Archive for the 'ATP' Category


Sony Ericsson Open linked to financial fraud.

stanfordOne of the major host sponsors of the Sony Ericsson Championships which are scheduled for March 27 in Miami, is none other than Stanford Financial. Just in case you don’t listen to the financial news, it has been alleged that Sir Alan Stanford, the billionaire owner of Stanford Financial, has perpetrated an $8 Billion dollar fraud, and he is wanted for questioning. So far he cannot be found.
Stanford sponsors many sports events that include cricket, golf and tennis, and many events rely on the company to put up prize money and operational funds.
The SEC, (Securities Exchange Commission) who is investigating the fraud has said that any recipient of money from the Stanford Financial Group could be in receipt of stolen funds and liable to prosecution.
So if Serena or Rafa win a million dollars at the Sony Ericsson they could be in serious trouble. The WTA, the ATP and Sony Ericcson need to take immediate action to prevent such a fiasco from happening.
The whereabouts of Alan Stanford is unknown, and it is suspected that he has fled the US by private jet. He has homes in Antigua and St. Croix, and a watch is being maintained on these locations. The head office for Stanford Financial is located in Houston Texas.

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A New Program for the 2009 ATP Tour.



Australia’s Tennis Heritage.


It has always been recognized by tennis historians that the game’s beginning can be attributed to the English. A group of well-off English toffs, of which there are still an abundance, came together to hit a leather ball with a cat gut strung racket over a net, and tennis was born. Exactly where and when has never been accurately determined, but the origin of the game is credited to the English. It was a society sport, played at only a few public schools, and on the grounds of some of England’s most prestigious estates. The archaic scoring, still in use today, was introduced more than a hundred years ago by a group of English gentlemen who used to bet on each point during the match, 15 pounds, 30 pounds etc.

As with most inventions, tennis crossed the English channel and arrived in Paris. The French added their own chic flair to the sport by playing the game on sand rather than grass. The sand eventually gave way to clay, women began to adopt the game, and soon all of France was cooing fifteen love! The brash Americans imported the game to New York, they built a venue called Forest Hills and popularized the game. Eventually the grass gave way to a synthetic hard surface, a product of American technology, and many Yanks adopted this ‘sissy’ English pastime. A stigma that still persists even today in many places.

But it was in Australia that the game of Tennis progressed from a quaint English pastime for the rich, to a hard hitting highly competitive match played between combatants from both sides of the tracks. Tennis became Australia’s national sport, it was played by every age group of society and from the sparse population a succession of tennis players emerged who dominated the game for almost 3 decades. There was nothing ‘sissified’ about playing tennis in Australia, nothing derogatory was ever said about tennis players, they were the new ‘heroes’ of the Australian sporting scene. Their names were revered, and their feats on the courts around the world became the proudest moments in Australia’s history. The climate in Australia is ideal for tennis. Other than cricket, the other sissy English sport, the Aussies did not have a game they could call their own. Tennis filled the bill. As tough as tennis players are, they retain a gentleman-like quality when they put on their white shorts and white shirts, and step onto the court. Being a good sport, respecting your opponent, applauding their good shots and playing within the written and unwritten rules is a part of tennis that was perfected by the Aussies. Compare a group of 20 year old athletes who are stars of their selected sport, and you will find that only tennis players and golfers possess the quality that can be best described as sportsmanship.

When the 2009 Australian Open is played in January, one thing you can be sure of, is that no matter who wins, the winner will be applauded enthusiastically by the crowds, and showered with accolades in the true tradition of Australian reverence to their sport.

“All righty then,Mate?, ‘ow about another Fosters?”

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Is the Tennis Tour too tough?


Now that the dust has had a day to settle after Spains dramatic win over Argentine in the final event of 2008, it is time to examine the result. The best player in the world was missing because of an injury that was probably caused by the stress he put on his body from playing too much tennis. His place on the Spanish team was taken by Marcel Granollers, because the other Spanish players, Robredo, Moyer and Ferrero were not available to play of declined the invitation from the Spanish coach. The number 7 player in the world, who rushed back from China to represent Argentine, was obviously tired and playing far below his potential against Lopez, when he injured his right leg, and after losing his match was declared unfit to participate in the final day’s matches. Del Potro was replaced by Jose Acasuso, a player ranked 48th, and a player who was totally unprepared for such an important match. He did not play well, and he lost in 5 sets to the higher ranked Spanish player Verdasco, who is on cloud nine from his vistory. I don’t want to rain on his parade, but his win was neither spectacular nor dominating, in fact if he had played against del Potro he would have been lucky to have won a set. And there can be little doubt that had the Cup boiled down to a final match between Lopez and Nalbandian, the Argentinian would have won.
So Spain wins the Davis Cup for the third time, and Argentine loses for the third time, but it is a shame that the game’s best players were not playing, and that the quality of the tennis was so poor. It was an anti climax after watching the top 8 players playing in the Master’s Cup just a week or so before. By comparison the Davis Cup final was a flop! There were no top ten players playing in the event after del Potro was injured, and while the action was tense and exciting, it left a sad taste in my mouth knowing that the winning team won almost by default.
It is too demanding for the top players to have to participate in so many events, and the number of injuries reflects this problem. Playing 20 or more events, plus Davis Cup, plus exhibitions and either the Olympics, the Pan Am games or the Asia/Pacific Games is a gruelling proposition. Every fan who attends a tournament wants to see the top players, but unless the top players receive byes into the later rounds, the final matches will be played between low ranked players who find their way into the finals through retirements of the best players through injury. The WTA will reintroduce byes for their players in 2009, let’s hope the ATP follows suit.

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Prize Money grows at Aussie Open.


The prize money for the 2009 Australian Open has been announced, and if the Aussie dollar remains strong through the current worldwide economic crisis, a few players will be making sizable deposits to their Swiss bank accounts(and not only Roger Federer). A player making it through to the third or fourth round will win more money than the prize winners of many smaller tournaments. Billy Jean will be happy to know that the prize money for both sexes is identical, even though the Women only play best of three sets, while the men play best of five!

Here’s what the players receive.


1st. Round $19,400.

2nd. Round $30,250.

3rd. Round $50,000.

4th. Round $85,625.

Quarter Final $171,250.

Semi Final $342,500.

Runner-up. $685,000.

Winner. $1,370,000.



1st. Round $9,585.

2nd. Round $17,035.

3rd. Round $31,245.

Quarter Final $55,400.

Semi Final $110,800

Runner-up. $223,010.

Winner $446,020.


If Serena shows up and enters both the singles and the doubles, both of which she should be the favourite to win, she could take home a cool $1,593,050 for two weeks work! Just in case you are questioning my addition, she only receives half the doubles prize money, Venus would get the other half.

There are other winners at the Australian Open who will benefit from the crowd that is expected to be even bigger than the 2008 crowd which set a new record of 605,735, and these beneficiaries are the three charities, Kids Tennis Foundation, United Way Australia and the Bone Growth Foundation.

The Kids Tennis Foundation was founded by tennis legend Paul McNamee to provide tennis coaching to financially and disadvantaged children on a regular weekly basis throughout Australia. Its a social welfare program that uses tennis to build self-esteem and self-confidence. Since its inception in 1981 it has brought tennis interest to more than 220,000 children.

United Way Australia partners with Tennis Australia to provide a program for the betterment of Australia’s young people through the incorporation of tennis into their lives.

The Bone Growth Foundation was established in 1991 to support research into children’s crippling bone growth problems. A black tie gala court side dinner will be held during the 2009 Australian Open to help raise funds for this worthwhile cause. A fun celebrity tournament will be part of the entertainment, and will feature several tennis legends, and a selection of local TV and radio personalities.

For first time visitors to Australia and in particular to Melbourne, it is highly recommended that the downtown areas are visited. Melbourne is a sophisticated fashionable city with many wonderful ethnic restaurants and bars, lots of places to spend your money on Aussie clothes and trinkets. Take a side trip to the mountains where the snow still remains even though the temperature in Melbourne is close to ninety degrees. Enjoy the diversity!

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It’s all a Load of Balls.


An insulting gift of tennis balls offered to King Henry V, according to William Shakespeare, was the final straw that led to the re-igniting of the 100 years war. This is the bard’s reference to the insult, “When we have match’d our rackets to these balls, we will, in France, by God’s grace, play a set.”

Obviously Henry needed to have the ‘set’ sanctioned by the ITF for it to have counted for anything, but it is doubtful if the rebellious French would have accepted the ITF rules.

Each year 300 million tennis balls are produced in factories in Southeast Asia, and except for those which find their way onto towing hitches on SUV’s, or on to the bottom of the legs of institutional chairs, they wind up as a part of the 14,700 tons of non biodegradable waste dumped into land fills around the world. With one important exception! The good folks at Wimbledon collect all the used tennis balls and use them as field houses for the near extinct harvest mouse. Maybe we can induce the equally good folks at the Australian Open to collect their used balls and to use them as homes for baby Koala bears. Somewhere in the world there must be millions of kids who would love to have a used tennis ball to kick along the gutter, or to dribble along the street. Learning to play soccer with an old tennis ball is a part of growing up.

Modern tennis balls are made in two colours, white and yellow, the yellow colour was adopted after intensive research was performed to determine which colour ball was the easiest to distinguish on TV. These colours are the only ones approved by the USTA and the ITF. The standards under which tennis balls are manufactured are set by the ITF, and they cover diameter, weight and bounce. A ball must bounce back to 56% of the height from which it has been dropped onto a concrete slab, to comply. All balls lose their bounce as soon as they are released from their pressurized containers. Have you often wondered why they change balls after a specific number of games? It’s because the balls lose their bounce, and have the effect of becoming heavier. In fact the weight of the ball does not change, unless one considers the slight negligible loss of the weight of the felt cover through abrasion with the court surface. Roger Federer now changes his racket to coincide with the change of balls. The numbers stencilled onto the balls have no meaning to the game’s participants, they are only there to identify the balls in use. If Rafael Nadal hits a ball out of court, he wants to be sure that the people on the adjacent court send him back his correct ball. It’s a as simple as that. I don’t know about you, but I love the smell of tennis balls!

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