Tag Archive | "Ljubicic"

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New Season Equals Radical Initiatives For The ATP

Apparently, the change bug bit not only the WTA but also the ATP. With the sports’ global appeal on the rise particularly in Asia, the ATP decided the time had come for a major overhaul. Moreover, concerns over the inordinate number of retirements and withdraws from events prompted the organization to revisit its rules in order to combat that particular virus.

Here are a couple of key modifications that will be in play in 2009:

1) The ATP Masters series will be renamed Masters “1000” keeping in line with the number of ranking points at stake. The next tier of tournaments will be called “500” and “250” also reflecting the points to be rewarded.

2) Masters “1000” will consist of nine cities and the year-end tournament. It will be compulsory for the top players to participate in eight out of the nine tournaments. Also, there will be 11 “500” events to which players will be forced to commit for a minimum of four years.

3) This should be pegged the ‘play to get paid’ rule. Word of honor will no longer be the measure of a player’s health; a medical panel will decide the validity of an injury. If a player is deemed fit to compete, he will be subject to suspension and depending on his ranking monetary penalty will apply including revenue sharing loss.

To heighten tennis’ visibility, the ATP plans to pour millions into constructing new stadiums worldwide while revamping others. Further, it wants to increase its viewing audience by picking up more broadcasting rights. Moreover, the ATP retooled its calendar applying, whenever possible, the successful format of the U.S. Open series whereby a group of tournaments leads up to the grand prize of the majors’ crown.

Yet, there appears to be some fuzziness as to how the new system functions. A major detail that remains nebulous is the value that the majors will be awarded. How many ranking points will a U.S Open or Wimbledon trophy be worth? Moreover, controversy has arisen over the new policies. American Andy Roddick has vociferously denounced the new calendar as player unfriendly. Roddick feels it will be abusive, requiring an eleven-month commitment from the players. Also, he fears that it will augment the possibility of injury. On the other hand, player and ATP board member Ivan Ljubicic praised the revised rules as favorable for the game in general and the fans in particular. Only time will tell which player is right.

To attempt to decode the new rules click here, to read the press release issued by the ATP on August 28, 2008.  To take a closer look at the 2009 ATP calendar simply click here.

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“Journey to Beijing – Tennis Celebrates The Olympics” Released by the ITF

Have you ever wondered what other sport your favorite tennis players might be best suited for had they not chosen tennis?  Thanks to a new book today released by the International Tennis Federation, we have some insight into the answer to this question.  Launched to celebrate the 20th anniversary of tennis’ reinstatement into the Olympics, the book features pictures of the world’s top players dressed up as athletes from other summer and winter Olympic sport

Maria Sharapova is pictured as a rhythmic gymnast, Roger Federer as a fencer, Rafael Nadal as a soccer player, and Novak Djokovic as a skier.

Among the believable portrayals are the towering duo of Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic as water polo players, the ever so flexible Jelena Jankovic as a gymnast, and Lindsay Davenport as a volleyball player. Davenport’s father was actually a 1968 Olympian in volleyball.  Portrayals that seem like a stretch include Serena Williams as a figure skater, Tomas Berdych as a boxer, and Nicole Vaidisova as an ice hockey player.

To view the above pictures as well as all the others click here.

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This Week On Grass On The ATP And WTA Tours

At the Ordina Open in the Netherlands, a combined ladies and gentlemen event, Spaniard David Ferrer, seeded number one, defeated Frenchman Marc Gicquel in the finals 6-4, 6-2 in order to win his first grass court title.

The second seed and world number nine, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, was eliminated by Gicquel in the second round. Other prominent players who fell include Ivan Ljubicic in the second round, Guillermo Canas in the semifinals and Mario Ancic in the quarterfinals. All was not lost for Ancic though who teamed up with Austrian Jurgen Melzer in the doubles. These two surprised the second seed Leander Paes/Mahesh Bhupathi in the finals, winning the trophy 7-6, 6-3.

On the women’s side, Danira Safina, the third seed, who has been on a dream ride the last few months, was shocked in the finals by 30-year-old Thai qualifier Tamarine Tanasugarn 5-7, 3-6. Safina beat the number one seed Elena Dementieva in the semifinals. For second seed Anna Chakvetadze the headaches continue this year; Alona Bondarenko stopped her in the quarterfinals.

Tanasugarn had to do it the hard way, but this was the most productive week of her career. After playing two matches to get into the main draw, Tamarine defeated last week’s titlist on grass Kateryna Bondarenko, then Ashley Harkelroad in the second round, hometown sweetheart Michaella Krajicek in the quarterfinals and got rid of the other Bondarenko sister, Alona, in the semifinals. Krajicek gave the locals something to cheer for regardless by winning the doubles with partner Marina Erakovic 6-3, 6-2.

At the Slazenger Open in Nottingham England, Ivo Karlovic successfully defended his title by beating Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-7, 7-6. The higher seeds at this tournament were from the top twenty in the world. The well-known doubles teams of Jonathan Erlich/ Andy Ram seeded number one lost in the first round. In the finals, Bruno Soares/Kevin Ullyett prevailed over Jeff Coetzee/Jamie Murray 6-2, 7-6.

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With ESPN & NBC Dollars Come First, Tennis Fans Last

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With ESPN & NBC Dollars Come First, Tennis Fans Last

img_2763One has to look no further than the coverage of the French Open men’s semifinal to understand the reason why the major networks are losing viewership. In their desire to capture revenues, these organizations have failed to keep in mind their audience.

At the odd hours that the French Open is transmitted, only an avid fan would care enough to watch. Therefore, as one such fan, I feel slighted when instead of viewing live action, I am presented with pre-recorded programs. Gone are the days when television had a monopoly on this sort of information. Nowadays, with up-to-the-minute data a click away on the internet, this medium is running the risk of becoming obsolete in the world of sport.

From the outset on May 25th , I followed the competition on the Tennis Channel. Early on in the tournament, ESPN (ABC’s sister station) picked up where that network left off, making it a seamless transition. Then on June 2, as the Tennis Channel terminated its programming, I expected ESPN to show the next match, Croatian Ivan Ljubicic versus Frenchman Gael Monfils. Instead, there was a replay of the calamity of Maria Sharapova vis-à-vis Dinara Safina, culminated with the annihilation of American Robby Ginepri by Chilean Fernando Gonzalez. Any fan with computer access was probably aware of the results of these completed matches.

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