2013 Australian Open to Offer $31.1 Million in Prize Money
The Australian Open announced on Monday that the 2013 event in January will offer $31.1 million in prize money, according to Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood. The announcement was made at the Australian Open 2013 launch at Melbourne Park. Additionally, Wood said that Tennis Australia officials would seek further input from players regarding a more equitable distribution of prize money to help ensure financial viability for lower ranked players. “We are proud to announce this major increase in prize money. We have led the world in prize money for these incredible athletes and we want to ensure that the Australian Open continues to make a major contribution to the financial wellbeing of professional tennis players,” said Wood. The $4.15 million prize money boost is the biggest increase in the history of the tournament and was one of many initiatives announced for the 2013 event. New initiatives for the first Grand Slam tournament of 2013 include, Hawk-Eye to be introduced on Show Courts 2 and 3, new practice and recovery facilities for players, including eight new clay courts in the new National Tennis Centre, tennis Hall of Famer Andre Agassi to play in a special feature match in the Men’s Legends event, an expanded Women’s Legends event featuring former champions Lindsay Davenport and Amelie Mauresmo, as well as Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis. Also, a special Legends luncheon on the final Saturday will honor six-time Australian Open winner Roy Emerson.
Andy Roddick Foundation Gala Raises More Than $1 Million
During last Friday night’s seventh annual Andy Roddick Foundation Gala in Austin, Texas, $1 million was raised with the support of nine-time Grammy Award winning musician John Legend, actor Matthew McConaughey and Roddick’s actress wife, Brooklyn Decker. “The foundation is growing, and this event gives us strong momentum going into 2013,” said Roddick, who retired a few weeks ago following his fourth round loss to Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open in New York. The event proceeds will help fund youth programs at a new 10,000 square-foot, eight-court tennis and learning facility in Austin, and other youth programs run by its partner organizations. “The statistics we’ve uncovered in our research demonstrate a great need for our continued and focused efforts to impact the lives of youths. We want to spread opportunity and nurture each individual’s talent,” said Roddick. The former World No. 1 and 2003 US Open Champion created the foundation in 2000 and in that time has raised more than $10 million for its youth programs, as well as various South Florida and Texas-based youth organizations.
Navratilova Added to Mylan World TeamTennis Smash Hits Presented by GEICO
One of the greatest tennis players to ever play the game – Martina Navratilova – has been added to the stellar list of competitors for the Mylan World Team Tennis Smash Hits Presented by GEICO, the annual charity event co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King. Navratilova will join Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Andy Roddick, Mark Knowles, Christina McHale, Jan-Michael Gambill, No. 1 ranked junior Taylor Townsend and 2012 Junior US Open Girls Singles Champion Samantha Crawford in the event set for Tuesday, October 16 at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. This year’s event marks the 20th anniversary for Smash Hits, which has raised more than $10.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local charities since 1993. The Mylan WTT Smash Hits will benefit EJAF and the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, and will include a pre-match VIP reception and Auction hosted by Allegheny Sports Medicine. Tickets are currently on sale for the event and can be purchased through WTTSmashHits.com or TicketMaster.com. Corner reserved seats are $40, premium reserved seats are $75 and courtside seats are $125. For group sales of 10 or more tickets, please call (412) 924-8270. Tickets for the VIP Reception and Auction are sold out. John, King and all players will participate in the pre-match live auction, which will include an Elton John signed piano bench and King’s Wimbledon tickets among other items.
PowerShares Series Tennis Starts on October 13 in Arizona
The PowerShares Series, formerly known as the Champions Series, is set to start on October 13 in Surprise, Ariz. This year, the series will make stops in 12 U.S. cities during its seven-week season. The stops include Surprise, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Tampa, Atlanta, San Jose, Las Vegas, Denver and Anaheim. The PowerShares Series is a tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30, created in 2005 by InsideOut Sports + Entertainment, the New York based firm which is co-owned and operated by former SFX executive Jon Venison and former world No. 1 Jim Courier. Last year, Pete Sampras earned the $500,000 first place check, followed by Jim Courier earning $350,000 for second place and Andre Agassi earning $150,000 for finishing in third place. Sampras, Courier and Agassi will again compete in the series, as will John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Michael Chang, Patrick Rafter and Mats Wilander. Lendl (four events) and Chang (two events) will be replacing Jimmy Connors in the six events that Connors was scheduled to compete in, after he was forced to withdraw due to a hip injury. Tickets and unique interactive VIP fan experiences for the 2012 PowerShares Series are on sale now. For ticket information, please visit www.PowerSharesSeries.com.
Prague to Host 100th Davis Cup Final from November 16-18
The International Tennis Federation announced on Tuesday that the 100th Davis Cup Final by BNP Paribas Final will be played at the O2 Arena in Prague. Next month’s showpiece between Czech Republic and Spain, which also marks the start of the ITF’s 2013 centenary celebrations, takes place from November 16-18. Prague’s O2 Arena will also host the 2012 Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and Serbia from November 3-4, becoming the first stadium to stage both finals in the same year. The Czech Republic has also made history by becoming the first country to host both finals since the introduction of the Fed Cup World Group in 1995. Prague’s O2 Arena was built in time to stage the World Ice Hockey Championships in 2004 and has since held major sporting events for ice hockey, basketball and floorball. The venue has also welcomed some of the world’s biggest music acts, including Elton John, Coldplay and Lady Gaga.
Gilles Simon drops Thierry Tulsane as Coach
According to an AFP report, Frenchman Gilles Simon has split with coach, Thierry Tulsane. The announcement was made following Simon’s runner-up finish in Bangkok. Simon has not yet announced who will take over his coaching duties. Simon is currently ranked No. 18 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.
Hart and Segura Inducted into United States Professional Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame
Doris Hart and Francisco “Pancho” Segura were inducted into the USPTA Hall of Fame during its annual awards breakfast on September 19 at the USPTA World Conference on Tennis held at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa in Monterey, Calif. Hart, who resides in Coral Gables, Fla., has been a USPTA Pro 1 since 1955. Segura, who resides in Carlsbad, Calif., has been a USPTA Pro 1 since 1946. Both join only 11 others as grand inductees in the USPTA Hall of Fame. Doris Hart was born June 20, 1925, in St. Louis, Mo. She won 35 Grand Slam titles during her career. Six of her titles were in women’s singles, 14 in women’s doubles, and 15 in mixed doubles. Hart retired from the tour in 1955 — the same year she joined the USPTA — to become a tennis-teaching professional. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1969. She is the first woman inducted into USPTA’s Hall of Fame. Pancho Segura, born on June 20, 1921, is a former leading tennis player of the 1940s and 1950s, both as an amateur and a professional. In 1950 and 1952, he was the World Co-No. 1 player. He was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, but moved to the United States in the late 1930s. He is the only player to have won the U.S. Pro Tennis Championship title on three different surfaces (which he did consecutively from 1950-1952). After retiring from the tour, Segura became a teaching professional for many years in Southern California. He joined USPTA in 1946, and was widely credited with helping develop the young Jimmy Connors. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984.