By Liz Kobak
Nadal, Williams Win Emirates Airline US Open Series
Rafael Nadal clinched the 2013 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s title on Monday after John Isner withdrew from the Winston-Salem Open due to hip injury. Only Isner could have potentially surpassed Nadal in points.
The World No. 2 accumulated 200 points after winning the 2013 Western & Southern Open and therefore competes for $3.6 Million at the 2013 US Open, the largest payout in tennis history.
Serena Williams clinched the 2013 Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s title on Saturday after defeating China’s Li Na in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open. The World No. 1 also vies for $3.6 million in potential US Open prize money, including $1 million in possible bonus prize money as Series and Open champion.
The Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge produced some of tennis’ largest payouts for men (Roger Federer won $2.4 Million in 2007) and women (Kim Clijsters won $2.2 Million in 2005 and 2010).
Bartoli Retires, Shocks World
Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli surprised everyone when she announced her retirement from the WTA tour last Wednesday after losing in three sets during the Western & Southern Open to Romania’s Simona Halep.
“Everyone will remember my Wimbledon title,” said tearful Bartoli during her press conference. “No one will remember the last match I played here.”
Personal sponsors may or may not pull out following this announcement, according to sports industry experts.
“She might lose mid six figures from endorsers but also frees up time to do things off the court,” said Ben Sturner, CEO and Founder of sports marketing firm Leverage Agency. “[One] Wouldn’t see too many endorsers dropping her unless maybe it’s a tennis specific brand.”
“I don’t think [Bartoli] is worried financially that it will affect her,” Sturner continued. “I won’t be surprised to see her in some exhibitions in the near future, especially in France.”
Bartoli won her first-ever Grand Slam six weeks prior without dropping one set. She became the first two-handed player on both sides to claim this title. Some wonder why Bartoli chose to compete in this event rather than retiring immediately following her Wimbledon victory. Her face still appears on a billboard outside of New Haven, where she was supposed to compete.
Murray, Djokovic To Play at Madison Square Garden
Reigning Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic are bringing their on-court rivalry to New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Tennis’ top dogs are playing two out of three sets on March 3, 2014 at the popular Metropolitan arena home to NBA’s Knicks and NHL’s Rangers.
Murray and Djokovic have played each other in three of the last four Grand Slam finals, with Murray leading 2-1 in head to head. Murray aims to defend his US Open title, in which he beat Djokovic in five hard sets last year. Top-ranked Djokovic defeated Murray in January’s Australian Open final, while Murray won their Wimbledon title match last month in three convincing sets.
Tickets go on sale Nov. 4, 2013.
“What Can Tennis Do To Improve Lives In Africa” Panel Set For Friday
Credit Suisse is hosting a media panel discussion “What Can Tennis Do To Improve Lives In Africa” on Friday morning, August 23 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. Panelists include Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA, Justin Gimelstob, Tennis Channel broadcaster, ATP Board Member, and former U.S. Davis Cup team member, Janine Handel, CEO of The Roger Federer Foundation, which is heavily involved in projects in Africa, and Lorne Abony, Chairman and CEO of Mood Media. Media wishing to cover and attend can RSVP to Randy Walker at Rwalker@NewChapterMedia.com.
Bloomberg Sports Launches “Slam Insights,” Enhanced Tennis Analytics
Sports analytic technology giant Bloomberg Sports recently announced that it will introduce enhanced tennis analytics leading into the 2013 US Open.
“Slam Insights” provides fans and media with various specific content of all ATP and WTA main draw players in preparation for the US Open’s start on Monday, August 26. This is Bloomberg Sports’ most extensive tennis analytics endeavor, following similar Major League Baseball and NFL work.
“We are very pleased to be able to offer ‘Slam Insights’ as another example of how our enhanced analytic tools can help improve the fan and media experience, this time for tennis,” said Bloomberg Sports President Bill Squadron. “The new tennis features will provide insights into player performance that will be fun, innovative and engaging for those who love analytics and those with a passion for tennis.”
The software technically launches during the US Open’s qualifying tournament. All updates are available here: http://www.bsports.com/slaminsights.
US Open Serves New Dining Spaces
The United States Tennis Association announced on Monday that this year’s US Open will introduce attendees with versatile culinary experiences, unlike food offered in previous years.
Celebrity chefs and renowned local chains are serving fans their unique cuisine. David Burke is overseeing Champions Bar & Grill and Iron Chef contestant Masaharu Morimoto is head chef at Wine Bar Food. Get freshly tossed salads and hand-made sandwiches at Village Market. Sit-down restaurant Mojito Restaurant & Bar is bringing South Beach to Manhattan through more outdoor tables, cocktails and overall fresh aesthetic feel. The new Oyster Bar serves up fresh seafood from raw oysters to lobster rolls. New Yorkers are raving about delicious Texas barbeque chain Hill County BBQ, which serves pit-smoked turkey and chopped brisket sandwiches.
Tournament players are also in for new and improved dining experiences. The player’s longue introduces Balance Kitchen, where Grand Slam participants enjoy freshly made smoothies, gluten-free items among other healthy food items. In addition to these goodies, nutritional information is available on iPads throughout this café.
The US Open is the world’s highest-attended annual sporting event, attracting more than 700,000 fans throughout the tournament. That means many hungry fans will invest in this Grand Slam’s food offerings. The 2.4 million napkins in general concessions are comprised of 100% recycled material, promoting environmentalism.
For more information about the US Open, including an event guide, schedule and tickets, visit www.usopen.org.
USTA Silent Auction Benefiting Foundation
The United States Tennis Association is hosting its 13th Annual Opening Night Gala at the US Open benefiting USTA National Charitable Foundation USTA Serves.
The auction is taking place in Arthur Ashe’s President Suite on August 26 at 5:15 p.m. All proceeds go toward scholarships and community programs while integrating tennis. Those interested in participating are welcome to e-mail email@example.com.
Cincinnati Sets Attendance Record
The Western & Southern Open opened its doors to more people during its qualifying tournament than its 2006 main draw attendance high.
Crowds of 13,204 people watched matches throughout the Lindner Family Tennis Center grounds. The previous record of 11,915 was set during the Tuesday afternoon main draw session of the ATP World Tour men’s tournament in 2006.
It was the first year that this Cincinatti-based event hosted ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 events concurrently and in the same week.
Malaysian Open Release Tournament Entry List
The five-year-old $984,300 Malaysian Open – played at Putra Stadium in Kuala Lumpur from Sept. 21-29 2013, released its full entry list last Wednesday.
This high prize money tennis tournament is featuring big names and up-and-coming ones among its 28 main draw spots. Roland Garros Finalist David Ferrer, world No.9 Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, past tournament winners Nikolay Davydenko and Juan Monaco and finalist Marcos Baghdatis are expected to compete. Top 20 player Marin Cilic, who recently failed his ATP drug test, might make his debut here. Newcomers Vasek Pospisil (CAN) and Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) are also seeking success in Kuala Lumpur.
“We are delighted that so many marquee names have decided to come to KL to celebrate our fifth birthday,” said Tournament Director Nick Freyer, of organisers IMG. “In addition to the previously announced top 10 marquee players, stars of the future and previous finalists, we now welcome additional top players.”
Liz Kobak is a 2010 graduate of Columbia University and Northwestern University journalism master’s recipient. She is a former WTA ranked pro, #1 ranked United States junior tennis player who rates her 6-4, 6-1 win on Italian clay over Sara Errani as her best victory.