I dont know whether or not this topic has been discuused before , anyway I read two related articles about this today :
The Madrid Masters could become the fifth "big" men's grandslam. A former colleague Guillermo Vilas is behind the project. Is it possible?
The organizers of the tennis tournament in Madrid, won by David Nalbandian in its 2007 edition, they be willing to submit his candidacy in the event of future changes in the organization of tennis allow organize a Grand Slam in the Spanish capital.
"If there is a real possibility of purchase, we would be willing to sit down to talk," Gerard Tsobanian ,executive director of the Masters Series Madrid, told dpa , which since May 2009 will be a "mini Grand Slam" (now considers the Miami Open) with the best men's and women's tennis.
"We aspire to have the best tournament in the world, and we believe it is a legitimate concern," insisted Tsobanian.
The Romanian businessman Ion Tiriac, who doubles partner outside of the Argentinean Guillermo Vilas and currently controls the Spanish tournament, raised in October during an interview with the agency DPA their desire to organize a tournament with more awards than the Grand Slam and the same score .
"I go and I put 15 million, but I want to be at the level of points for Roland Garros. Let me Compete !" Said Tiriac, speaking on facts create fifth Grand Slam to join the Melbourne, Paris, London and New York .
Tsobanian elaborated on the wishes of Tiriac. "the creation of a new Grand Slam Does not depend on Mr Tiriac , but the question is who has the power of decision," said executive director of the event.
Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), will be in Madrid tomorrow for the presentation of the 2008 Davis Cup.
The Italian opposes plans Tiriac, which it describes as "provocative", and recommended to the mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, who is involved in the tournament.
"The problem in Madrid is that the tournament is owned by a businessman, and not in the city. Since I told Albert that it would be good to buy a portion of the tournament," he told DPA in Melbourne the chairman of the ITF before undertake flight to Madrid.
Another related article:
Australian Open 'living in fear'
30 January 2008
MELBOURNE - When Ion Tiriac launched his proposal of introducing a fifth Grand Slam event in Madrid in October, part of the tennis world crucified him for wanting to change a situation that has remained the same for decades.
Four months later, the Australian Open is living in fear of the proposal, which despite many obstacles is perfectly in accordance with the rules.
“This is a provocation by Tiriac. The rights of Grand Slams are based on the rights of history,” Francesco Ricci Bitti said.
Ricci Bitti, president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), was expected in Madrid yesterday for the presentation of the 2008 Davis Cup.
“Legally it is possible to make changes, but in terms of history I find it very unlikely,” the tennis official said.
The ITF Constitution allows for the creation of new Grand Slam tournaments and for changes in the host cities. No single Grand Slam is guaranteed forever.
Tiriac spoke carefully when he formulated his “provocation” in October, in an interview with dpa.
“I want to compete. Tomorrow I go and ask how much are prizes at Roland Garros - 15 million? I go and put down 15 million, but I want to be at the same level as Roland Garros,” Tiriac said. “Let me compete!”
The Romanian - the most powerful businessman in world tennis - was proposing a fifth Grand Slam, alongside those already established in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York.
Uneasy about Tiriac’s intentions, the Australian federation (Tennis Australia) was self-critical in December.
“The Australian Open, one of the world’s four Grand Slams, is at a crossroad, its future position and existence at risk,” said Tennis Australia’s annual report. “Demand for the right to stage tennis events has increased dramatically in the past five years, with significant financial backing available in Asia and the Middle East.”
An example of modernity and audacity 20 years ago, when it left the grass at Kooyong to move to what was then called Flinders Park, the Australian Open is now suffering a growth crisis.
Its facilities are no longer the latest thing and have become too small to hold the increasing number of spectators, which has grown from 330,000 in 1988 to almost double in the edition that ended last week.
Besides the threat from Spain and Tiriac, there is another from Asia. Chinese player Na Li said in Melbourne that she would like to see the Australian Grand Slam move to Shanghai.
The Australian Pat Cash, Wimbledon champion in 1987, disagreed strongly, and argued that it would be a shame for one of the great institutions of world sport to move to a country that started to be interested in tennis less than a decade ago.
Australia - which just renewed until 2013 its sponsorship contract with the South American motor company Kia - presents itself as the ”Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific.” The title would also fit China.
However, Australians are most worried about Spain. Or rather, about Tiriac.
“There is talk that the Spanish want to buy Australia. Do you think Australia can have a Grand Slam forever?” someone asked world number one Roger Federer before the start of the tournament.
“Well, ’forever...’ I don’t know. ’Forever’ is a long time, but I do not see a change in the near future,” the Swiss replied.
As Australians decided to invest $2 million to develop a plan to “save” their Open, Tiriac defended himself with a letter to the latest edition of the French publication Tennis Magazine, which favours keeping traditions.
“Please stop demonising Madrid and Ion Tiriac,” the businessman said.
The troubled world of tennis - at a time when the real dimension of the gambling scandal remains unknown, an issue that could affect leadership structures in the medium term - needs to open windows for the future. And Madrid officials keep their eyes wide open to seize any chance they get.
“We have not made any inquiries to buy the Australian Open, and we are not planning to do it either. But if there was a real possibility to buy it, we would be willing to sit down and talk,” Gerard Tsobanian, managing director of the Madrid Masters Series, told dpa.
The tournament will be a “mini Grand Slam” from May 2009, with the best men and women in world tennis.
“We aspire to have the best tournament in the world, and we think that is a legitimate aspiration,” Tsobanian insisted. “It is not up to Mr. Tiriac to create a new Grand Slam, but the question is who is in a position to make that decision,” he added.
The decision is up to the ITF. But with money everything is easier, and Tiriac knows it.
World star turned businessman
ION Tiriac, born on 9 May 1939 is a Romanian former tennis player and a billionaire businessman. He is now one of the wealthiest men in Romania according to an issue of Capital Top 300 wealthiest men in Romania where he occupies the top spot.He was the first Romanian to enter the Forbes Rich List Tiriac first appeared on the international sports scene as an ice hockey player on the Romanian national team at the 1964 Winter Olympics. Shortly after that he switched to tennis as his main sport. With fellow Romanian Ilie Nastase he won the men's doubles in the 1970 French Open and reached the Davis Cup finals several times in the 1970s. In 1983, he became a tennis manager; above all, he managed Boris Becker from 1984 to 1993. In 1998 he became president of the Romanian National Olympic Committee.