2014/04/19

Merry Christmas From Tennis Panorama News

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(December 25, 2012) New York, NY – Tennis Panorama News wishes our readers who celebrate a very Merry Christmas.

 

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Djokovic Signs With IMG Worldwide

Novak Djokovic wins ATP World Tour Finals Copyright Getty Images

Novak Djokovic wins ATP World Tour Finals Copyright Getty Images

(December 21, 2012) IMG Worldwide has signed five-time major winner and  World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for “exclusive worldwide management and representation.”

The multi-year deal with IMG will represent the Serb in in developing a brand building strategy through marketing, endorsements, appearances and licensing along with select global business initiatives.

IMG Chairman and CEO Mike Dolan said of the announcement, “Novak Djokovic is a superbly talented tennis player, and world-class competitor who demonstrates a very strong character through his passion and commitment to his game. I believe he has the ability to translate those qualities into achieving great success working with global brands in the marketplace.”

“I’m very happy with how my career has been advancing these past few years. Working with IMG will continue to build off of that momentum. IMG’s expansive global footprint will offer me a truly unique set of resources to explore business opportunities that simply do not exist anywhere else in the industry,” said Novak Djokovic.

“We are very pleased to have a great champion such as Novak, who is widelyconsidered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, choose IMG to work with during this momentous time in his career,” noted Fernando Soler, Head of IMG’s Global Tennis division.

IMG represents other tennis players including Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Li Na and Thomas Berdych. IMG also helps to run and represents pther tournaments including the Sony Open, Australian Open, Chennai Open, Wimbledon, Barcelona Open and a new event in Rio de Janeiro to be played for the first time in 2014, among others.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panroama

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Djokovic Among Recipients of ATP ACES For Charity Grants

 

From the ATP:LONDON — The Novak Djokovic Foundation, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi’s Stop War Start Tennis, and the Washington Tennis & Education Fund have been selected among 14 recipients in the ATP ACES For Charity grant program for 2013. Grants of $10,000 each are awarded by the ATP on an annual basis to charitable causes nominated by ATP World Tour players and tournaments.

The recipients support a wide range of causes worldwide, including childhood education in Serbia and Malaysia; tennis programs for disadvantaged youth in Colombia, Portugal and Tanzania; healthcare in Cincinnati, Eastbourne and the Ukraine; and social services for the elderly in Romania.

Entering its third year in 2013, the ATP ACES For Charity program is a global initiative aimed at giving back to communities where ATP World Tour events are played, as well as recognising and supporting tournament and player charitable initiatives.

Visit the new ATP ACES For Charity section on ATPWorldTour.com

The recipients of the 2013 ATP ACES For Charity grants are:

Players

Novak Djokovic: The Novak Djokovic Foundation, launched in 2007, is an advocate for childhood development and inclusive preschool education that enables children from disadvantaged communities – especially in Serbia – to grow up, play and develop in a stimulative, creative and safe environment. The ATP ACES For Charity grant will aid the Foundation in opening and renovating kindergartens and spaces where children can play together and learn through programs carefully crafted by professionals.

Alejandro Falla: Tennis For Colombia encourages the personal and social development of unprivileged ball kids who start working at local tennis clubs at a young age to support their families, thereby limiting their chance of receiving a good education. Nominated by Alejandro Falla and created by a group of tennis players, all of whom serve as ‘godfathers’ of a child in the program, Tennis For Colombia provides academic scholarships so the children can have an education and improve their opportunities in life.

Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi: Stop War Start Tennis, founded by Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, is dedicated to promoting peace through tennis. The foundation aims to use the sport as a bridge to unite communities and nations that have been torn apart by conflict to reconcile their differences and heal the wounds of war. Qureshi visits numerous project sites through Stop War Start Tennis – travelling to Iraq, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Pakistan during 2012 – partaking in a meet and greet, on-court tennis activity, and official meeting to discuss how the project can be further developed.

Tommy Robredo: The Tommy Robredo Foundation organises activities which allow sports training for people with a disability, mainly wheelchair tennis. It also raises awareness of the importance of sport as beneficial to mental and physical health, and as a stimulant to personal growth and well-being. The Foundation holds an international wheelchair tennis tournament, the Santi Silvas Open, which attracts the world’s top male and female players and will celebrate its fifth edition in 2013.

Olivier Rochus: Tennis for Africa, nominated by its ambassador Olivier Rochus, offers assistance to children and families in need on the African continent. Since 1998, the foundation has raised funds for humanitarian projects through online auctions and the organisation of sports and cultural activities. The ATP ACES For Charity grant will benefit a sports charity project in Tanzania, which aims to promote the social and cultural development of children through the principles of sport and specifically through tennis.

Sergiy Stakhovsky: Ace the Cancer provides a $5 donation to the National Institute of Cancer Ukraine for each ace served by Sergiy Stakhovsky during the ATP World Tour season, with the money going towards research and prevention of cancer in its early stages. Stakhovsky, whose father works at the National Institute of Cancer, established Ace the Cancer in honour of his uncle who passed away due to stomach cancer following a late diagnosis and periodically visits the Institute when he is in Kiev.

Janko Tipsarevic: Čika Boca, founded by parents of cancer patients and nominated by Janko Tiparevic, is a support group for families affected by childhood cancer. Among its many activities, the foundation collects funds and runs blood drives, provides legal assistance, and works with medical staff and organisations to improve treatment and conditions. Čika Boca also hosts a rehabilitation camp, called Tipsy Camp, which serves to reduce anxiety and fear for the children recovering from cancer.

Alex Corretja (Alumni): Small, supported by Alex Corretja, aims to improve medical treatment for childhood cancer and the quality of the hospital stay for children and their families. The ATP ACES For Charity grant will support Small’s latest project, the building of a new Day Hospital for the Pediatric Oncology Service for the Hospital Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, which will support those patients who can receive treatment on an outpatient basis.

Tournaments

BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy (Bucharest): The Dumbrava Minunată Foundation, supported by the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy tournament, is dedicated to the well-being of vulnerable social groups, including impoverished elderly people in Romania. Established by Ion Tiriac and a team of trained caregivers, it created The Poiana Soarelui Bakery – which now has a network of shops – with the purpose of providing financial revenues to support their social work. The Foundation is currently focused on the project, “Let’s live with dignity; old age is not a burden”. The program aims to improve the situation of marginalised seniors in Brasov by designing and promoting integrated social services.

Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati): The Dragonfly Foundation, which works exclusively with children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, provides comfort and joy to kids and young adults with cancer and blood diseases. Its services fall into three categories: gifting programs for patients, families and hospitals; caring and support programs; and social events and entertainment. The Western & Southern Open has been played for the benefit of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center since 1974.

Aegon International (Eastbourne): St Wilfrid’s Hospice, a charity partner of the Aegon International, provides care for adults with a life-threatening illness. It offers a Hospice at Home service, through which qualified nurses and support workers care for patients in their homes. St Wilfrid’s is also currently developing a new hospice building – a modern, purpose-built facility in Eastbourne – which will double its current inpatient capacity and improve the patient care provided.

Estoril Open: The Academia dos Champs (ADC), supported by the Estoril Open since its launch in 2009, aims to enable as many children as possible to take control of their future and to actively shape it through tennis. It identifies locations where a need is spotted and establishes ADC Tennis Centres, offering tennis lessons and tournaments through which children develop social and personal skills that will provide them with a sense of direction. The ATP ACES for Charity grant will support the cost of a new centre in the Cascais Municipality for a year.

Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur: The Dignity for Children Foundation, nominated by the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur, operates one of the largest one-stop learning centres for urban poor children in Malaysia and currently serves 700 children between the ages of two and 20. It has eight education programs – ranging from early childhood education and vocational training to sports development and teacher training – tailored to meet the needs of the children to ensure they acquire the academic and social personal skills crucial to their success in breaking the cycle of poverty.

Citi Open (Washington, DC): The Washington Tennis & Education Fund (WTEF), a beneficiary of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, combines tennis and education in two main programs that serve 1,000 children annually. It seeks to improve the life prospects of DC youth, particularly those from lower income communities, through academic, athletic and community-building activities that teach discipline, build confidence and improve academic performance. The grant will support its flagship Arthur Ashe Children’s Program, specifically funding the round-robin ‘tennis meet’ competitions between 24 schools.

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Australian Open Raises Prize Money For Early Round Losers

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(December 20, 2012) The Australian Open 2013 men’s and women’s singles champions will each receive AUD$2,430,000. The total prize money for the tournament AUD$31,000,000. Early round losers will see a boost in prize money.

The biggest percentage increases were in the first three rounds: first round up to $27,600 (up 32.7% from $20,800), second round up to $45,500 (up 36.6% from $33,300) and third round to $71,000 (from $54,625, up 30%).
Prize money for the three rounds of qualifying has gone up nearly 15%.
First round doubles prize money has increased more than 30%.
Round of 16, quarters, semis have all gone up more than 14%.

Tennis Australia  says that it had consulted both tours taking their recommendations for the first step in a four year plan for prize money increases.

“Our motivation is to make a major contribution toward helping ensure professional tennis players can make a decent living,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said. “As we have said in the past, it is a real issue and needs to be urgently addressed throughout the sport.”

“That is why the biggest increases are in the earlier rounds, qualifying and doubles which in effect rewards a lot of the lower ranked players for their achievements which, by the way, should not be undersold. To just reach the main draw of a Slam, a professional tennis player has to be among the top 100 in what is one of, if not the most, competitive professional sport in the world.

“At the same time we also still want to continue to recognize the incredible drawing power and contribution of the top players.

“It is always a balance which is why we undertook unprecedented consultation on this subject with the tours and players who have been extremely supportive,” Tiley said. “We will not be stopping here. There will be more talks and more increases during the next four years. This is just a very positive first step.”

Australian Open 2013 prize money breakdown

(All amounts in Australian dollars)

Men’s Singles

2012

2013

Women’s Singles

2012

2013

Winner

$2,300,000

$2,430,000

Winner

$2,300,000

$2,430,000

Runner Up

$1,150,000

$1,215,000

Runner Up

$1,150,000

$1,215,000

Semi Finals

$437,000

$500,000

Semi Finals

$437,000

$500,000

Quarter Final

$218,500

$250,000

Quarter Final

$218,500

$250,000

Round of 16

$109,250

$125,000

Round of 16

$109,250

$125,000

Round of 32

$54,625

$71,000

Round of 32

$54,625

$71,000

Round of 64

$33,300

$45,500

Round of 64

$33,300

$45,500

First Round

$20,800

$27,600

First Round

$20,800

$27,600

Men’s Doubles

2012

2013

Women’s Doubles

2012

2013

Winner

$454,500

$475,000

Winner

$454,500

$475,000

Runner Up

$227,250

$237,500

Runner Up

$227,250

$237,500

Semi Finals

$113,000

$118,750

Semi Finals

$113,000

$118,750

Quarter Final

$56,000

$60,000

Quarter Final

$56,000

$60,000

Round of 16

$31,500

$33,500

Round of 16

$31,500

$33,500

Round of 32

$17,200

$19,500

Round of 32

$17,200

$19,500

First Round

$9,600

$12,500

First Round

$9,600

$12,500

Men’s Qualifying Singles

2012

2013

Women’s Qualifying Singles

2012

2013

Round of 32

$11,440

$13,120

Round of 32

$11,440

$13,120

Round of 64

$5,710

$6,560

Round of 64

$5,710

$6,560

First Round

$2,860

$3,280

First Round

$2,860

$3,280

Mixed Doubles

2012

2013

Winner

$135,500

$135,500

Runner Up

$67,500

$67,500

Semi Finals

$33,900

$33,900

Quarter Final

$15,500

$15,500

Round of 16

$7,800

$7,800

First Round

$3,800

$3,800

 

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Levine To Play For Canada

Jesse Levine (Photo by Erik Gudris)

Jesse Levine (Photo by Erik Gudris)

(December 19, 2012)  Tennis Canada has announced that 25-year-old Jesse Levine, currently ranked No. 104 on the ATP World Tour has decided to represent his birth country and play for Canada on tour.

“We are pleased that Jesse has decided to play for Canada,” said Tennis Canada President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Downey. “We believe he can strengthen our Davis Cup team and add depth to our roster when he is eligible to play.”

Levine was born in Ottawa and spent the first 13 years of his life in Canada before moving to the United States.

 

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Serena Williams Has Surgery On Her Big Toes

 

Serena Day 2 Press Conference

(December 19, 2012) According to an Associated Press report, Serena Williams has had surgery on her big toes  which forced her to withdraw from an exhibition match with Victoria Azarenka scheduled for later this month in Thailand.

The AP report  states:

“A medical certificate from Florida podiatrist Jeffrey Rockefeller says Williams “was treated for a chronic foot disorder which involved minor procedures on both of her great toes.”

He said she needs to minimize activity to fully recover.”

No. 3 Williams, a 15-time major winner was named WTA Player of the Year after capturing Wimbledon, the US Open and the gold medal in the Olympic Games. She was off the tour for a year after capturing Wimbledon in 2010 due to foot surgery and a blood clot in her lung.

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Thirteen American Men Accepted Into Australian Open Qualies

James Blake

James Blake

(December 18, 2012) Thirteen American men have been accepted into the Qualifying draw of the 2013 Australian Open. They include James Blake, Jack Sock, Steve Johnson, Denis Kudla, Alex Kuznetsov, Wayne, Rajeev Ram, Tennys Sandgren, Tim Smyczek, Ryan Sweeting, Michael Yani and Donald Young.

 

Rhyne Williams also was accepted into qualifying, but Williams claimed a wild card entry into the main draw by winning the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoff last weekend. Bradley Klahn and Daniel Kosakowski are the second and third listed alternates, respectively.

 

The 2013 Australian Open qualifying tournament begins on January 7 in Melbourne.

 

The USTA reports that Jesse Levine is listed as an American on the Australian Open qualifying acceptance list, but will be representing Canada in Melbourne.

 

The Australian Open women’s qualifying acceptance list will be announced at a later date.

 

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ATP Statement Regarding 2013 US Open Prize Money / Monday Final

(December 17, 2012) ATP Statement Regarding 2013 US Open Prize Money / Monday Final

Following last week’s announcement regarding the 2013 US Open prize money and the modification of the schedule to a Monday final, the ATP said:

2013 PRIZE MONEY
The prize money increase announced by the US Open for 2013 is appreciated and, together with the 2012 increase, represents the largest increase by the US Open since the ATP Tour began in 1990. However, over the last nine months the ATP and its players have asked that the US Open fully recognise the fundamental role of the players in driving US Open revenues, which are the largest in our sport.

The ATP therefore remains committed to continuing discussions on this issue, with the objective of ensuring that the players’ share of the revenues at the US Open truly reflects the value that they generate for the event.

2013 MONDAY FINAL
By modifying the schedule to allow a rest day between the semi-finals and the final, the US Open has recognised the incredible physical demands of men’s tennis.

However, the ATP and its players have made it clear to the US Open that we do not support a Monday final. 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. 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.

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Keys and Williams Capture Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs

 

(December 16, 2012) NORCROSS, Ga.,  – 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.

 

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.”

 

The fourth-seeded Burdette, who made the third round of the US Open this summer and turned pro shortly after, gave the 137th-ranked Keys her most difficult match of the tournament. Each went back and forth with breaks in the first set until Keys held at five-all and carried that momentum into the second.

 

“She definitely kind of hit her stride at five-all, started serving much better, much more difficult for me to break her serve, and that just put more pressure back on my service game,” Burdette said. “So, hats off to her. I think she played very well and sustained it throughout the second set. I definitely had my chances there in the first, so I’m a little bit disappointed, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

 

Williams and Smyczek, meanwhile, split the first two sets of the best-of-five match, but the 21-year old Williams found control of his powerful forehand to pull away.

 

“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.

 

“Tim, he’s been playing incredible to end the year. He beat me the last two times, and I woke up this morning and just told myself I was going to try to give myself the best chance to win,” Williams added. “Everything just kind of came together, and I played some of the best tennis I’ve ever played.”

 

It was Williams’ first win over Smyczek in three tries this year, and it leaves the 24-year old from Milwaukee, ranked No. 128, to attempt to qualify for the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 14 in Melbourne.

 

“He just kind of reeled off several winners, and it seemed like every time I had at least a shadow of an opportunity he came up with something big,” Smyczek said. “The beauty of this tournament is that I get another chance to try to qualify, so I’m playing good tennis, and I’m putting in the work this offseason, so I’m really excited for Australia.”

Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs

At Life Time Athletic & Tennis

Norcross, Ga.

Finals

 

Men

(3) Rhyne Williams d. (1) Tim Smyczek, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3, 6-3

 

Women

(3) Madison Keys d. (4) Mallory Burdette, 7-5, 6-3

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In Perspective – Not All About Tennis at the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs

 

(December 14, 2012) NORCROSS, GA – I spent the day at the quarterfinal round of the playoff for the US wildcard entry to next month’s Australian Open.  I saw young and upcoming Americans, such as Madison Keys and Christian Harrison, and veteran pros, such as Bethanie Mattek-Sands, trying to get into the draw.  At this level, where players are ranked anywhere from 123 to 474, it is always amazing to see the pace and depth and placement of shots, knowing the ability of these athletes is so close to those who get automatic entries into the Slams and Masters tournaments.

 

But after watching three plus matches, I decided on my way home to focus my report on one of the smallest folks at the tournament.  I had the pleasure of watching Matthew, from Vidalia, GA, do his job as a ball boy at the matches I watched.  He was by far the smallest in stature of the ball people; at the net he did not need to kneel because his head barely cleared the net.  I’m able to say that he was on the ball, pardon my pun, for the matches he worked.  In the last match, due to a shortage of ball people, he was the only person at the net for a set and a half.  But there he was, running for every ball anywhere close to him, realizing when not to roll the ball to the baseline because the server was ready.  Having to take extra strides with those small legs, he was as active as any player on the court.  However, when I told him after the match what a great job he had done, his nonverbal response was he was just doing his job.

 

Earlier this year in Gijon, Spain, at the US vs. Spain Davis Cup tie, I was impressed by another ball person.  She is taller, older, and, sorry Matthew, prettier than Matthew.  She appropriately had a ponytail because she reminded me of a pony trying out his legs, somewhat uncoordinated at times.  The first day the Netheads had to agree that she was not on the ball.  She, sorry for being politically incorrect, threw the ball “like a girl” with the ball going all over the place.  She would daydream occasionally and forget to chase a ball.  When one ball hit the serve speed clock and took a weird bounce, she took forever to find the ball.

 

But she never gave up and never lost her smile. The second day she was vastly improved (she learned to roll the balls rather than throw them) and by the last day she was approaching Matthew’s level.  I was able to meet her along with her fellow ball folks before the last day’s matches and I could see the smile and joy in her eyes.  And since she understood much more English than I understood Spanish, I was able to tell her she was doing a good job.

 

Why focus on ball kids?  While I was at the tennis matches I was incommunicado with the outside world.  It wasn’t until the ride home did I hear about the events at the school in Connecticut today.  It wasn’t until I reached home and turned on the TV did the magnitude of what happened really hit me.

 

The children who did not survive today will miss out on so much.  They should be enjoying the simple pleasures of life, such as being a ball person at a tennis tournament.

 

I just hope Matthew’s parents know to give him a big hug when he gets home tonight.  I hope the pretty Spanish girl also gets a big hug from her parents every day.

 

The events of today definitely put perspective on the importance of tennis matches in our lives.  Today reminded us what is important in life.  At the next professional tennis match you attend, if you have a chance, thank a ball person who has done a good job.  And as you are thanking them, remember those who will never get that opportunity.

 

By David Foster

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