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By Justin Cohen

ATP ‘Does Not Support’ that Men’s Singles Final at 2013 US Open has been switched to Monday

The ATP has voiced their dissatisfaction at the USTA’s decision to move the 2013 US Open Men’s Singles Final to Monday. Organizers of the US Open said they were moving the final to Monday to allow the two finalists a day off after their semifinal victories. Quoted in a USA Today article written by Douglas Robson, ATP board representative Justin Gimelstob said he and other ATP leaders were “frustrated” by the USTA’s announcement to extend the tournament to 15 days. Gimelstob also said, “It’s a tale of two very different interpretations. There are nine months to go, and many more chapters to be written.” USTA Spokesman Chris Widmaier said Tuesday that the decision to move the final to Monday should have surprised no one based on communication with the tour and players in recent months. “We understand their concerns,” Widmaier said. “We look forward to further discussions.” While many players were frustrated with the change, ATP executives and board members were stunned Andy Murray praised the changes. “I’m pleased that the USTA has modified the U.S. Open schedule to include a day of rest between the semifinals and final,” 2012 champion Murray said in the statement. “Together with the prize money increase, it’s good that they’ve taken on board the players’ concerns.”The ATP runs the men’s World Tour but not the four Grand Slams, and the organization said in a statement: “We strongly believe the US Open should keep a similar schedule to the other Grand Slams, with the men’s semi-finals completed by Friday and the final on Sunday. The ATP and its players have made it clear to the US Open that we do not support a Monday final (at Flushing Meadows). It is unfortunate the US Open response did not reflect our views on this issue and the ATP and its players will continue to pursue this matter in its discussions with the USTA.” The USTA has said the change is for the 2013 event only and that the matter would be reviewed after that.

ATP approves tournament in Bogotá in 2013

The ATP World Tour is set to return to Bogotá, Colombia, in 2013, following the ATP Board of Directors’ approval of the sale of the Los Angeles tournament, an ATP World Tour 250 event, to IMLA de Colombia, a Colombian entertainment and sports marketing company. The new tournament will be staged at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento in Bogotá, the same venue that hosted an ATP World Tour event from 1997–2002. Brad Drewett, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said, “The ATP World Tour is a truly global sports property, and demand for events around the world has never been greater. This latest transfer represents a fantastic opportunity for the ATP World Tour to continue to strengthen its presence in South America, a growing market for men’s professional tennis. The new tournament owners have a wealth of experience in tennis and we look forward to a successful event in Colombia. “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Bob Kramer and his organizing team for their tireless work in running the ATP World Tour 250 event in Los Angeles over the years. Bob’s services to tennis have been hugely appreciated,” said Drewett. The Bogota event will take place on outdoor hard-court from July 15-21, 2013. In turn, the 2013 BB&T Atlanta Open will take place one week later, from July 22-28.

MP & Silva adds ATP Kremlin Cup to its Tennis Portfolio

MP & Silva, a leading international media rights company, has secured a worldwide rights distribution deal from 2014 to 2018 with the Kremlin Cup ATP World Tour 250 Series event. The deal includes all territories outside Russia. Held in the Olympic Stadium in Moscow once a year, the Kremlin Cup is Russia’s first professional international tennis tournament, played in indoors hard courts. The package offers a minimum of 17 matches every year. The partnership between MP & Silva and Kremlin Cup covers 5 tournaments, from 2014 to 2018. MP & Silva has been distributing tennis media rights since 2009, with a growing portfolio of year-round events around the globe. The company currently distributes Roland Garros (France), international tournaments like the Clash of Continent (Singapore), Qatar Open (Qatar), Copa Claro (Argentina), Delray Beach ITC (USA), Zagreb Indoors (Croatia), Croatia Open (Croatia), Vina Del Mar Open (Uruguay) and Kitzbühel (Austria). The Kremlin Cup is a welcome addition to the portfolio, being the first time that MP & Silva adds its footprint in Russia. MP & Silva will be the exclusive distributor of Kremlin Cup across cable, satellite, terrestrial, Web TV, IPTV and mobile platforms.

ATP Executive Chairman and President makes Sports Business Journal’s Top 50 list

ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett has been named on Sports Business Journal’s list of 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. It is the first time that an ATP executive has featured on the list and the Australian is the only tennis executive to make this year’s list. Recognizing Drewett for his work in securing a greater share of Grand Slam tournament revenue for players, the SBJ wrote that “Drewett took over the ATP in 2012… (and) already has won huge concessions from the Australian Open.”

Madison Keys, Rhyne Williams Win Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs

Madison Keys (Rock Island, Ill.) and Rhyne Williams (Knoxville, Tenn.) each earned wild card entries into the main draw of the 2013 Australian Open Sunday by winning the Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs at Life Time Athletic & Tennis at Peachtree Corners. Keys defeated Mallory Burdette (Jackson, Ga.), 7-5, 6-3, and Williams took down Tim Smyczek (Milwaukee), 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, in Sunday’s indoor finals, each in a match format emulating the Grand Slam. The 17-year old Keys, seeded third, won the event for the second year in a row, becoming the first woman and second player overall, along with Ryan Harrison (2009-10), to do so in the tournament’s five-year history. “I’m pretty happy with how I’ve been doing and how I’ve been playing. Hopefully I can just really keep it up now,” said Keys, who fell to Jie Zheng in the first round of last January’s Australian Open, 6-2, 6-1. “It’d be great to go to Australia and not get killed in the first round this year. Hopefully that happens. But I’m just really excited to go down and start playing some tournaments again.” “I’m moving incredibly well, and when I’m moving my best I feel like I give myself a really good chance of winning, and I feel like I could play with anyone,” said the 190th-ranked Williams, who will play in his second straight Grand Slam after qualifying and reaching the first round of the US Open this summer.

Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational raises $100,000

The Mark Knowles Celebrity Tennis Invitational in the Bahamas at the Atlantis, Paradise Island, raised $100,000 this year, bringing total contributions over the 12 years of existence to around $900,000. The main beneficiaries include the Sassoon Heart Foundation (Pediatric), the Cancer Society For Pediatric Care, the Association for the Physically Disabled, the Special Olympics, Mark Knowles Tennis scholarships for promising junior tennis players and numerous additional children’s charities. The recently-retired 41-year-old Knowles welcomed many professional tennis players to his annual event including Sam Querrey, Lindsay Davenport, Sabine Lisicki and Xavier Malisse.

Brisbane International named Best Sports Event in Queensland

The Brisbane International was named the best sports event in Queensland for 2012 at the 18th Annual Queensland Sport Awards at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre last week. “It’s a great honor for the Brisbane International to receive this award,” said Cameron Pearson, Tournament Director of the Brisbane International. “This is the second time we’ve been named the Queensland Sport Event of the Year, the first was in 2009 the inaugural year of the Brisbane International. 2012 was an exciting year for the Brisbane International. More of the world’s top female tennis players signed on to compete in the sunshine state after the tournament was upgraded by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to a Premier event, allowing unlimited participation by the world’s top 10 tennis players and a significant prize money boost to $655,000, which will increase again in 2013 to $1,000,000.

Nishikori, Haas commit to 2013 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships

Former champions Kei Nishikori and Tommy Haas have agreed to participate in the 2013 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC) in South Florida, which will be played from February 22-March 3, 2013. Nishikori, the 2008 champion, and Haas, the 2006 champion, will join Mardy Fish and the world’s top ranked doubles duo of Bob and Mike Bryan as early commitments to the tournament.

Kohlschreiber, Becker, Kamke commit to Power Horse Cup in Dusseldorf

Germans Philipp Kohlschreiber, Benjamin Becker and Tobias Kamke have signed on to participate in the Power Horse Cup in Dusseldorf, which will be played from May 19-25, 2013. “With Kohlschreiber, Becker and Kamke in the line-up, it means three German top tennis players will be competing at the Rochusclub. It’s great news and we’re very happy,” said Tournament Director Dietloff von Arnim. In November, World No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic announced his commitment to the 2013 event.

Australian Matthew Ebden hires Peter McNamara as Coach

Australian No. 4 Matthew Ebden has announced his new coaching partnership with former World No. 7 Peter McNamara. After reaching a career-high ranking of No. 61 in October, the newly married Ebden finished the year just outside the Top 100. “He has a chance because he doesn’t really have a weakness and that’s a nice situation to be in, as it means he can build on what he’s got,” said McNamara. “We’ll take a more professional attitude towards building to the Top 30 in the world and I think that’s where he can make. There’s no difference between anyone outside the Top 6 and the next 100: they’re all very similar. Matt’s one of the guys who can make a jump if he puts his head down and pushes his limits.” McNamara, who won two Wimbledon doubles titles and the 1979 Australian Open with countryman Paul McNamee, has previously coached Mark Philippoussis and most recently worked with Grigor Dimitrov.

Wilson Ramps Up Footwear Technology for 2013 with Rush Pro

Reinforcing its commitment to providing best-in-class performance, Wilson Racquet Sports is completely revamping its footwear line for 2013 with the introduction of the Rush Pro™ shoe for men, women and juniors. Engineered to provide maximum stability, feel and responsiveness, the lightweight Rush Pro uses proprietary technology utilizing extensive research and collaboration with tour players. The shoe launches in January 2013. Wilson tour players Anne Keothavong, Phillip Kohlschreiber and Feliciano Lopez are among the several tour players sporting this shoe in 2013. “Tennis players need to excel in a game that is changing quickly,” said Kristi Boggs, business manager for footwear and apparel at Wilson Racquet Sports. “We built the Rush Pro to support the acceleration of movement that is driving the evolution in our sport. The Rush Pro provides ideal performance fit with low-to-the-ground court feel for players looking to elevate their game.” There are three key features of the Rush Pro’s advanced design: the three dimensional TPU-injected forefoot piece (3D-F.s) for superior responsiveness, maximum acceleration and controlled deceleration; a Dynamic Fit 6mm heel-toe drop for lateral stability and low-to-the-ground court feel, eliciting a quicker reaction; and Endofit™, a full construction inner sleeve for enhanced comfort and intuitive fit. Colors range from pool, silver and cyan to cyber green, tuscan orange and union gold.

Wilson releases 2013 Men and Women’s Tennis Apparel

Building upon the steady success of its apparel line for men and women, Wilson Racquet Sports is introducing a larger 2013 line featuring proprietary technologies, enhanced fit and bolder colors. Four collections reflecting the style, climate conditions and performance requirements of the Grand Slams will be introduced to coincide with the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. Wilson’s expanding group of apparel ambassadors includes tour players Anne Keothavong, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Feliciano Lopez, Paul Henri Mathieu, Melanie Oudin, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Horia Tecau. Exclusive technologies include: Tri-Color Burn Out, customized cooling features in the fabric; Liquid Stretch for intuitive fabric movement, increased comfort and breathability; nanoTECH™ providing supreme moisture management (nanoWIK), antimicrobial protection (nanoBAN) and sun protection (nanoUV); and Laser Technology, eliminating seams in high stress areas resulting in a lightweight garment with laser-zoned ventilation. “This line provides solutions for the quickly evolving game of tennis,” said Kristi Boggs, business manager for footwear and apparel at Wilson Racquet Sports. “We paid great attention to functionality, breathability and fit. Designed for tour players competing in a wide variety of climates, as well as tennis enthusiasts looking to elevate their game, this line addresses virtually every skill set. Our commitment to design is not only evident in our rackets, but also, in our apparel and footwear. We are the only tennis brand providing fully integrated premium products for players head to toe.”

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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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