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Posted: Wednesday August 6, 2008 3:52PM; Updated: Monday August 25, 2008 11:19AM
Jon Wertheim Jon Wertheim >
TENNIS MAILBAG

How the Olympics are hurting tennis, Federer-Serena and more (cont.)

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What's the over/under on number of tennis players being flag bearers at the Beijing opening ceremonies?
-- Nick, Irvine, Calif.

• Four.

Any shot at seeing Hingis back on the court (competing in the main women's draw!) at the 2009 U.S. Open?
-- Jay Judson, Phoenix, Ariz.

• Unfortunately not. I think one comeback is enough. Apart from the unfortunate -- and, I contend, deeply unfair -- second retirement, her results were really starting to tail off last year.

Thanks for keeping me in the tennis loop while I've been in Afghanistan for the last 1.5 years. Simple question, no hypotheticals, ifs, ands, or buts. Just YES or NO. Do you think Fed will win another Grand Slam?
-- J.D. Crouch, Kabul, Afghanistan

• Yes. And best of luck over there.

Jon, I'm heading to the U.S. Open for the third time. I remember there are some restaurants in Flushing that you recommend. You mind running that info by me (us) again?
-- Chris Sorensen, Denver, Colo.

Enjoy. And here's a personal favorite:

SHOTS, MISCELLANY:

• Several of you passed on this petition:

As Paul Masterton of Edinburgh, Scotland, writes: "I have begun a petition online to encourage the ITF to increase its prize money at the lowest level of the women's tour. The $10,000 event was introduced in 1984 and prize money has not increased AT ALL in 24 years. I think this is incredulous considering how much prize money on the main tour is spiraling. A men's $15k was introduced in 1998, why after 10 years is the ITF allowing this inequality?... With prize money for most players under $5,000 but it costing around $30,000 to fund a full season -- players of all ages, from all over, and whether ranked or just trying to get a ranking are running up MASSIVE debts and credit card bills."

• A group of Sampras fans want to construct a monument to their man at the National Tennis Center. For more info click here:

• Props to Barbara Beck of Rochester, Minn., for noting that Gerry Armstrong was working matches in Cincy.

• Aside to reader Priscilla of Chennai, India: I seem to have misplaced your e-mail, but feel free to write back.

• InsideOut Sports & Entertainment announced that Los Cabos, Mexico, will host a new tour event on the Outback Champions Series beginning in 2009. The Del Mar Development Champions Cup will be held March 18-22 at the Palmilla Tennis Club and will be the first tour stop in Central America on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. The tournament will feature some of the biggest names in tennis, including Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Michael Chang and Todd Martin among the potential players.

• The Wilson U.S .Open Tennis Ball will serve as the Official Ball for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, repeating its distinction at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

• Nestor Cot of Quezon City, Philippines, sends us this bizarre Jankovic YouTube link. Maybe now that she's No.1 in the world, she'll get a bathroom break.

Nick Einhorn of Greenwich, Conn.: Trivia question: given that Nadal and Jankovic might become No. 1 the same week, when was the last time both the men's and women's No. 1 changed the same day? Answer: July 5, 1999, when Davenport and Agassi took over from Hingis and Sampras, respectively.

• HARSH WORDS -- and, from everything I've heard, totally justified outrage -- from the ITF over Rainer Schuettler's selection to the German Olympic team;

"The ITF has received the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the case of German player Rainer Schuettler. The ITF is very disappointed with the decision and feels that the precedent set today could ultimately harm the rights of International Federations to set qualification criteria and puts the role of the International Federation in the Olympic Games into discussion. It is very disturbing for the ITF, and should be for the IOC, when players who do not meet the ITF qualification criteria, approved by the IOC, are entered at the expense of players who qualified and deserve to represent their countries at the 2008 Olympic Games.

"The ITF, like every International Federation, is asked by the IOC to set qualification criteria for our sport in order to deliver the best quality field to the Olympic Tennis Event. For the 2008 Olympic Tennis Event, the first 56 players were entered into the singles using the computer rankings of 9 June 2008 as long as no country had more than four singles players in the draw. The ITF never argues with the right of NOCs to enter athletes into the Olympic Tennis Event but we expect these entries to be in the frame of a transparent and consistent qualification system, established by the International Federation with the approval of the IOC.

"The ITF believes that a transparent and consistent system of entry is the only possible way for tennis as an Olympic Sport to have credibility with players and fans. Every tennis event around the world uses the world ranking as the basis for entry and the ITF finds it difficult to accept that criteria can be changed from country to country depending on the views of particular National Olympic Committees. The ITF has acted in a transparent and correct way, in accordance with our qualification system and the tradition in our sport. It is sad that the IOC was not able to arbitrate in a matter like this thus forcing ITF to be a respondent before CAS, a body that can only make reference to the Olympic Charter, for having applied correctly and transparently our rules.

"The German Olympic Committee used their criteria to refuse the entry of Denis Gremelmayr who should have received direct acceptance under the ITF qualification system. The next German in the list was Michael Berrer who was six places ahead of Mr. Schuettler at the entry deadline. Mr. Schuettler did not fulfil the entry criteria set by the German NOC until well after the 9 June deadline and, therefore, should not have been considered for entry.

"The ITF deplores the lack of understanding by the German Olympic Committee about entry to tennis events around the world including the Olympic Games. However, while recognizing that the German NOC may not understand how professional tennis works, there is no excuse for Mr. Schuettler who is prepared to take a place that was earned by his compatriot Denis Gremelmayr and of next alternate Michael Berrer. The ITF wishes him the best of luck even if he was not eligible for Beijing."

• The USTA announced that it has reached an agreement with Tennis Cincinnati to acquire a majority interest in the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters -- the second-highest-attended summer tennis event in the U.S. after the U.S. Open. Plans call for significant upgrades to the tournament facility, and to the overall fan experience. Additionally, the USTA and Tennis Cincinnati are in discussions to potentially secure a top women's tournament for a future combined men's and women's event.

• Greg Brennan of Oxnard, Calif. has this week's LLS -- Marion Bartoli and Jack White.

HAVE A GOOD WEEK EVERYONE!

 
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