point.
Fines Handed Out to 14 Players at 2012 Wimbledon
Through July 1 at Wimbledon, 14 players have been slapped with fines due to misbehavior, including 11 men and three women. Two of the offenders given $2,500 fines were rising Australian star Bernard Tomic for racquet abuse and Belgian doubles specialist Dick Norman for unsportsmanlike behavior. Two-time Grand Slam singles champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, was fined $2,000 for illegal coaching.
2012 Wimbledon Attendance Facts
On the first Monday of Wimbledon this year, nearly 42,000 were in attendance, up 3,000 from last year on that day. As usual, celebrities continue to fill the seats on Centre Court. This year celebrities spotted include Harry Potter Author J.K. Rowling, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Hall of Fame golfer Jack Nicklaus, NHL star Alex Ovechkin, former NBA World Champions Scottie Pippen and Dirk Nowitzki, and current PGA Tour golfers, Ernie Els, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey.
Legendary Florida Junior Tournament Organizer Bobby Curtis Steps Down
According to the USTA Florida section, Bobby Curtis – the face of Florida junior tennis for more than 30 years – will step down immediately due to age and health considerations following the 64th USTA Florida Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships. “This was the tournament to retire on,” said Curtis. “It’s a good year, this was the first edition that the tournament was renamed the Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships – it’s an honor and it’s very humbling.” As early as the 1960s, Curtis was taking players to the Florida state junior championships as a coach, and then in the 1970s was working as a tournament organizer. Curtis says he never missed a state junior championship he was involved in due to injury or illness, noting a hip replacement and heart stint were his only medical issues. “I never missed an event as the tournament used to move around some – we were in St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, all over the place,” said Curtis. In 2002 the Florida Tennis Center was constructed in Daytona Beach, and Florida’s top junior event moved to the 24-court facility. “I know all the players, parents, and coaches who have been involved in junior tennis in Florida will always be thankful for all the efforts Bobby made over the years,” said Doug Booth, USTA Florida Executive Director. “Naming the premier junior event in Florida after Bobby highlights his importance to junior tennis in Florida over 32 years.”
Orange County Breakers Celebrating 10th Anniversary with Special Events
The Orange County Breakers of World TeamTennis are celebrating the team’s 10th anniversary by offering a series of special events, VIP tickets packages and group sales options, including a clinic with former Wimbledon and U.S. Open finalist Mark Philippoussis. Round up the girls for a “Ladies Night Out” at UC Irvine’s Bren Events Center on July 28, when the Philadelphia Freedoms and former ATP top-10 player Philippoussis arrive in town. “Ladies Night Out” tickets for the special event range from $30-$45 and include one reserved space in a clinic with the popular Australian and current Southern California resident Philippoussis, a Macy’s gift bag, and one ticket to the Breakers vs. Philadelphia Freedoms match that night. As a special treat, Macy’s will also host a fashion show at halftime. Fans are also invited to come out to support the Orange County Breakers’ own supermom and mother of three, Lindsay Davenport, as well as celebrate all moms through special “Mom’s Night Out” packages. Gather up a group of 15 or more to receive a 15% discount on either Courtside or Upper Reserved tickets for any of the home matches (July 9, 11, 14, 23, 25, 27 and 28). Grand Slam champion and Orange County resident Davenport is scheduled to play all seven home matches at the Bren Events Center on the campus of UC Irvine. As an added bonus to the moms purchasing this package, Davenport will be available for group photos before the match. VIP ticket packages make every match into a special event by featuring courtside seats along with access to a private baseline-area buffet and bar with complimentary food and drink for the duration of the match. The VIP Baseline Table ticket package accommodates up to six guests and is available for purchase for the seven home matches at $5,500 for the season, or $1,000 per match. The VIP Bar Table package seats up to four guests per match and is available for the season at $3,500, or for individual matches at $700. To purchase any of these ticket packages, or for additional information about group sales or special events, please call the Orange County Breakers office at (949) 205-9526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boston Lobsters Kick-Off World TeamTennis Season against Sacramento on July 9
The Boston Lobsters are set to kick-off the 37th season of World TeamTennis with a home match against the Sacramento Capitals presented by Coco Key Hotel and Water Park. The Lobsters will enjoy a fan-favorite line-up of veteran players this year including John Isner, Robby Ginepri, Eric Butorac, Jan-Michael Gambill, Irina Falconi and Carly Gullickson-Eagle. Ginepri will be the featured player for the Lobsters clash with the Capitals on opening night at the John Norton Stadium at the Ferncroft Country Club. Match time is set for 7 p.m. EST. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling Darlene Hayes at (508) 435-2023 or by emailing her at Darlene@BostonLobsters.net. Box seats are $60 each, which includes premium courtside seating, name on seat and VIP parking privileges. Reserve seats run for $30 each and include an assigned bleacher seat. New in 2012, you can add a VIP Hospitality Access Ticket for just $15 each. This additional ticket includes a player meet-and-greet, up close photo opportunities and higher end concessions. The Lobsters will host many exciting matches this summer including against Leander Paes and the Washington Kastles on July 13, Lindsay Davenport and the Orange County Breakers on July 17, Martina Hingis and the New York Sportimes on July 22 and the final match of the season against the Philadelphia Freedoms.
Tennis Hall of Fame to Investigate ATP Doubles Legend Bob Hewitt
According to an article written by Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, reversing course after months of inaction, is investigating allegations that Bob Hewitt, one of the greatest doubles players in the history of the sport, sexually abused nearly a dozen girls he coached in South Africa and the United States from the 1970s to 1990s, according to several of the alleged victims. The Hall of Fame launched the inquiry after drawing criticism throughout the tennis community for dropping its plan last year to investigate the scandal. The organization has hired a Boston law firm — Hinckley, Allen & Snyder — to conduct the investigation and present its findings before the hall’s board of directors meet later this month in Newport, R.I. The law firm was commissioned “to submit a confidential report to the executive committee to assist in deciding whether to suspend or take other action against Mr. Hewitt’s status as a Tennis Hall of Fame’’ member, according to an e-mail sent from the firm’s attorney, Michael J. Connolly, to one of the women Hewitt allegedly abused in South Africa. A copy of the e-mail was provided to the Globe. The inquiry was welcomed as long overdue by Hewitt’s alleged victims, five of whom called last year for his removal from the hall after a Globe story detailed his history of alleged sexual misconduct. “This is half our battle won,’’ said Suellen Sheehan, who was 12 when, she said, Hewitt first had sex with her in South Africa. The statute of limitations has expired on most of the allegations in the United States, but not in South Africa, where the National Prosecuting Authority is investigating Hewitt. Hewitt, 72, who lives in rural Addo, South Africa, has not been charged with a crime. He has not spoken publicly about the case since last year, when he told the Globe, “I just want to forget about it,’’ and was quoted by the Weekend Post in South Africa as saying, “I only want to apologize if I offended anyone in any way.’’ The hall’s executive director, Mark Stenning, said in May that the organization dropped its plan to investigate Hewitt in favor of drafting a policy to address similar issues in the future. The decision triggered a backlash against the organization, as several prominent tennis figures voiced their support for the alleged victims. Among those who have spoken out is Billie Jean King, an inductee and life trustee of the hall. While hundreds of supporters of Hewitt’s alleged victims have petitioned the hall to remove him, Massachusetts Citizens for Children and its South African counterpart, Men & Women Against Abuse, have been considering joint efforts to pressure the hall to oust him, including picketing the organization’s induction ceremony July 14. But news of the inquiry prompted them to suspend their protest plans. Instead, the advocates said, they will wait for the law firm to present its report and the hall to respond. The hall’s earlier backpedaling posed a striking contrast to the US Gymastics Hall of Fame’s swift expulsion last year of an inductee facing similar allegations of sexually abusing girls he was coaching. Hewitt’s alleged victims and their supporters viewed the tennis hall’s inaction as emblematic of leaders throughout professional tennis distancing themselves from the scandal.
Brian Baker Awarded Atlanta Main Draw Wild Card
Following a lengthy hiatus from the ATP World Tour due to five surgeries between 2003 and 2008, American Brian Baker is back and stronger than ever. Following a runner-up performance on the red clay in Nice just before the French Open and a recent fourth round showing at Wimbledon, Baker is a lock to receive many wild cards throughout the United States hardcourt season this summer. His first stop will be in Atlanta after he just accepted a main draw wild card for the BB&T Atlanta Open. This year’s tournament will be played from July 14-22 at Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta.
Ryan Harrison Accepts Final Newport Wild Card
World No. 48 Ryan Harrison has accepted the final main draw wild card for the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, which is the only professional tennis tournament played on grass courts in North America. This year’s tournament will take place from July 9-15 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. Harrison’s appearance in Newport will give the young American one last chance to prep for the London Olympics, which will be played on the grass courts at Wimbledon.
Richard Gasquet Receives Wild Card into next week’s Vegeta Croatia Open Umag
Richard Gasquet, who this week reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, requested and received a main draw wild card into the Vegeta Croatia Open Umag. This year’s tournament, which will be played from July9-15, will feature many household names including Marin Cilic, Fernando Verdasco, Ivo Karlovic, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Serena Williams Has Best First Serve in Women’s Tennis, According to Steve Flink’s New Book
Serena Williams, currently in contention for a fifth Wimbledon women’s singles title, has the best first serve in the history of women’s tennis, according to tennis historian Steve Flink in his new book THE GREATEST TENNIS MATCHES OF ALL TIME. “Watching Serena Williams serve when she is in peak form is astonishing,” writes Flink in the book in a special chapter that ranks the greatest strokes of all time. “Her motion is the most natural of any woman player I have ever seen. Her toss is reliable, her velocity impressive, her ability to rack up free points ever apparent. It is a daunting first serve, delivered with power and panache. As the serve goes, so goes Serena Williams.” Rounding out Flink’s top five women’s first serves of all time are five-time Wimbledon champion and Serena’s older sister Venus Williams at No. 2, four-time US champion Alice Marble at No. 3, nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova at No. 4 and two-time US and Wimbledon champion Althea Gibson at No. 5. THE GREATEST TENNIS MATCHES OF ALL TIME features profiles and rankings of the greatest matches of all time dating from the 1920s featuring Bill Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen up through the modern era of tennis featuring contemporary stars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Flink breaks down, analyzes and puts into historical context the sport’s most memorable matches, providing readers with a courtside seat at these most celebrated and significant duels. Other champions featured in the book include Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf among many others. Flink’s fascinating “greatest strokes of all time” section ranks and describes the players who best executed all the important shots in the game through the years. Williams also ranked No. 2 all time in the second serve category, No. 5 in forehands and No. 3 in mental toughness. Other 2012 Wimbledon contenders featured in this section include Novak Djokovic (No. 4 all time backhand, No. 3 return of serve, No. 5 passing shot), Roger Federer (No. 1 forehand of all time, No. 5 first serve, No. 4 overhead), Andy Murray (No. 5 all time return of serve, No. 5 lob) and Victoria Azarenka (No. 4 return of serve of all time.) Incidentally, Flink ranked Samantha Stosur’s second serve as the best of all time, with Williams placed at No. 2 in that category. THE GREATEST TENNIS MATCHES OF ALL TIME, a hard-cover book that retails for $28.95, can be purchased via this link http://m1e.net/c?96018505-iLYStDWtYOSUU%407657030-OHHZOwxMnE6yk at www.NewChapterMedia.com and where ever books are sold. The book is available in electronic formats, including on Amazon.com’s Kindle. Flink, one of the most respected writers and observers in the game, is currently a columnist for TennisChannel.com. A resident of Katonah, N.Y., he is the former editor of World Tennis magazine and a former senior columnist at Tennis Week. The book has received high praise from some of the most respected names in the sport, including Chris Evert, a winner of 18 major singles titles, who wrote the foreword to the book.