By Justin Cohen @JustinCohen44
The USTA announced on Tuesday that the Delray Beach Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla., has been selected as the site for the 2013 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Playoff between the United States and Sweden, which will be played from April 20-21. “Delray Beach has a strong history of hosting Fed Cup competition, so we know that the fans will come out to cheer on the U.S. team to victory,” said U.S. Fed Cup Team Captain Mary Joe Fernandez. “The team fought hard on the road in the first round in Italy, so we are excited to play at home this time and take on Sweden. There is nothing like playing Fed Cup in front of a patriotic crowd.” The event is being organized, staged and promoted by the USTA. Ticket information will be available at a later date. Fans can call the U.S. Fed Cup hotline at (888) 334-8782 or visit www.usta.com/fedcup to receive the latest ticket information. Local sponsors include the City of Delray Beach, Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “Our city is proud to host Fed Cup,” said Thomas Carney, Delray Beach Mayor. “We are known for our hospitality and top-rated sports facilities. This event is a win for Fed Cup and a win for Delray Beach. Our community is excited to show the world what a great place this is.” The winner of this match will advance to the 2014 World Group and have a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title next year. The loser will be relegated to World Group II in 2014. The U.S. fell to Italy, 3-2, in the 2013 World Group first round in Rimini, Italy, February 9-10, despite two singles victories by world No. 25 Varvara Lepchenko over world No. 8 Sara Errani and world No. 16 Roberta Vinci in Lepchenko’s Fed Cup debut. The World Group Playoff will mark the fifth matchup between the U.S. and Sweden in Fed Cup competition with the U.S. leading the series, 3-1. The two nations last faced each other in the second round of 1988 World Group competition, where the Swedes won, 2-1. The U.S. won the other three match-ups in 1966, 1975, and 1983. This will be the fourth Fed Cup tie played in Florida and the third played at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, making it the only venue to host a U.S. Fed Cup tie on three occasions. The U.S. squad has never lost a match in its three previous trips to Florida, posting 5-0 sweeps over Austria in the 1995 World Group quarterfinal in Aventura, and against Belgium in the 2005 World Group quarterfinal and the 2007 World Group quarterfinal, both in Delray Beach.
Tennis Channel’s complaint against Comcast in Jeopardy
According to an article written by Matt Cronin for TENNIS.com, The Tennis Channel and the FCC appear to have their backs against the wall in the network’s discrimination case against cable giant Comcast. Last year, the FCC ordered Comcast to provide equal treatment to Tennis Channel in its tier placement, ruling that it must be on the same tier as the two sports networks it owns, the Golf Channel and NBC Sports. But on Monday, judges on U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit panel expressed concern about whether the Tennis Channel’s complaint was issued on time, and whether the FCC’s order affected its First Amendment rights. A variety of outlets reported that Senior Judge Harry Edwards appeared ready to strike the FCC order on the grounds that the Tennis Channel’s discrimination complaint was filed outside the one-year FCC complaint window. One of the judges said that it was “ludicrous” for the FCC to suggest that a complaint could be filed anytime somebody wanted. Tennis Channel argues that if such a time limit were placed on complaints, then companies such as Comcast could wait for a year after a contract is signed and then discriminate against them as much as they like. Comcast counters that being told where to place Tennis Channel is an invasion of its First Amendment rights because it is being ordered what to do editorially, and that it has a constitutional right to favor its own speech over others, so long as it does not do so for anti-competitive reasons. There is no timetable set for the judges ruling, but a decision is expected in a few months.
ESPN3 and ESPN2 to televise BNP Paribas Showdown on March 4
ESPN3 and ESPN2 will present live the BNP Paribas Showdown 2013 from Madison Square Garden in New York on Monday, March 4, with two star-studded matches: a US Open rematch between the world’s top two ranked players, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka followed by Rafael Nadal – who recently returned to action after being sidelined since Wimbledon last summer – facing former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro. ESPN holds exclusive live rights to the matches, and ESPN3 will begin at 7 p.m. ET with ESPN2 joining at 9 p.m. Chris Fowler will call the matches with Cliff Drysdale, Mary Joe Fernandez and Patrick McEnroe. The Nadal-Del Potro match will also be available on broadband in the U.S. in Spanish on ESPN Deportes +.
ATP announces ATP World Tour Tournaments of the Year Awards
The ATP announced the winners of the 2012 ATP World Tour Tournament Awards on Monday, with the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the SkiStar Swedish Open all maintaining their status as the most favored tournaments on the ATP World Tour in their respective categories. Shanghai, Dubai and Båstad continue to set the standard at ATP World Tour Masters 1000, 500 and 250- level respectively. The ATP World Tour Tournament Awards, voted annually by ATP players, recognize the leading standards set across the three tournament categories on the Tour. Brad Drewett, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said: “These awards represent a true endorsement from the world’s best players who clearly value the effort these tournaments make in setting the highest standards on the ATP World Tour year after year. They are each fantastic events in their own right, and very deserving of their awards.” Ever since its first edition as an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 four years ago, the Shanghai Rolex Masters has earned the award in the top category. The 2012 tournament came to a dramatic conclusion withNovak Djokovic saving five match points against Andy Murray in the final. The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, whose 2013 event got underway today, captured the ATP World Tour 500 award for the ninth time in 10 years. Most remarkable is the SkiStar Swedish Open in Båstad, which continued its dominance at the ATP World Tour 250-level, winning the award for an 11th consecutive year.
ATP launches rankings celebration as part of new ATP Heritage campaign
The ATP has announced the launch of a new ATP Heritage campaign on the back of a number of 40-year Emirates ATP Rankings celebrations planned for 2013. The ATP Heritage campaign, launched last week in Dubai by ATP Executive Chairman & President Brad Drewett, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, will serve as a platform through which the achievements of the world’s greatest players throughout the rich history of the ATP are showcased and celebrated, in 2013 and beyond. “Much of the success of the ATP World Tour today is owed to the wonderful champions from our past. Our tradition and history is something of immense value to everyone in our sport and, in 2013, we reach an important 40-year milestone with the beginning of the rankings in 1973,” said Drewett. “The rankings formed the core foundations of the ATP over four decades ago and have become a true marker through which excellence is measured and greatness defined in men’s professional tennis.” A number of different promotional initiatives celebrating 40 years of the Emirates ATP Rankings will take place throughout the 2013 season, ranging from a commemorative collectible book showcasing all former year-end ATP World Tour No. 1s; a gathering of former year-end ATP World Tour No. 1 players at a special celebration event in New York ahead of the US Open; new documentary-style TV programming; and a number of activations through new digital and social media content. With the support of its founding partner Rolex, the ATP Heritage campaign will recognize and celebrate all major ATP milestones and historic achievements in years to come, as well as showcasing the history of the ATP, the Emirates ATP Rankings, and the remarkable achievements of the world’s greatest players throughout history. “Rolex constantly strives to build on its heritage of excellence, acquired by successive generations over more than a century. Rolex is therefore a natural partner of the ATP Heritage campaign, and our support echoes Rolex’s long-standing and privileged relationship with tennis” said Arnaud Boetsch, Rolex Director Communication & Image. All the different elements of the campaign will be brought to life through a bespoke new section on the ATP World Tour website, launching today. Join the celebrations at: www.ATPWorldTour.com/Heritage
BNP Paribas Showdown announces marketing partners
MSG Sports and StarGames announced on Monday a world-class field of marketing partners for the 6thannual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on March 4, 2013. A strong collection of returning and new marketing partners has signed on to showcase their brands at the one-night only tennis special event, which is known to feature some of the greatest tennis players in the world. The 2013 BNP Paribas Showdown will not disappoint as the evening begins with an exciting matchup between 15-time Grand Slam champion and World No. 1 Serena Williams facing Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka. They will be followed by 11-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal making his Madison Square Garden debut against 2009 US Open Champion Juan Martin del Potro. Headlined by BNP Paribas, returning for the fifth consecutive year as the title sponsor, the 2013 marketing partners for the event include new partners Alpari, Dominican Republic Tourism, GEICO, Hong Kong Tourist Board, Kia Motors and smartwater®, along with returning partners Delta Air Lines, Getty Images, Hugo Boss, JW Marriott Essex House, NASDAQ OMX, Nespresso, Optimum, Sportime, Tennis.com, USTA and Wilson Tennis. “We are proud to have such a strong lineup of returning and new partners for the BNP Paribas Showdown, which has become one of the premier events in tennis. This enthusiasm serves as a testament to the important exposure these companies know they will receive by aligning themselves with world-class tennis players and The World’s Most Famous Arena for this unrivaled, one-night only experience,” said Greg Economou, executive vice president of corporate sales and solutions, MSG Sports. All marketing partners will receive multi-platform integration at the event, including on-site signage throughout Madison Square Garden, video spots on the GardenVision center-hung scoreboard, and in-arena PA reads. Select partners will receive added exposure through incorporation in national print, television, and digital advertising as well as involvement in a number of pre-event activities, including a Wilson junior tennis demonstration that will kick off the festivities for the evening. The Showdown will be broadcast live internationally in more than 130 countries, providing partners additional value outside of The Garden. Marketing partners for the Showdown are also leveraging the strength of the event through a variety of promotions and hospitality event integration: Delta Air Lines will host a Sky Miles auction for a chance to attend a clinic with one of the players; Hugo Boss will formally outfit the officials and ball kids, host a post-event VIP reception and conduct a Hugo Boss Best Dressed Fan contest during the event; Kia Motors will display the 2013 Optima Limited in the MSG Mall and courtside inside the Arena; Nespresso will once again provide exclusive coffee machines for the VIP receptions; Optimum will have several unique GardenVision features, including a seat upgrade for a lucky fan; smartwater® will be hydrating the players and Garden guests throughout the event; and JW Marriott will be the official hotel for the BNP Paribas Showdown and host the pre-match media day. In addition, BNP Paribas is the presenting partner for the third season of the Tennis Channel’s “World of Tennis presented by BNP Paribas,” a seven-episode bi-weekly magazine show that premiered on December 5, 2012. Also at the Showdown, MSG Sports and StarGames, in partnership with the United States Tennis Association, will continue their efforts to grow youth participation in the sport of tennis by supporting “Tennis Night in America” with a demonstration pre-match with players 10 years of age and younger. In 2012, the national Tennis Night in America program had over 2,000 tennis facilities in 48 states participate, making it the largest one-day grassroots program in all of tennis.
International Tennis Hall of Fame 2013 Enshrinees to be announced on March 4 in New York City
The Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will be announced on March 4 in New York City as part of the World Tennis Day festivities, and will be honored in a Center Court celebration at Madison Square Garden that evening during the BNP Paribas Showdown. The 2013 Hall of Fame Nominees include Martina Hingis, Michael Stich, Helena Sukova, Thelma Coyne Long, Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell and Ion Tiriac.
USTA names recipients of annual awards
The United States Tennis Association recently announced the six winners of its Annual Awards to be presented at the USTA Annual Meeting and Conference on March 17 at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure Conference Center in Weston, Fla. The honorees will be recognized for their dedication to growing the game at an awards luncheon. Carol Welder of Austin, Texas, earned the Barbara Williams Leadership Award, while Rick Draney of Utah earned the Brad Parks Award. Lewis “Skip” Hartman of Woodside, N.Y., will receive the USTA NJTL Founders’ Service Award, while USTA Atlanta/ Atlanta Community Tennis Association will be named the USTA Organization Member of the Year. The Osborn Family from Boise, ID, will be honored as the Ralph W. Westcott USTA Family of the Year, while Irving Levine of Massachusetts will take home the Seniors’ Service Award.
International Tennis Federation launches new Anti-Doping website
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced this past Friday that it has re-launched the official website of its Anti-Doping department: www.itftennis.com/antidoping. The new-look website is part of the ITF’s redesign of its family of websites, following the re-launch of the official ITF website, and Davis Cup and Fed Cup websites. The Anti-Doping site provides detailed information on the Tennis Anti-Doping Program, the WADA code and International Standards, and the Whereabouts Program. The new design has easy access to TUE and Product Information Request forms as well as links to, and downloads of, the 2013 Prohibited List. The education section provides an overview of the five main categories of prohibited substances as well as cartoons that illustrate the sample collection process.