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By Justin Cohen

USTA Questions Major League Soccer Plan for Expansion Team in Flushing Meadows

Report: USTA Questions Major League Soccer Plan for Expansion Team in Flushing Meadows

According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, Major League Soccer’s intention to put an expansion team in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, near Citi Field, is being met with opposition from some local Queens residents as well as the United States Tennis Association, whose facility could be impacted by a new soccer stadium. The USTA believes a new stadium in the park, which also would stage concerts, would increase noise and traffic, according to a published report. “It raises a lot of concerns for us,” Gordon Smith, executive director of the USTA, told The New York Times. “We ought to be considered in a very different light, because we raise almost none of those complications.” Some neighborhood groups worry the parkland would not be adequately replaced.

Voters to Decide Future of Crandon Park and Sony Open

According to a press release, Miami-Dade County voters casting ballots this fall will have an opportunity to approve tournament-funded upgrades to the Crandon Park Tennis Center that will enhance the park for year-round public use and safeguard the Sony Open’s future in Miami. Voters will be asked to vote yes on #238, a referendum to authorize improvements to the park’s facilities and an extension of the Tournament’s usage agreement beyond the current nine year term. The park improvements would be entirely paid for by Tournament-generated revenues and cost savings, with NO COST TO TAXPAYERS. If approved, the proposed park improvements would be the first major Tennis Center updates since 1994, when Stadium Court opened. Tournament owner IMG estimates the total enhancements would cost approximately $50 million, without a single penny of public money spent. Efforts to educate the public on the measure and galvanize support are being spearheaded by the Park Partnership campaign, a coalition of business and civic leaders from Miami-Dade County and beyond. Members of the Park Partnership steering committee include Chair Adam Barrett, Honorary Chair and retired tennis star Mary Joe Fernandez, Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, Key Biscayne Mayor Frank Caplan, Al Dotson, Jr., Maria Alonso, Marcelo Claure, Richard McLeod, Javier Soto, Phillis Oeters, Joy Lundeen, Jennifer Stearns Buttrick, James Champion, William D. Talbert, III, Jeff Bartel, Florencia Tabeni, Frances Sevilla-Sacasa, Mark Trowbridge and Tico Casamayor, among others. Beyond its standing as one of the world’s most prominent tennis tournaments, the Sony Open is a significant economic engine for Miami-Dade County. In fact, the Tournament is among the largest recurring events to take place in Miami, generating an impact of more than $386 million annually. In addition, the Tournament and Miami receive more than 7,000 hours of global television coverage broadcast throughout 180 countries. The need for a County-wide vote stems from an amendment to the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter which requires that two-thirds of Miami-Dade County voters approve extensions or modifications to leases and construction of any permanent structures in Crandon Park. The Sony Open’s proposed park updates include new green spaces, shaded areas, landscaping with plants and trees native to Key Biscayne, and show courts with comfortable seating. The Tournament’s capacity, terms of use and limitations on height of park structures will remain in place. Miami-Dade County will continue to own and operate the Tennis Center, ensuring the improved facilities are open to the public for 49 weeks of the year. The 2012 Sony Open was the most successful Tournament held to date, drawing more than 326,000 attendees, nearly 20 percent of whom currently reside outside the U.S., and resulting in the booking of more than 15,000 hotel room nights. The election will be held on November 6, 2012, with early voting beginning on October 27, 2012. Learn more about the Park Partnership campaign at www.parkpartnership.com.

International Tennis Federation Unconcerned Over WTA Dispute Over 2016 Rio Qualifications

According to an article written by David Gold of Inside The Games, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) is unconcerned about the fall out with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) over qualification requirements for the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The ITF announced that players hoping to compete in Rio would have to make themselves available for three Federations Cup ties before the Games, compared to the two required for London. That has been met by opposition from the WTA, with women’s world number two, Maria Sharapova of Russia, publicly voicing her disappointment at the decision. One positive change which has been welcomed is that the qualification window began straight after the end of London 2012. According to Tennis.com, ITF spokesperson Kris Dent said that the opposition of the WTA does not change anything. “We haven’t had contractual agreement with ATP for years (over Davis Cup requirements),” he was reported as saying. “Our priority is going from strength to strength and the Fed Cup has done that. The Fed Cup final in Prague sold out in six hours…let’s face it, there is a requirement for players every week that they play on tour.” ITF spokesperson Barbara Travers insists that, contrary to the claims of some of the top women’s players, there is a dialogue with them, and that the issue is simply a case of a disagreement.

David A. Haggerty Nominated as USTA Chairman of the Board and President

The USTA Nominating Committee has announced the nomination of David A. Haggerty as USTA Chairman of the Board and President to serve a two-year term beginning January 1, 2013. Haggerty has served on the USTA Board of Directors for six years and is currently completing a two-year term as First Vice President. He is a member of the Budget, International, Major Construction Oversight and Compensation committees and represents the USTA on the Grand Slam Committee and the ITF Women’s Circuit Committee. He also is a member of the Board of Directors for USTA Serves. Prior to his appointment as president, Haggerty served as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and as a member of the Compensation and Executive committees. Since 2007, he has served as a member of the Budget Committee. Haggerty also served for six years on the Board of Directors of the USTA Middle States Section, including two years as Vice President, and he served nationally as Chair of the USTA Section Marketing and Public Relations Committee in 2005-06 and Strategic Planning in 2009-10. Haggerty served a two-year term as President of the Tennis Industry Association from January 2007 to January 2009 and has served on the TIA’s Executive Committee for more than 20 years. Haggerty is the former Chairman of Head USA, a position he held until his retirement in March 2010. He began his career in tennis in 1980, when he was hired by Prince as Product Manager for accessories. In his 14 years at Prince, Haggerty worked his way up to General Manager before taking a position at Dunlop as President of Racquet Sports. He moved to Head in 1998, where he served as General Manager and President of Head/Penn Racquet Sports before becoming Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Head’s U.S. businesses. He currently serves as an External Director on the board of directors for Kepner-Tregoe, a global management consulting company that focuses on improving the business performance of clients worldwide using proven management methods. He has been nominated as a Board member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame beginning in 2013. Haggerty was the No. 1 singles player and captain for three of his four years at George Washington University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration. Haggerty has five children and lives in Pennington, N.J. In addition to the Haggerty nomination, other individuals nominated as new Officers and Directors of the USTA Board include Katrina M. Adams, Donald L. Tisdel, Thomas S. Ho, Patrick J. Galbraith, Alexander Boyd Andrews IV, Joan E. Baker, Raymond Benton, Mark D. Ein, Andrew A. Valdez, Jeff Williams, Todd Martin, Chanda Rubin and Brian Vahaly. Current USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen will remain on the USTA Board of Directors and will serve as Immediate Past President during the 2013-14 term.

Malaysian Open Comes of Age in its Fourth and Most Successful Year

According to an official tournament press release, in its fourth year on Malaysian soil, the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2012 enjoyed one of its best ever showcases at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil from September 22-30. Attendances had increased greatly from past years, as the final three days saw almost 15,000 people head down for a spectacle of tennis they would not soon forget, while Sunday’s attendance of 5,300 was the best ever seen in KL. The Sunday final saw second seeded Argentine Juan Monaco top Frenchman Julien Benneteau 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Part of the heightened appeal came from the most internationally diverse field of players the tournament has ever featured – with participants from over 24 countries across five continents arriving – along with several marquee names gracing the courts, such as David Ferrer, Juan Monaco, Kei Nishikori, Feliciano Lopez and Alexandr Dolgopolov. “It has been the most exciting, most attended and most diverse tournament we have had. Tournament staff personally met tourists from Australia, Spain, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Switzerland, Hawaii, China, the Philippines, Egypt, the USA, Singapore, Argentina, Japan, Austria, the UK and Germany, who had come down to watch the Malaysian Open,” said Tournament Director Nick Freyer of IMG, organizers of the event since inception. The tournament was also notable for marking Malaysian history as Si Yew Ming became the first local to win a match in an ATP 250 tournament and the Malaysian wildcard performances indicated significant improvement in local standards. Accordingly, to further boost the appeal of the sport in the young generation, over 2,000 students were introduced to professional tennis via a high impact and highly successful schools visit program. One of the touching stories of the 2012 tournament was two bus-loads of university students who took an overnight road trip from Perlis to visit the event. The tournament was broadcast live and delayed in High Definition to over 350 million people across the world, complete with Malaysian Truly Asia Hawkeye branding, over its final four days. In Malaysia, Astro broadcast over 100 hours of the tournament domestically. “We know because of the length of the final match, it overran on many television stations throughout the world, onto other programming. In the UK, it overran onto live Series A football programming, but ESPN UK choose to continue its live transmission of the Malaysian Open. I think that was a great tribute to the blockbuster quality of the match and the tournament,” said Freyer. The 2013 tournament will be held from September 21-29.

2013 Hyundai Hopman Cup Line-Up Announced

The official line-up for the 2013 Hyundai Hopman Cup has been announced and the 25th edition of the ITF’s mixed team competition will not disappoint. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andrea Petkovic and Fernando Verdasco are just some of the new additions who will join the likes of Novak Djokovic, John Isner, Ana Ivanovic, Bernard Tomic and Venus Williams at the Perth Arena from December 29, 2012-January 5, 2013. The complete teams for the competition are as follows: Tomic and Casey Dellacqua (Australia), Tsonga and Mathilde Johansson (France), Tommy Haas and Petkovic (Germany), Andreas Seppi and Francesca Schiavone (Italy), Djokovic and Ivanovic (Serbia), Kevin Anderson and Chanelle Scheepers (South Africa), Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain) and Isner and Williams (United States).

Hewitt, Stosur Commit to 2013 Brisbane International

Former Grand Slam champions Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur have both committed to start their 2013 season at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp. It will be the first appearance in Brisbane for Hewitt, a former World No. 1. “I love playing the Australian tournaments and I have heard so many good things about the tournament. I am looking forward to kicking off the New Year there,” said Hewitt. “I am thrilled that Sam and Lleyton have both committed to the Brisbane International for 2013, adding more star power to an already imposing line up,” said Brisbane International Tournament Director, Cameron Pearson.

2012 PowerShares Series Kicks Off This Saturday in Arizona

The 2012 PowerShares Series will kick-off this Saturday, October 13 when tennis legends John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Michael Chang and Todd Martin compete in the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships, Presented by Sanderson Ford and Lincoln in Surprise, Ariz. The PowerShares Series will visit 12 U.S. cities during its seven-week season. Each event on the circuit will feature four champions squaring off in a one-night tournament held in one session for all ticket holders. Fans will see two 1-set semifinal matches followed by the championship match featuring the semifinal winners, in each of the shootout style tournaments that take approximately three hours from start to finish. Other players set to compete in the Series this year include Grand Slam Champions Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander and Pat Rafter. The players will compete for a prize pool totaling $1 million, to be shared by the top three finishers at the conclusion of the season. Following the Series stop in Arizona, fans will have the opportunity to attend the matches in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Tampa, Atlanta, San Jose, Las Vegas, Denver and Anaheim. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.PowerSharesSeries.com.

USPTA Raises More Than $7,500 at World Conference on Tennis in California

The United States Professional Tennis Association raised more than $7,500 during its silent auction at the USPTA’s Tennis Buying Show at the World Conference on Tennis, which was held from September 16-21 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa in Monterey, Calif. Auction items included a signed Maria Sharapova racquet, courtesy of HEAD/Penn, two tickets to the 2013 US Open, courtesy of the USTA, Nike shoes for a year, courtesy of Fromuth, and much more. The auction benefits the USPTA foundation, which through grants supports various programs in the community that help to grow tennis and bring the game to those who might not otherwise have the chance to play.

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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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