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By Justin Cohen

WTA CEO Stacey Allaster

Four Cities in Contention for Year-End WTA Championships

According to an article written by Matt Cutler on SportsBusiness.com, the WTA Tour has announced that the cities of Kazan, Mexico City, Singapore and Tianjin have been shortlisted as candidate cities to host the WTA Championships from 2014. The WTA said the four cities were selected following an initial phase that saw 43 interested parties expressing interest in hosting the showpiece season-ending event of women’s tennis. The winning city will be announced in the spring of 2013. The WTA Championships features the world’s top eight singles players and, beginning in 2014, top eight doubles teams. “The WTA Championships is today recognized as one of a handful of truly blue chip international events, currently delivering over $140 million of economic and media value to the host city,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA chairman and CEO. “Our plans for developing additional interactive events including a three day fan festival will ensure the benefits to our next host city partner are even greater. We were delighted with the 43 expressions of interest we received and in finalizing our candidate cities, we believe we have an outstanding shortlist from which we will find the next host for the world’s premier sporting event for women.” The 2012 WTA Championships took place in Istanbul last week, and Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova in Sunday’s final. This year, it registered the highest attendance in 13 years and set record broadcast and digital audience milestones. The Championships also broadcast more than 500 hours of coverage in 167 countries through 22 international TV broadcasters, the widest reach of a WTA Championships to date. The WTA Championships will remain in Istanbul through 2013 having previously been held in Doha from 2008 to 2010.

TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul sets many records

The 42nd edition of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey saw in-form Serena Williams hoist the trophy by defeating Russian Maria Sharapova in straight sets. Many records were broken throughout the week-long tournament. This year’s attendance reached 73,072, marking the second consecutive year that the tournament had more than 70,000 fans. The 73,072 fans in 2012 was the highest total since 2000. Further, both the semifinals and finals had record crowds with 16,410 on both days.  The TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships broadcast more than 500 hours of coverage in 167 countries through 22 international TV broadcasters, the widest reach of a WTA Championships to date. In 2012, broadcast hours increased close to 25-percent, which includes live matches, match replays, and highlights. Also record-breaking in 2012, the Twitter and Facebook activity on the official fan page increased by 300 percent.

Prince Extends Partnership with World No. 5 Ferrer

Prince Global Sports, a leading tennis equipment and footwear company, announced it has renewed a partnership with the second-highest ranked Spanish player, David Ferrer. Ferrer, who is currently ranked No. 5 in the World and fresh off a title at the Valencia Open 500 in Spain, will continue to use Prince’s EXO3 Tour 100 racquet. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “David has been with Prince for many years, and we are proud to have him on our team. He is one of the most respected players on tour and his work ethic and style of play mirrors what it takes to get to the next level,” said Ken Merritt, Director of Player Development for Prince Global Sports. “Since he started playing with the EXO3 racquet, David has been consistently ranked in the top 5 on the tour. Our goal is to work closely with him to find equipment that can take his game into the top 3.”

Australian Government to Encourage Citizens to Play Tennis on Australia Day

According to an article from Bob Larson’s Tennis News, the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Sport, Senator Kate Lundy, today announced a new partnership with Tennis Australia at the Parliament House launch of Australian Open 2013 on January 26. The Minister launched a $250,000 pilot program, jointly funded by the Government and Tennis Australia (TA) that will begin on Australia Day at Australian Open 2013. The program brings the Minister’s portfolios of sport and multiculturalism together under the theme of ‘Do Something Australian on Australia Day – Play Tennis’. Every year our national day falls within the Australian Open, this year coinciding with the women’s final. Tennis has a strong community and cultural presence with more than 2500 tennis clubs and centers Australia wide. The sport has grown from a tradition of local community play and has also enjoyed an outstanding level of performance on the international stage. In 2013 the partnership between Tennis Australia and the Federal Government will take the first step in what is planned to be a five year program. On January 26 2013, Australia Day and Australian Open Women’s Final Day, Melbourne Park and a select number of suburban and regional tennis clubs will host multi-cultural celebrations. As the project expands we look forward to hundreds of tennis clubs throughout the country becoming the hub for citizenship celebrations each Australia Day, all taking place against a background of tennis based leisure activities available to all – families, seniors, people with a disability and in particular, to our multicultural communities. As the partnership and project matures the aspiration is that even beyond these community congregations the concept of tennis-themed Australia Day celebrations will be evident in the backyards and streets of homes and towns across the nation. “There are no barriers to tennis and we know that tennis, out of all the sports, best reflects the cultural diversity of Australia in 2012. “Whether it’s at the Australian Open, at a local tennis club or in your own backyard – do something Australian on Australia Day – play tennis!” Minister Lundy continued.

Juan Carlos Ferrero Foundation Accepts ATP ACES For Charity Grant

While playing in his final career tournament at the Valencia Open 500, Juan Carlos Ferrero received a $10,000 ATP ACES For Charity grant for the Juan Carlos Ferrero Foundation. ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett and ATP Europe CEO Laurent Delanney presented Ferrero with the grant check. “I want to thank the ATP for choosing to support my foundation through the ATP Aces for Charity grant program,” said Ferrero. “This donation is very much appreciated and will help children in need get closer to tennis.” Ferrero is among 14 recipients of the 2012 ATP ACES For Charity grants, supporting a range of causes worldwide, from children’s social services and youth enrichment programs to healthcare, HIV/AIDS education and earthquake relief. The ATP ACES For Charity program, launched in 2011, is a global initiative aimed at giving back to communities where ATP World Tour events are played, as well as recognizing and supporting tournament and player charitable initiatives.

Stosur extends contract with Coach David Taylor

Despite not winning a title or a Grand Slam in 2012, Australia’s top-ranked player Samantha Stosur has extended the contract of her Coach David Taylor. “I’m absolutely happy with what I’ve got in place and how it all works,” Stosur told the Melbourne Age. “Even after Wimbledon last year he was kind of waiting I think for the day for me to say, ‘Dave, you know, I think I need a change here.’ But it did not even enter my head and I absolutely fully trust what he says and our relationship together and how it all works. We’re just both always trying to work towards making me as best I can and that’s going to continue.”

Tsonga hires Roger Rasheed as new coach

L’Equipe reported late last week that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has hired Australian Roger Rasheed as his new coach. Tsonga previously had been without a coach for roughly one and a half years. Rasheed most recently coached Gael Monfils until July 2011 for three years. He also coached former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt from mid-2003 to 2007.

Report: McHale splits with USTA Player Development Coaching, hires Gordon Uehling

According to a report by Matt Cronin of TENNIS.com, World No. 33 Christina McHale has left the USTA Player Development Coaching and will return to Northern New Jersey to work with former ATP player Gordon Uehling. She was most recently training at the USTA National Tennis Center in New York, primarily with coaches Jorge Todero and Jay Gooding, as well as USTA Player Development chief Patrick McEnroe. Uehling is a former star tennis player at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., and currently owns three successful racquet clubs in New Jersey.

Azarenka, Serena to square-off in Thailand to open 2013 season

World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and World No. 3 Serena Williams will start their 2013 seasons by facing off against each other at the World Tennis Invitation exhibition tournament, starting December 29 at the Thai resort town of Hua Hin. In 2012, Azarenka won the Hua Hin exhibition by defeating Caroline Wozniacki. Williams will be playing in Thailand for the first time in her career.

Clijsters to play farewell match against Venus in Belgium

Kim Clijsters, a former World No. 1 and four-time Grand Slam champion, will play a farewell match against Venus Williams on December 12 in the “Kim’s Thank You Games” at the Antwerp Sports Palace. Clijsters made the announcement about the match on her official website.

Professional Tennis Registry to host 10 & Under Tennis Conference in Hilton Head

Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) announced that it will hold its inaugural 10 & Under Tennis Conference from February 15-17, 2013, on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. This event will provide the unique skills and knowledge necessary for tennis professionals and coaches to work with children age 10 and under, as well as offer strategies to increase lesson income and their overall business. Participants will learn from and interact with experts in the field, including Mike Barrell, Simon Gale, Rita Gladstone, Laramie Gavin, Anne Pankhurst and Butch Staples.

Peter Burwash International holds conference in Austria

Peter Burwash International (PBI), the world-renowned tennis management company, recently completed its 37th annual meeting at beautiful Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt in Tirol, Austria, site of PBI’s #1 rated tennis camp. The 2012 conference brought together 95 PBI tennis professionals from around the globe for a week of presentations, seminars and workshops — both in the classroom and on the resort’s immaculate red clay courts — for the purpose of continuing education and skill development. PBI’s most experienced professionals conducted specialty seminars covering a variety of key areas including: Directing successful group tennis clinics; games, drills and teaching concepts for junior players; resort tennis programming and much more. Guest speakers included Byron Hero, CEO of Ellesse, PBI’s new clothing and shoe sponsor, Reinhard Wawra and Patrick Woelfler of Wilson Racquet Sports, Chadwick Byrd, President of Tennis Ventures, an all-inclusive, tennis playing tour operator for the grand slam tennis tournaments, and Nicole Heyermann of Western Union Business Solutions, also a PBI corporate sponsor.

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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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