April 30, 2016

Raymond Moore Steps Down as CEO and Tournament Director of BNP Paribas Open

(March 21, 2016) The BNP Paribas Open has put out a release announcing that Raymond Moore has resigned from his CEO and Tournament Director position at the tournament. Here is the official release:
RAYMOND MOORE STEPS DOWN AS
CEO AND TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OF THE BNP PARIBAS OPEN
“Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak with Raymond Moore,” said BNP Paribas Open Owner, Larry Ellison. “Ray let me know that he has decided to step down from his roles as CEO and Tournament Director effective immediately. I fully understand his decision.”
“Nearly half a century ago, Billie Jean King began her historic campaign for the equal treatment of women in tennis. What followed is an ongoing, multi-generational, progressive movement to treat women and men in sports equally. Thanks to the leadership of Billie Jean, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and so many other great women athletes, an important measure of success has already been achieved. I’m proud to say that it is now a decade long tradition at our tournament at Indian Wells, and all the major tennis tournaments, to pay equal prize money to both the women and the men.”
“I would like to personally thank all the great women athletes who fought so hard for so many years in the pursuit of equal prize money in professional tennis. And I’d like to congratulate them on their success. All of us here at the BNP Paribas Open promise to continue working with everyone to make tennis a better sport for everybody,” concluded Ellison.

Indian Wells CEO Issues Apology for Sexist Comments; Serena Williams Reacts

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Indian Wells CEO Issues Apology for Sexist Comments; Serena Williams Reacts

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(March 20, 2016) At the BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells Tennis Garden CEO Raymond Moore told the media in a Sunday morning news conference that WTA players “ride on the coattails of the men.”  Here are some excerpts from the news conference:

 

How about the WTA side? Now you are one of the four premier mandatory. Would you like to be set apart from the other tournaments, as well, or are you happy…
RAYMOND MOORE: No, I think the WTA — you know, in my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, (laughter) because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky.

If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have.

And now the mantle is being handed over to Djokovic and Murray and some others. You know, that’s good. We have no complaints. You know, we pay equal prize money. Do all those things. We don’t have any complaints.

But we are one of the four premier mandatory events. They haven’t said anything about changing that system.

Q. This used to be a three-man show. Now it’s a one-man show. Does that mean you never needed those two other guys (Laughter)? How have you reengineered this whole thing?
RAYMOND MOORE: Well, you know, Bill, to answer that, I think last year I had my 35th birthday, and now look what I look like. Steve leaving me here has contributed to my aging.

No, listen, you know, Charlie and Steve and myself and other people, everyone is passionate about this event. We sat and discussed concepts, where we wanted to go, and we are all at one.

If Charlie, Steve, and I were in here there would be no disagreements on concept and what we want to do with the sport.

Q. You said that there were six superstars in this game. I presume that’s four top men.
RAYMOND MOORE: Yes.

Q. And Serena?
RAYMOND MOORE: And Maria.

Q. Now Maria is out of the picture for…
RAYMOND MOORE: For a while.

Q. For a while. What’s that say about a sport that has one superstar?
RAYMOND MOORE: Well, I don’t think you can look at it that way. I mean, Maria is a superstar. She’s an incredible superstar. Well-known throughout the world, everywhere. She may be sidelined for a while. She made a huge mistake and hopefully she doesn’t pay that price, you know, the ultimate price, career-ending suspension or anything like that.

So we sit and wait for a while or to make a decision and give their judgment.

But Serena and Maria are superstars. In the world, they are by far the two best-known female athletes, no question.

Q. What does it say that there isn’t enough competition for them?
RAYMOND MOORE: Well, you know, it’s just one of those things where one lady has come in and dominated. You know, you can’t provide for that. Serena, as I said earlier, is arguably the best female player of all time. Certainly has always been in the conversation for maybe the top three. Some people may say Steffi Graf, Margaret Court, Chrissie, Martina. I think those are the five.

But she’s in there. If she stays healthy and interested, I think she’s going to beat Steffi Graf’s Grand Slam take.

But you know what? I think the WTA have a handful – not just one or two – but they have a handful of very attractive prospects that can assume the mantle. You know, Muguruza, Genie Bouchard. They have a lot of very attractive players. And the standard in ladies tennis has improved unbelievably.

Q. By attractive, you mean physically attractive or competitively attractive?
RAYMOND MOORE: No, no, no, I don’t — I mean both. They are physically attractive and competitively attractive. They can assume the mantle of leadership once Serena decides to stop.

I think they’ve got — they really have quite a few very, very attractive players.

Q. Your attendance is probably not going to go above last year.
RAYMOND MOORE: Right.

Q. Why is that? Is it obvious it’s Federer and Sharapova? How do you take an event like this and continue to grow it when that number gets so big?
RAYMOND MOORE: Well, it’s always hard when you get a huge number to increase on it.

This year our number is not quite as big as last year, but it’s very, very close. There are a number of factors. You know, we lost two days at the beginning. We lost Monday, the first Monday when it was cold, and we had 5,000 less people that day.

Big night, the Salute to Heros night when Serena was playing. We had rain at a terrible time; 5:00 to 7:00 it rained. That’s when people would be coming out to see the matches.

The afternoon session had to be extended. Serena, instead of playing at 7:00 was playing at 9:00. Walkup crowd wasn’t what we expected. We thought we would have a sellout crowd that night. All indications were we would have.

So we lose those two sessions. Then, you know, there’s no doubt about it, Roger and Maria not being there, I mean, to improve on that number we need walkup crowd to support us. Walkup is dependent on the matchups, who can play.

And, you know, as a tournament director when you’re doing the schedule and you’ve got two superstars at your disposal, I could put Roger one night and Maria another night. It changes the attendance equation.

And then there are a whole bunch of other factors. We don’t know how much they weigh into the stock market crash; the Canadian dollar is so low. You go through all these factors. They are all one spoke in the wheel of reaching major attendance records.

But having said all of that, I think we’re gonna be roundabout 40,000 people, which is right on the heels of last year’s.

So the way I look at it, this is the second-highest attendance we have ever had in 41 years of the tournament. So I’m very, very happy with the attendance numbers.

 

If a couple years ago we were sitting at this wonderful breakfast and chat and someone said, Well, Steve will be gone in a couple of years, and the tournament’s not going to have Maria and it’s not going to have Roger; Serena and Venus will be playing. What would you say and just talk about the change of life.
RAYMOND MOORE: Well, you know, things change. You have to adapt. And just now that you just jogged my memory, another thing that happened with us with attendance, we lost 15 seeded lady players in the first round, including Caroline Wozniacki and other like superstars that could have helped us.

But that happens. Venus. Venus lost in the first round. You know, would have helped us greatly if Venus had gone deep in the tournament. When we did the draw I saw she was in the same section as Serena, so if she had won through the two of them would have played in the 16s, I think.

Think if we put Serena against Venus at night that we wouldn’t have had a sellout? Sure we would have.

That’s what I’m saying. That’s what happens. We’ve got a really solid fan base. To get to those little extra numbers, you need to have the matchups with the players. That’s unpredictable.

 

Serena Williams, who lost the final to Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-4 was asked to react to Moore’s comments after the match in her news conference:

 

You just shared a beautiful moment on the court with CEO Raymond Moore, and he said earlier today, quote, if I was a lady player, I would go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were born. They have carried the sport. What’s your reaction to that comment and the controversy it’s created?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I don’t understand why I always have to answer questions about controversy like this (laughter.) Obviously I don’t think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that.

I think Venus, myself, a number of players have been — if I could tell you every day how many people say they don’t watch tennis unless they’re watching myself or my sister, I couldn’t even bring up that number. So I don’t think that is a very accurate statement.

I think there is a lot of women out there who are more — are very exciting to watch. I think there are a lot of men out there who are exciting to watch. I think it definitely goes both ways. I think those remarks are very much mistaken and very, very, very inaccurate.

Q. Do you feel like there is maybe a misunderstanding behind how people are interpreting that in some way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, if you read the transcript you can only interpret it one way. I speak very good English. I’m sure he does, too.

You know, there’s only one way to interpret that. Get on your knees, which is offensive enough, and thank a man, which is not — we, as women, have come a long way. We shouldn’t have to drop to our knees at any point.

 

You have led women, and Venus also, have led women through a lot of struggles. Are you surprised in 2016 that’s issues and complaints and sexism are still cropping up?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I’m still surprised, especially with me and Venus and all the other women on the tour that’s done well. Last year the women’s final at the US Open sold out well before the men. I’m sorry, did Roger play in that final or Rafa or any man play in that final that was sold out before the men’s final? I think not.

So I just feel like in order to make a comment you have to have history and you have to have facts and you have to know things. You have to know of everything. I mean, you look at someone like Billie Jean King who opened so many doors for not only women’s players but women’s athletes in general.

So I feel like, you know, that is such a disservice to her and every female, not only a female athlete but every woman on this planet, that has ever tried to stand up for what they believed in and being proud to be a woman.

Q. What was your reaction when you saw it? You said you saw the transcript.
SERENA WILLIAMS: “Really?”

Q. How did it come to your attention?
SERENA WILLIAMS: (Laughter.)

Actually, I love that quote.

How did it come to my attention? Well, unfortunately, you know, sometimes we — if someone makes irrational comments or if something unfortunate goes on in the sport, you know, everyone hears about it. I’m on social media enough to hear about it.

So, yeah.
 

The BNP Paribas Open issued a statement from Tournament Director and CEO Raymond Moore:

 

“At my morning breakfast with the media, I made comments about the WTA that were in extremely poor taste and erroneous. I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole. We had a women’s final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks.”

 

Victoria Azarenka:

Q. I must do my job and ask you whether you heard the comments that Mr. Moore made.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I did.

Q. As a woman who has put all you have into this sport, could you reflect on those, please?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it’s something that, again, we have to work through as women. Men don’t get those comments. I don’t want to address or insult anybody like we got a little bit.

But I have just spoken to Paul, [sic] and he apologized. My thing is I don’t understand any man comments in general towards women, because as simple as that, every single person on earth was brought and was born by a woman, right?

Right?

Q. Absolutely.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think that’s a good comment and I think people should remember that sometimes.

Q. I want to also ask you this as someone who has followed you with great joy.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Thank you.

Q. Throughout your career. Let’s face it. You and other women were criticized harshly for the sounds they made on court, while men, from Jimmy Connors onward, basically were not. Did that ever cross your mind, that there was a gender difference and a response there?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I think it’s still a problem in the world. It’s not just in sports. It’s in business. We try to talk about the equality. Sometimes it just gets unrecognized. I think what women do best is rise above those comments. You don’t hear complaints or bad comments towards men.

From my perspective, if we rise above that and keep working hard in everything we do, we’re better. We’re better at taking opportunities and being graceful. Why do you have to make the comment? Who cares? Who cares? Simple as that. Just to make more drama or jokes?

I mean, if that makes that person feel better or bigger or whatever, it’s a pretty sad person, I think. Because if you’re happy you don’t care what other people do. You just take care of you.

I think that’s more important to focus on us. That’s what women players and examples like Venus and Serena and other players have been doing for — you know, we got it from Billie Jean King where she proved everybody, Hey, look at me. I started something, so let’s go after it.

So I think it’s our duty to keep just working hard through whatever comments there is. We’ve got to rise above that.

Q. You commented about the grunting at Wimbledon last year, your reaction to it. Do you think this is something you have embraced more as you have gotten older in this sport, embracing this role as being a leader for women through your status as a top athlete?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I believe in giving back to a sport that gave me so much. I’m very passionate. I see how hard it is to make something out of yourself and stand your ground, so I believe that it’s my duty for players maybe after me or during this time to really have this respect for our sport.

I think that comes with it. Through the years, yeah. The comments, the grunting. I, don’t care about this. I could give less of shit about it.

Because to me, I work my butt off on the court to try to win the match. And whatever it takes, I’m going to do it.

Q. Do you think that Raymond Moore’s apology is a little disingenuous given the nature of the comments he made just a few hours previously?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I’m trying not to think about it. As all my other comments, I’m not gonna bring somebody down. I’m just gonna rise above that.

Today I think it was a great match. It was a great day for women’s sport. Isn’t it international happiest day or something like this? That’s what I heard. Why can’t we just be happy and enjoy and support each other, because that’s what the world is missing a little bit.

It’s the support towards each other. Not just bashing and, oh, who is prettier or who is this, who has more, who has less.

Let’s just take care of each other.

 

 

Novak Djokovic:

Q. The tournament director, Ray Moore – there was some controversy today – saying women players should go down on their knees and thank the men for carrying the sport. I was wondering what your thoughts are on that comment.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: (Smiling.) I don’t know what to say. I heard about it. Obviously it’s a very delicate and sensitive subject to talk about. Women deserve respect and admiration for what they are doing. You know, equal prize money was the main subject of the tennis world in the last seven, eight years.

I have been through that process, as well, so I understand how much power and energy WTA and all the advocates for equal prize money have invested in order to reach that.

I applaud them for that. I honestly do. They fought for what they deserve, and they got it. On the other hand, I think that our men’s tennis world, ATP world, should fight for more, because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators on the men’s tennis matches.

I think that’s one of the, you know, reasons why maybe we should get awarded more. But, again, you know, we can’t complain because we also have great prize money in men’s tennis is at the right moment in the right time.

Look, I don’t know what Raymond Moore was exactly referring to when he was saying that, but this is all I can say from my perspective.

Q. But you don’t think the prize money should be equal if it was up to you?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Listen, again, my answer to you is not yes and no. It’s women should fight for what they think they deserve and we should fight for what we think we deserve. I think as long as it’s like that and there is data and stats available and information, you know, upon who attracts more attention, spectators, who sells more tickets and stuff like that, in relation to that it has to be fairly distributed.

Q. So if the stats show at some point that women’s tennis attracts more tennis, men should get less?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Q. One of the great things about our sport is not only WTA and ATP, but the entire interaction of men and women in this global sport, do you think you’d be here today without your first coach, Jelena?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, I wouldn’t be. That’s why — you know, don’t get me wrong. As I said, I have tremendous respect for what women in global sport are doing and achieving.

It’s knowing what they have to go through with their bodies, and their bodies are much different than men’s bodies. They have to go through a lot of different things that we don’t have to go through. You know, the hormones and different stuff, we don’t need to go into details. Ladies know what I’m talking about.

But it’s really for great admiration and respect for them to be able to fight on such a high level. Many of them, you know, they kind of have to sacrifice for certain periods of time, you know, the family time or decisions that they make with their own bodies, you know, in order to play the tennis and to play the professional sport.

So I appreciate that. I have had a woman that was my coach, and that was a huge part of my tennis career. I’m surrounded with women. I’m very happy obviously to be married with one and to have a child. (Smiling.)

I’m completely for women power.

Q. Do you think the language that Ray Moore used was offensive? He said that if I was a lady player I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I think we — yeah, we have to be fair to say that it’s not politically correct. I mean, it was maybe exaggerated a little bit, but that’s just my opinion.

21 March 2016

ATP Statement Regarding Raymond Moore’s Comments & Equal Prize Money

Following Raymond’s Moore recent comments, ATP Executive Chairman & President Chris Kermode said:

“Ray Moore’s comments towards women’s tennis were disparaging and made in poor taste, as Ray has subsequently acknowledged. The ATP fully supports equality across society, while at the same time acknowledging that we operate in the sports & entertainment business. The ATP seeks to achieve fair compensation for its players by setting minimum prize money levels for ATP events in accordance with the revenues that are generated from men’s professional tennis. The ATP also respects the right of tournaments to make their own decisions relating to prize money for women’s tennis, which is run as a separate Tour.”

 

Statement by Katrina Adams, Chairman of the Board, CEO and President, USTA, in response to the comments of Raymond Moore:

“The USTA and the US Open hold player equality as one of our bedrock principles. As the first Grand Slam to award equal prize money, we have endeavored to lead the way for gender equality in sports. We appreciate the hard work and incredible skill demonstrated by all those at the professional level, and the USTA hopes these tremendous athletes help to inspire the next generation of boys’ and girls’ players in this country. There is no place in this sport for antiquated, sexist or uninformed ideologies, and the comments made yesterday in no way reflect the beliefs of the vast majority of those in the tennis world.”

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2016 BNP Paribas Open — Friday’s Results, Saturday’s Order of Play

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BNP PARIBAS OPEN – INDIAN WELLS, USA
$7,037,595 (ATP)
$6,844,139 (WTA)
7-20 MARCH 2016

RESULTS – MARCH 18, 2016
Men’s
Singles – Quarterfinals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [7] J. Tsonga (FRA) 76(2) 76(2)
[4] R. Nadal (ESP) d [5] K. Nishikori (JPN) 64 63

Men’s
Doubles – Semifinals
[6] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) d F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) 46 63 12-10

Women’s
Singles – Semifinals
[1] S. Williams (USA) d [3] A. Radwanska (POL) 64 76(1)
[13] V. Azarenka (BLR) d [18] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) 76(1) 16 62

ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, MARCH 19, 2016

STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
ATP – [15] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [12] M. Raonic (CAN)
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)

Not Before 4:00 pm
WTA – Doubles Final – J. Goerges (GER) / K. Pliskova (CZE) vs B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / C. Vandeweghe (USA)

Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – Doubles Final – [6] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) vs [7] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)

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2016 BNP Paribas Open — Monday’s Results and Tuesday’s Order of Play

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BNP PARIBAS OPEN – INDIAN WELLS, USA
$7,037,595 (ATP)
$6,844,139 (WTA)
7-20 MARCH 2016

RESULTS – MARCH 14, 2016
Men’s
Singles – Third Round
F. Delbonis (ARG) d [2] A. Murray (GBR) 64 46 76(3)
[3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) d A. Kuznetsov (RUS) 64 76(5)
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) d B. Coric (CRO) 61 76(3)
[8] R. Gasquet (FRA) d [26] A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 26 62 61
[10] M. Cilic (CRO) d L. Mayer (ARG) 64 63
[12] M. Raonic (CAN) d [17] B. Tomic (AUS) 62 30 Retired
[13] G. Monfils (FRA) d A. Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 61 63
[15] D. Goffin (BEL) d G. Pella (ARG) 46 63 62

Men’s
Doubles – Second Round
[3] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / V. Troicki (SRB) 62 62
[6] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sock (USA) d T. Bellucci (BRA) / G. Pella (ARG) 63 67(6) 10-5
P. Kohlschreiber (GER) / D. Thiem (AUT) d L. Kubot (POL) / M. Matkowski (POL) 62 46 10-5
F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d J. Isner (USA) / M. Raonic (CAN) 64 75

Women’s
Singles – Third Round
M. Rybarikova (SVK) d [7] B. Bencic (SUI) 64 36 63
[9] R. Vinci (ITA) d [17] E. Svitolina (UKR) 61 63
[12] T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d E. Bouchard (CAN) 62 57 62
[13] V. Azarenka (BLR) d [WC] S. Zhang (CHN) 64 63
[18] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) d [14] A. Ivanovic (SRB) 62 60
[25] J. Konta (GBR) d D. Allertova (CZE) 64 61
[26] S. Stosur (AUS) d C. Mchale (USA) 64 26 64
D. Kasatkina (RUS) d M. Puig (PUR) 64 36 76(2)

Women’s
Doubles – Second Round
B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / C. Vandeweghe (USA) d [2] H. Chan (TPE) / Y. Chan (TPE) 76(3) 63
[3] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d Y. Xu (CHN) / S. Zheng (CHN) 64 75
[4] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d M. Gasparyan (RUS) / M. Niculescu (ROU) 75 62
S. Errani (ITA) / O. Kalashnikova (GEO) d [Alt] K. Bondarenko (UKR) / O. Savchuk (UKR) 76(5) 57 10-8

ORDER OF PLAY – TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2016
STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
ATP – [30] S. Johnson (USA) vs [5] K. Nishikori (JPN)
WTA – [3] A. Radwanska (POL) vs [19] J. Jankovic (SRB)
ATP – [4] R. Nadal (ESP) vs F. Verdasco (ESP)
WTA – [1] S. Williams (USA) vs [Q] K. Bondarenko (UKR)

Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [27] P. Kohlschreiber (GER)

Not Before 8:30 pm
WTA – M. Rybarikova (SVK) vs [9] R. Vinci (ITA)

STADIUM 2 start 11:00 am
WTA – [Q] N. Gibbs (USA) vs [8] P. Kvitova (CZE)
ATP – [9] J. Isner (USA) vs A. Mannarino (FRA)
ATP – [11] D. Thiem (AUT) vs [21] J. Sock (USA)
ATP – [31] S. Querrey (USA) vs [7] J. Tsonga (FRA)
WTA – [13] V. Azarenka (BLR) vs [26] S. Stosur (AUS)

Not Before 6:00 pm
WTA – [8] R. Atawo (USA) / A. Spears (USA) vs B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / C. Vandeweghe (USA)

STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
ATP – A. Zverev (GER) vs [16] G. Simon (FRA)
ATP – [18] F. Lopez (ESP) vs [14] R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
WTA – B. Strycova (CZE) vs [5] S. Halep (ROU)
WTA – [18] Ka. Pliskova (CZE) vs [25] J. Konta (GBR)
WTA – D. Kasatkina (RUS) vs [12] T. Bacsinszky (SUI)

STADIUM 4 start 11:00 am
ATP – [7] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) vs D. Nestor (CAN) / R. Stepanek (CZE)
ATP – [4] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs D. Inglot (GBR) / R. Lindstedt (SWE)
ATP – [Alt] J. Chardy (FRA) / F. Martin (FRA) vs [PR] J. Del Potro (ARG) / L. Mayer (ARG)

STADIUM 6 start 2:00 pm
ATP – [8] E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) / N. Zimonjic (SRB) vs D. Goffin (BEL) / J. Sousa (POR)
WTA – A. Klepac (SLO) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) vs [3] T. Babos (HUN) / Y. Shvedova (KAZ)

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Novak Djokovic on Maria Sharapova: “I do feel sorry about what’s happening with her”

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(March 11, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Four-time BNP Paribas Open winner Novak Djokovic held a pre-tournament news conference after the unveiling of his winner’s mural in Stadium Plaza.

Djokovic was asked about his views on Maria Sharapova and her situation. The five-time major winner announced on Monday that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open. Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, a drug she says she’s been using for 10 years for different health issues. Meldonium became a banned substance in January under the WADA code.

“Well, it’s been the talk of the tennis world for the last couple of days, and this kind of news caught us all by surprise. I think I can talk about, you know, Maria and her situation from two perspectives, Djokovic said.

“First as a friend, somebody that knows her for a long time, of course I do feel sorry about what’s happening with her. I know that, you know, she has always been very responsible and aware towards herself, towards the sport, very disciplined, very kind of hard working, hard-working ethics, and love what she does.

“You know, she believes and still does believe that the hard work really pays off, and that’s what gets her titles.

“So as a friend, you know, I really hope that she will find the best possible way. I thought she was very courageous and was very human, brave of her, to go out and take the responsibility and say what has happened. She did admit that she made a mistake with her team, and I think, you know, you don’t have to blame ^ WADA for anything.

“It’s completely normal to expect that under these circumstances, you know, the player that has made this mistake has to suffer certain kind of consequences, and I’m sure she’s aware of that. She has approached this very maturely. I really admire that.

“On the other hand, from the different perspective, I talk as somebody that is involved in professional tennis and sport for so many years that always believed in clean and fair sport.

“So I do — I do hope that — I mean, obviously I can’t speak about the details because I don’t know. I know as much as you guys know whether or not she was aware of the changes. But certainly if there was a mistake and if she was caught to be positive on the doping for a certain substance, then there should be certain kind of, you know, consequences for that.

“But, again, I’m not here to talk about, you know, whether or not she needs to be away from the courts for certain periods of time. You know, I leave this to WADA and antidoping agency and, you know, organizations that are responsible for that.”

Djokovic admitted that he never heard about Medonium, the drug Sharapova took which was banned by WADA since January.

“No, I never heard of that medication,” he said. “Just one more thing I wanted to say, because I feel like in the sport in general there is maybe a conviction with many athletes that maybe medications and certain substances can make you feel healthy or, you know, feel better.

“I don’t believe in that kind of short-term process. I believe in long-term balance and harmonious health and well-being that is achieved, you know, with — from different aspects.

“I wouldn’t say that there is a magic potion or elixir that can make you feel better. No, I never heard about that substance.

“And regarding e-mails, I have to be frank that I don’t read them all. I do have the team of people that is working with me and that, you know, I have faith 100%, and if there is any significant changes that I need to be aware of, I am aware of. They do let me know.

“We communicate of course on a daily basis between the medical team, between the marketing team, or, you know, operational team. There is always something that needs to be discussed.”
“Now, I don’t know what the pros and cons are of this medicine, but it can happen to many people if it’s only a case of negligence, of Maria and her team of not really paying attention to the change,” said the world No. 1.

“Now, whether or not she was informed before or not, I don’t know that. I think the communication may be from the side of the governing bodies of tennis maybe should be a little bit better in terms of involvement of maybe ATP, as well, because I feel like maybe sometimes ATP is stepping on the side because it’s a matter of ITF and WADA.”

“I’m just saying there are maybe ways to improve the communication so that these things don’t happen in the future, because what has happened with Viktor Troicki was also something that was very debatable,” Djokovic said.

“I know him since I was seven years old, so I know — I know him like my own brother, so I can, you know, claim that he has never — has done or taken something that, you know, would be banned. Which he didn’t, as well. He was banned for 18 months for kind of refusing to give the blood sample that day, and he got the verbal confirmation from that lady that was working for WADA that he can do that because he was feeling bad.

“So because of this, you know, small certain situation and circumstances and negligence of somebody, you know, a player suffers for 18 months’ ban. Those kind of things, you know, need to be communicated better I think in order not to kind of damage the player’s career.”

Djokovic admitted that there have been times that he’s had a health issue and a doctor has prescribed something and he’s refuse to take the medication, because he did not know if it contained a banned substance or not.

Djokovic comes into Indian Wells dealing with health issues of his own over the past few weeks. He had to retire from a match in Dubai due to and eye infection. He played Davis Cup over the weekend and led Serbia to the quarterfinals.

“It was a couple of not easy weeks for me health-wise, but it was due to a lot going on on the court and off the court that, you know, caused maybe a weaker immune system that was more prone to those kind of infections” said Djokovic.

“Has happened first time honestly in my life to have some kind of an issue with an eye. Yeah, after that it was the Davis Cup. It was not physically very easy those three days, but all in all, I feel good. I feel already adjusted to the time zone of the West Coast. I have been here for already several days.

“You know, going back to normal. Hopefully I will be able to play at my best from the beginning.”

Djokovic comes into the tournament looking to win his fifth BNP Paribas Open title, which would set a record.

Karen Pestaina is covering the BNP Paribas Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.

 

Related article:

Maria Sharapova Announces She Failed Drug Test at Australian Open

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Online Registration Begins for BNP Paribas Challenge

bnpparibasopenlogo

(January 11, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Registration for the 2016 BNP Paribas Challenge, the pre-qualifying event for the BNP Paribas Open, begins today and will run through Friday, February 19. The Challenge is slated for February 29 – March 5 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Last year’s event boasted the largest draw in the event’s history with more than 200 participants seeking wildcard berths into the BNP Paribas Open Qualifying tournament.
First through quarterfinal round matches will be best of three sets with a 10-point match tiebreak played for the third set, while semifinal and final matches will be best of three sets. To enter, visit http://www.bnpparibasopen.com/en/event-info/bnp-paribas-challenge.The entry fee is $50.
All entries and fees must be received by Friday, February 19. For more information, please contact Tom Fey, Director of Tennis at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden at 760-200-8200 or tfey@iwtg.net.
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Indian Wells, London-Queen’s, Doha and St. Petersburg Voted 2015 ATP World Tour Tournaments Of The Year

From the ATP World Tour: (January 7, 2016) LONDON – The ATP has announced the Tournaments of the Year in the 2015 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon, with the BNP Paribas Open and Aegon Championships joined by the Qatar ExxonMobil Open and St. Petersburg Open as the most favored ATP World Tour events in their respective tournament categories.

The Tournament of the Year awards, voted annually by ATP players, recognise the leading standards set across the three tournament categories on the Tour. Indian Wells repeats at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, while The Queen’s Club in London wins in its first year as a 500 tournament. In the 250 category, first-time winners Doha and St. Petersburg share honors.

Visit the official ATP World Tour Awards section on ATPWorldTour.com

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “Many congratulations to these four tournaments for setting the standard in their respective categories in 2015. They are each outstanding events in their own right, and this is a fitting recognition, as voted by the players, for all the hard work and dedication that goes into putting on these world class tournaments.”

The BNP Paribas Open retains its title as the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year. The tournament received the distinction for the first time in 2014, following the debut of its state-of-the-art Stadium 2, additional practice courts and a new shade structure.

In 2015, the BNP Paribas Open continued its on-site improvements, unveiling a newly renovated player restaurant with expanded dining options and free Wi-Fi throughout the site. The tournament welcomed more than 450,000 fans through the gates over the fortnight.

“It is very rewarding for the BNP Paribas Open to be recognized as the 2015 Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year,” said Tournament Director Raymond Moore. “Our event is focused on improving each and every year in all areas and aspects, and receiving this award for the second year in a row is another validation that our actions – such as providing Hawk-Eye electronic line calling technology on every match court – are being appreciated by the players. It only intensifies our desire to reach new heights in 2016 and ensure that the experience at the tournament is nothing short of exceptional.”

The Aegon Championships receives a Tournament of the Year award for a third straight season. It won at the 250 level in 2013-14 before its re-categorisation as an ATP World Tour 500 event for 2015. The Aegon Championships ends Dubai’s seven-year reign at this level.

“To win ATP World Tour 500 tournament of the year in our first year in the category is a huge thrill, a magnificent achievement, and a credit to our tournament team, The Queen’s Club, our sponsors – particularly Aegon, and our broadcast partners,” said Tournament Director Stephen Farrow. “We were up against some of the finest and most popular tournaments on the ATP World Tour, and I am immensely proud that our efforts have been recognised by the players in this way.”

For the first time since 2004 and the fourth time overall (since 1986), two events have been named joint winners in the ATP World Tour 250 category. The Qatar ExxonMobil Open hosts its 24th edition this week, boasting a field that includes four Top 10 players: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer. The St. Petersburg Open, held in September, celebrated its 20th edition in 2015 as it returned to the ATP World Tour calendar following a one-year hiatus.

“Our aim is always to make a great event where players can feel relaxed and at home, where they can perform at their best, where they want to return year after year,” said Karim Alami, Tournament Director of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. “We are always listening to the opinions and feedback from the organisation and from the players and trying to learn from our mistakes and past experiences to keep improving and to keep raising the bar every year. To achieve the recognition of the players for these efforts and be selected by them as the best ATP World Tour 250 tournament for the year 2015 makes us all very proud and gives us the strength and motivation to continue improving and making our event better and better.”

Mikhael Mirilashvili, owner of the St. Petersburg Open, said: “In 2015, the St. Petersburg Open Tournament was revived after a year’s break. That was a landmark event in the sporting life of the city and the country. We are proud that the work of our big renewed team was appreciated on such a high level. I am sure that in the future the level of the tournament will continue to grow and reach new professional heights.”

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Djokovic Wins Third Shanghai Crown; Jankovic, Radwanska and Pavlyuchenkova Claim WTA Titles

 

(October 18, 2015) Novak Djokovic won his third Shanghai title on Sunday besting Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final 6-2, 6-4. The victory, which gave him his 25 ATP Masters Series title and 57th career tournament win extended his current winning streak to 17 straight matches.

“Today the key was to get as many serves back into play to Jo because he has one of the biggest serves in the game,: said the world No. 1. “He has shown that in the second set, with some break points early in the set. He came up with some aces, some big serves.

“Generally I always felt in control of the match. I felt like I’ve done everything right. I’ve won many of my service games very comfortably. I didn’t allow him to get into the rhythm, get into the match. Today’s match, and overall the tournament, it’s gone incredibly well for me.”

“The first set went quick,” Tsonga said. “It’s not easy to stop him. He is really consistent on his return. Today I didn’t serve well enough, especially in the first set. After that, in the second, I served a little bit better, and it gave me the opportunity to have a chance on his serve. But finally I was not able to do it, and he broke me at 4-all.

“I’m very satisfied. To come back at your best level, it’s always a long process. I’m happy today to be back really close to the Top 10. Like I said just before, it gave me energy to continue to work hard and try to achieve other good things.”

With his performance this week, the Frenchman in now No. 9 in the Race to London for a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals.Just two spots remain in the eight-man field as Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych secured their places this week. They will join Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka who have already qualified.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

Twenty-ninth ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won her first title of the year and eighth WTA title overall defeating Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany 6-4, 6-3 for the Linz title Generali Ladies.

 

Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

Veteran Jelena Jankovic rallied from a set and 6-5 down to beat second seed Angelique Kerber in the Hong Kong Open final 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1

For the former No. 1 WTA player coming into the event as a Wild Card, Jankovic this was her 15th career crown. Jankovic said that this win will improve her confidence, especially beating Kerber and Venus Williams. She said it proves that she can still play at the top level and said that if she works hard, maybe she can win a major next year.

Aga Radwanska Party with the pros

Agnieszka Radwanska easily defeated Danka Kovinic 6-1, 6-2 win the Tianjin Open title and claim a place in the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Radwanska, who won her 16th WTA title of her career, became the fifth player to qualify for the year-end championships. She will be joining Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza in Singapore. No. 1 Serena Williams withdrew from the event to rest and recover.

 

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ATP and WTA Tennis Results Round-Up: Titles for Begu, Radwanska, Raonic and Tsonga

JWTsonga wins Toronto

(September 27, 2015)In a rematch of the 2013 Moselle Open final, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reversed the loss to win his third Metz title and 12th career ATP 7-6 (5), 1-6, 6-2 over countryman Gilles Simon. The match lasted two hours and 17 minutes.

It was Tsonga’s fourth Metz final appearance in five years. Tsonga is now tied with Richard Gasquet for second on the list of French titlists in the Open Era.
“I’m really happy to win again here in Metz,” the champion said. “I like the welcome I get here and to win this year is great. It’s my first of the year and I hope it will continue. It’s a good achievement for me.

“Gilles is very difficult to play against. You need energy with each ball you play against him. He’s a good defender and is always ready to play passing shots. When I play against him it’s always tough.”

RESULTS – SUNDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 2015

Singles – Final
[3] J. Tsonga (FRA) d [2] G. Simon (FRA) 76(5) 16 62

Doubles – Final
[2] L. Kubot (POL) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [1] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) 26 63 10-7

 

Milos Raonic

Canadian Milos Raonic won his first title in 14 months, defeating Joao Sousa for the St. Petersburg Open crown.

“It’s such a great feeling to come to St. Petersburg and to be able to win this event,” Raonic said. “It was a great experience overall with the event, the city and the people. This tournament is only going to get better. Word is going to spread about how much the players enjoyed it.

“It would be special [to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals again], especially with the health issues I’ve had. It is something that will require a lot of winning the rest of this year, but I believe I can do it.”

“I think I played my best,” Sousa said. “Of course I feel sad that I couldn’t have the title here. I was really confident that I could beat him today, but he played and served very well in the important moments. I just have to congratulate him for the match.

“This year has been a tough one. It has been my best year, but a tough one as I lost three finals. It’s really, really tough to accept it. But I think I can improve. I’m going to work for it and hopefully I can win the next one.”

RESULTS – SUNDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 2015

Singles – Final
[2] M. Raonic (CAN) d [7] J. Sousa (POR) 63 36 63

Doubles – Final
[1] T. Huey (PHI) / H. Kontinen (FIN) d [2] J. Knowle (AUT) / A. Peya (AUT) 75 63

 

KOREA OPEN TENNIS 2015 – SEOUL, KOREA
$ 500,000.00
SEPT 19 – 27, 2015

RESULTS – SEPTEMBER 27, 2015
Women’s
Singles – Finals

[1] I. Begu (ROU) d [Q] A. Sasnovich (BLR) 63 61

Women’s
Doubles – Finals

[1] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Klepac (SLO) d [2] K. Bertens (NED) / J. Larsson (SWE) 26 63 10-6

Top seed Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania won 6-3, 6-1  over unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus to win the Korea Open. Her last WTA title came in Tashkent three years ago.

 

Agnieszka-Radwanska-021-405x450

TORAY PAN PACIFIC OPEN – TOKYO, JAPAN
$ 1,000,000.00
19-27 SEPTEMBER 2015

RESULTS – SEPTEMBER 27, 2015
Women’s
Singles – Finals

[7] A. Radwanska (POL) d [8] B. Bencic (SUI) 62 62

Agnieszka Radwanska won the Pan-Pacific Open title for the second time with a  6-2, 6-2 victory over Belinda Bencic of Switzerland. Radwanska exacted  some revenge on Sunday – she lost to Bencic in the Eastbourne final earlier this year.

For the winner, it’s her first tournament victory since last year’s Roger’s Cup.

wuhan

2015 DONGFENG MOTOR WUHAN OPEN – WUHAN, CHINA
$ 2,513,000.00
27 SEPTEMBER – 03 OCTOBER 2015

RESULTS – SEPTEMBER 27, 2015
Singles – First Round
[12] E. Svitolina (UKR) d [WC] D. Hantuchova (SVK) 64 64
[Q] J. Konta (GBR) d [13] A. Petkovic (GER) 64 75
A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d S. Kuznetsova (RUS) 60 61
V. Azarenka (BLR) d [Q] L. Davis (USA) 62 76(4)
[Q] J. Goerges (GER) d A. Cornet (FRA) 63 63
M. Niculescu (ROU) d [WC] F. Liu (CHN) 61 61
D. Gavrilova (RUS) d T. Pereira (BRA) 62 76(7)
V. Lepchenko (USA) d [WC] S. Zheng (CHN) 64 60
M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) d S. Stosur (AUS) 62 61
C. Vandeweghe (USA) d L. Tsurenko (UKR) 62 26 63
B. Strycova (CZE) d [Q] T. Babos (HUN) 76(9) 62
Women’s
Doubles – First Round
[5] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) d S. Errani (ITA) / F. Schiavone (ITA) 75 64
A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / O. Savchuk (UKR) d [WC] C. Liu (CHN) / Z. Yang (CHN) 61 64

ORDER OF PLAY – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2015

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
A. Dulgheru (ROU) vs [9] A. Ivanovic (SRB)

Not Before 1:00 pm
J. Jankovic (SRB) vs [Q] H. Watson (GBR)
[16] S. Errani (ITA) vs C. Garcia (FRA)

Not Before 6:30 pm
B. Strycova (CZE) vs [2] [WC] M. Sharapova (RUS)
[10] A. Radwanska (POL) vs V. Williams (USA)

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[Q] D. Kovinic (MNE) vs [15] R. Vinci (ITA)
A. Riske (USA) vs S. Stephens (USA)
M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) vs [8] K. Pliskova (CZE)

Not Before 3:30 pm
E. Bouchard (CAN) vs [11] B. Bencic (SUI)

COURT 3 start 12:00 noon
M. Brengle (USA) vs D. Cibulkova (SVK)
[Q] P. Tig (ROU) vs K. Mladenovic (FRA)
[14] M. Keys (USA) vs M. Rybarikova (SVK)

Not Before 3:30 pm
Z. Diyas (KAZ) vs I. Begu (ROU)

COURT 4 start 11:00 am
[6] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) vs C. Liang (CHN) / Y. Wang (CHN)
A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs [8] C. Chuang (TPE) / S. Hsieh (TPE)
G. Dabrowski (CAN) / A. Rosolska (POL) vs A. Groenefeld (GER) / C. Vandeweghe (USA)
S. Kuznetsova (RUS) / S. Stosur (AUS) vs C. Dellacqua (AUS) / A. Tomljanovic (CRO)

COURT 5 start 12:00 noon
[7] G. Muguruza (ESP) / C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) vs J. Husarova (SVK) / I. Olaru (ROU)
[Q] M. Duque-Mariño (COL) vs A. Schmiedlova (SVK)
T. Pironkova (BUL) vs C. Giorgi (ITA)

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Ram, Schmiedlova and Larsson Win Tennis Titles This Week

Rajeev Ram won the Van Alen Cup for the second time in his career today. The trophy is named for International Tennis Hall of Fame founder Jimmy Van Alen, who invented the tennis’ tiebreak system. Photo by Jennifer Carter

(July 19, 2015)Three surprise winners took titles this week on the tennis tour – Rajeev Ram, who knocked out top seed John Isner on Tuesday took home his second Newport title. The top Swedish woman took home her country’s  title in Bastad while Anna Karolina Schmiedlova knocked out top seed Sara Errani to win in Bucharest.

Ram stopped No. 2 seed Ivo Karlovic 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(2), the 31-year-old American ranked 161st coming into this week will move into the top 100 as of Monday. He became the third American to win multiple titles at this ATP World Tour grass-court event, this includes John Isner 2011-12 and Bryan Shelton 1991-92.

“To say that I felt like I’d be the winner at the end of the week… I had no idea,” Ram said. “The first one was more elation, this one is more satisfaction just because I did it again.”

Ram also won in Newport in 2009.
Seventh seeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova upset No. 1 seed Sara Errani 7-6 (3), 6- to win the Bucharest Open final on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Slovak won the match in 97 degree heat, avenging a loss to the Italian in the Rio Open earlier this year.

“I still cannot believe I won, because it was a really tough match and Sara Errani is an amazing player,” Schmiedlova said to media. ”

“It’s tough to play against her anywhere, but especially on clay.” she said.

Johanna Larsson made her home country proud collecting the title at the Swedish Open, downing defending champion Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-6(2) for her first WTA title.

“I’m extremely happy,” Larsson said after the match. “I think I played really well today and I tried to concentrate on taking it point by point.

“I’m just really living in the moment right now and I’m happy with this victory today. Hopefully this can pay off later in the season, but right now I am just going to enjoy my first career WTA title.”

 

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