Tennis Mailbag (cont.)
How come Arlen Kantarian is given credit for "spectacular growth" of revenues at the USO while revenue growth is barely mentioned in evaluating Etienne de Villiers' performance. The RATE of growth under de Villiers exceeds the "spectacular growth" under Kantarian.
There were a handful of questions about Kantarian's recent departure from the USTA. My fear is that this is awfully "inside tennis" and the majority of readers -- especially from outside the U.S. -- care little about the relentless internal politics of the USTA, etc. I do, however, think that this underscores a bigger issue for tennis. The "outsider-executives" with broader vision and experience often rankle the "insiders."
The desire for change is often seen as a lack of respect for tradition. The "insider-executives" are so caught up in the politics and so beholden that they lack broad vision. Along with a half dozen or so other candidates -- Paul McNamee, Brad Drewett, Patrice Clerc, Mark Young, Butch Bucholz, Boston Consulting Group's Brian Harris -- Kantarian is allegedly on the short list for ATP CEO job. So he may still be in tennis.
Jerry has been writing me weekly about de Villiers and I think his question is valid. The guy comes in with a mandate to shake things up. He does just that, all the while raising prize money by a healthy amount (especially in this climate), finding a site and sponsor for the new Masters Cup, and guiding the ship through choppy waters during which a serious legal challenge could have torpedoed the entire craft. (Thanks, Proskauer Rose!) And he was run out of town because of ... what? He dared to downgrade a claycourt event? He was at his imperious worst with the round-robin debacle (an unqualified disaster, but hardly a major issue)? He made too many Disney analogies? Honestly, it's still unclear what he did to get impeached -- other than rankle the top players.
"[Vera] Zvonareva became increasingly frustrated and collapsed to the ground in tears when [Venus] Williams broke her in the final set to go up 3-1." Um ... really?
I can't speak for you, but I've had my share of the crying game. My new nickname for Zvonareva: "Hostess with the Lachrymose-tess." There was less fluid in Poseidon Adventure.
Hopefully this makes the mailbag because I just killed two hours of "work-time" researching this. Hi, Jon, something for all of the anti-Roddites out there: Roddick and Federer will finish the year in the top 10 for the seventh consecutive year. The only other players to accomplish the feat (since the ATP began keeping rankings in 1973) are: Connors (16 years in a row), Ivan Lendl (13), Sampras (12), Stefan Edberg (10), Guillermo Vilas (9), Andre Agassi (8 in a row and 16 of 18), Boris Becker (8), Bjorn Borg (8), John McEnroe (8) and Mats Wilander (7). Not a bad list to be included in.
Next time we read one of those grim reports about productivity, we'll think of you, Blake Redabaugh. I would like some consulting firm to study what percent of "work time" is devoted to on-line fun. Anyway, according to the ATP, Blake is correct. And, yes, this does speak well of Roddick.
I've written this before, but I've noticed that the "anti-Roddites" seem to be an international movement that uses Roddick as a sort of "tennis proxy" for everything they don't like about the United States in general: Lots of power but a deficit of nuance. A certain cowboy swagger. Wit and irony that, while funny and familiar to those of us who watch Jon Stewart, sometimes gets lost in translation. Assuming the polls and anecdotal evidence are to be believed, the global impression of the U.S. has surged in the past week. Maybe Roddick's popularity in the Republic of Tennis will spike accordingly.
Nice CLE/Ancic reference, but I'm pretty sure only the lawyers will get it.
We should all be so lucky.
Are you not taking any entries for "random encounters with tennis players" any more? I enjoyed reading them a lot (although I had none to contribute). Have you just run out of prizes, or entries?
Actually I have some swag in the closet, including some Hurricane string from Babolat and, I believe, a Dunlop racket. If you got stories, pass 'em on. In fact, here's Jason Mauss of Surprise, Ariz.:
"Hi, Jon. Long-time reader of your tennis mailbag. I had a pretty special opportunity this past week. I was the racquet stringer for the Outback Champion Series event held Nov. 5-9 here in Surprise, Ariz., at the city's tennis and racquet complex. Sometimes, with all the drama of the ATP Tour, these guys are easily forgotten.
The field here included finalist Todd Martin and the champion John McEnroe and other grand slam champions like Jim Courier. I got to hang out in the players' lounge all week while I strung racquets, and have to say that I would have never guessed how relaxed and low-key the players all are off the court. I'm not sure I've ever been so nervous about stringing a racquet as when Johnny Mac brought over his racquet and string (gut) and asked me to string it with one set left in the match before his.
All in all, it was a great five days of tennis, and the event was a great success and a great boost to the tennis community here. I'm already looking forward to when the event comes back here next year."
If you're a My Space-savvy college kid and would like to make some beer money, please contact me.
We're thinking Andy Roddick's flight got delayed?
Apropos of nothing ... Marcos Baghdatis is in danger of falling out of the top 100.
Dave of Hong Kong, writes: "You know, had Nadal stayed in Shanghai, we would have had all pairs of names R,R,N,N,J,J,A,A in the field ... wow, who cares!"
Not to be outdone: Joshua of Portland, Ore., "Apropos of nothing (other than perhaps as yet another sign of Eastern European dominance in the WTA), the only player in the top 10 whose first name doesn't end with the letter "a" is Venus Williams."
How come my parents never supported me like this?
Having nothing to do with tennis: James Blake and the rest of my fellow Wire fans must check this out.
Tennis Channel is asking fans to vote for who they think qualifies as the most stylish male and female tennis players. Results will be featured in a special edition of original network series Open Access -- Open Access: Fashion Sense -- on Tennis Channel Sunday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. ET. Polls are now open on the network's Web site, for fans to vote as many times as they like.
Speaking of Tennis Channel, Somay Ku, a heart-wrenching and award-winning documentary film about the life of Patrick Olobo, Uganda 's top-ranked tennis player, will premiere on Tennis Channel on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. ET.
The film accompanies Olobo along a two-year journey as he struggles to leave behind a devastating civil war that has claimed the lives of some of his family members, and immigrate to the United States to discover a new life and fulfill his tennis dreams. But adjustment is not easy, and his tennis dream is threatened by the haunting memories of his past life. For more information about the critically praised film, voted Best Documentary at The Malibu International Film Festival, visit www.somayku.com.
Brian Hainline, M.D., has been named to the newly created position of Chief Medical Officer, USTA. In this ground-breaking position, Dr. Hainline will develop and oversee medical policies affecting all aspects of the sport, from recreational programs to professional tournaments, with an eye toward promoting and developing the healthy growth of tennis. He also will develop and coordinate comprehensive medical practices for the U.S. Open, Davis and Fed Cup competitions, and USTA Pro Circuit events, and will supervise medical, sport science and conditioning issues for USTA Elite Player Development athletes.
New Chapter Press has announced the publication of its latest book -- On This Day In Tennis History --a calendar-like compilation of historical and unique anniversaries, events and happenings from the world of tennis through the years -- written by Randy Walker, the sports marketing and media specialist, tennis historian and former USTA press officer. More information on the book can be found at www.tennishistorybook.com.
Tom Gorman has been named Director of Tennis of La Quinta Resort & PGA West (TM) in the Palm Springs, Calif., area. Gorman was one of the founding tennis professionals that originally developed La Quinta Resort's award-winning tennis program in the late 1970s. Consistently ranked by Tennis Magazine as one of the "top tennis resorts in the United States," La Quinta Resort offers 23 hard and clay tennis courts, an all-star lineup of USPTA certified instructors and a fully stocked pro shop. In addition, PGA West offers 19 total courts, including four grass, 13 hard and two clay.
A David Wheaton update.
Ivo Roethlin of Dallenwil sends this link.
(Hope you understand Swiss German. ;-)
Have a great week everyone!