By Liz Kobak
Australian Open Increases Prize Money
Wimbledon offered about $36.5 million in prize money in 2013, while the U.S. Open increased its purse to $34.3 million this year. The French Open’s prize money in 2013 was $29.7 million.
Australian Open officials, however, did not break down the prize money awarded per round Wednesday, but men and women will receive equal amounts as in previous years. The prize money increase is up $7 million in the last two years.
The Australian Open also announced progress of the new roof on Margaret Court Arena, its No. 3 court. The roof will be fixed in an open position for next year’s event and fully retractable for 2015. A photo on their Facebook page can be founder here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151950173788615&set=a.165541748614.147377.48160623614&type=1&theater Also, Roger Federer has been enlisted as Ambassador for the tournament’s Kids’ Tennis Day and will join fellow players and Nickelodeon characters at a special Rod Laver Arena show on Saturday 11 January. Pete Sampras will also return to the event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his first Australian Open title. Kia Motors has extended its sponsorship until at least 2018 and Jacob’s Creek has signed on for another five years. Hisense also joins the Australian Open as official supplier of TV’s.
Battle of the Sexes Between Djokovic, Li Raises Charity Money
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic played China’s first Grand Slam singles winner Li Na in a Beijing charity match Friday night to celebrate the China Open’s 10th anniversary.
Djokovic and Na entertained Beijing’s Olympic Park’s 12,000 fans with fun and banter. Na edged the recently engaged Djokovic 3-2 in the comical mini-set they played.
“Tonight’s exhibition match with Li Na here at the China Open in Beijing was a lot of fun,” said Djokovic, who defends his world No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking against No. 2 Rafael Nadal in next week’s China Open. “[It] was all about the kids to put a smile on their faces, get them excited about tennis and hopefully inspire them to become champions one day.”
According to China Daily, each ace Li hit earned $6,178 for charity. One of Li’s sponsors, Kunlun Mountains Mineral Water, reportedly donated China Soong Ching Ling Foundation 100,000 yuan after Li’s win.
Tennis Commentator Raises Money for Local Tennis
ESPN tennis analyst Brad Gilbert gave back to his tennis community last Saturday.
The former top five ATP singles player participated in Davie Fest, a tennis benefit held in Gilbert’s hometown of Oakland, CA. The event raised money to enhance local tennis facilities and provide complimentary tennis programs for underprivileged youth through exhibition tennis matches and lessons. Gilbert played doubles against South African tennis legend Wayne Ferreira, taught group clinics and held hitting sessions. All proceeds go toward Oakland’s public tennis initiatives.
To learn more about this event or donate to its cause, visit http://www.daviefest.org/.
Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy Hosting Fall Women’s Pro Circuit Event
Founders of The Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy announced on Friday that they are hosting the South Seas Island Resort $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Pro Classic Nov. 3-10, 2013 at the award-winning South Seas Island Resort in Captiva, FL.
Seeing as this is the final 2013 USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Event and opportunity for WTA tour players to earn points leading up to the 2014 Australian Open, the hard court tournament competition is bound to be fierce. In addition to rising tennis stars earning points, money and fans, their tennis results benefit three local philanthropic organizations: the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Madisen’s Match and Partners for Breast Cancer Care, Inc.
“We are thrilled to have been selected to host the South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic,” said Tournament Director and Academy Co-Founder Nick Blackwood. “The tournament will not only bring highly competitive tennis to our area that will give the excitement and experience of the professional game up close, but it will also benefit our community and the three philanthropic causes we are supporting.”
The Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy was founded by former top 15 ATP Tour player Andrei Pavel and successful junior development coach Nick Blackwood. Their academy provides premier training opportunities for juniors, professional players and adults of all levels.
For more information on the South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic, visit www.facebook.com/www.ssirproclassic.com.
ATP, PROSERIES Announce Chilling Partnership
The ATP and PROSERIES announced a new deal on Thursday where PROSERIES Ice Wraps became the ATP World Tour’s Official Ice Wrap.
The sports medicine company receives worldwide marketing rights from now until the end of 2015.
“We’re pleased to have signed this agreement with PROSERIES that will further enhance the service we provide to our players in helping them compete at the highest level on the Tour,” said ATP Chief Player Officer Andre Silva. “The health of our players is paramount for the overall success of the Tour.”
PROSERIES manufactures an ice wrap line in the United States that regulates pain and inflammation, which players experience more often than not during competition. These ice wraps are joint specific and are therefore easily applied onto athletes’ elbows, knees and shoulders.
“After working behind the scenes for years with the ATP, PROSERIES is excited about our new partnership agreement, and we look forward to supplying the men’s professional tennis tour for years to come,” said PROSERIES Director of Operations Dave Schroeder. “It is gratifying to know that our products are helping the world’s best athletes, like those on the ATP World Tour, to stay healthy and compete at their best.”
PROSERIES is now an official ATP World Tour supplier, providing products that ATP physiotherapists and tour players require.
Own the Zone Launches World’s First Biodegradable Tennis Sports Grip
Own the Zone Sporting Goods announced on Monday that it is selling EcoGrip™, the world’s first biodegradable tennis, badminton, squash and racketball overgrips.
Grip creators had specific goals in mind when launching this unique product.
“First, the grip had to play just as well as the best overgrips on the market. Second, when the grip was replaced and discarded it had to biodegrade and break down naturally in the environment within one year or less,” said Own the Zone Co-President David Marcus. “Every year hundreds of millions of discarded tennis and badminton overgrips are being thrown into garbage dumps and landfills around our planet.”
Top players and teaching pros say EcoGrip plays great if not better than best-selling overgrips. These players include 14-year-old Les Petit As and USTA Girl’s 16s Clay Court Champion CiCi Bellis and Berkeley Tennis Club’s Director of Tennis Lynne Rolley.
Want these grips? Visit http://www.otzsports.com
The Nigerian Tennis Federation recently stated that it’s organizing two-week prize money tennis tournament Governer’s Cup Oct. 13-27 in Lagos.
The ITF sanctioned men’s and women’s tournaments – totaling prize money upward of $80,000 – is sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria, FCMB Plc., LASACO Assurance Plc., CCECC Limited, PLYCON Limited among others and is taking place at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, featuring diverse competition. Local Nigerian players who receive few tournament play opportunities and world-traveling tennis players will convene here, vying for points and prize money.
NTF President Sani Ndanusa said the federation is providing special accommodations for local tennis hopefuls.
“The camping is one of our contributions to prepare our players psychological and technically for this year’s Governor’s Cup,” Ndanusa said. “The plan is to select 10 players and prepare them with the help of two coaches for two weeks in Lagos before the competition. We have the support of the LOC on this camping and it is our expectation that the players will put up good performance this year.”
Liz Kobak won the 2013 USTA National Women’s Open Singles Grass Court Championship. She is a 2010 Columbia University graduate and Northwestern University journalism master’s recipient. She is a former WTA ranked pro and #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.