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http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports_tennisblog/2008/03/usta-atp-battle.html

USTA, ATP battle over future of Tennis Channel Open

KEY BISCAYNE -- One of my moles (not a shadowy human but an actual talking rodent) tells me that the letter sent by USTA czar Arlen Kantarian to ATP CEO Etienne de Villiers over the sale of the Las Vegas Tennis Channel Open was candid, clear and extremely tough.

I'd love to see a copy of the letter and I'm working on it, but neither organization is anxious to air this one out publicly. The ATP wants to buy the tournament from the Tennis Channel and move it out of the U.S., possibly South Africa. The USTA, which has invested $6 million in the Tennis Channel, is ready to call up the Marines if that tournament tries to leave the country.

And just to make things more interesting, Butch Buchholz, who is chairman of the Sony Ericsson Open, is putting together a consortium to buy the tournament and move it to Saddlebrook, just outside Tampa. That happens to be where Mardy Fish, the Bryan brothers, John Isner and James Blake practice and call home.

I asked Blake on Friday to comment on the possible loss of this tournament and it was obvious that he's in the loop, which is not surprising, considering his association with Saddlebrook.

"As an American, I know there's been quite a bit of a migration of tournaments from the U.S. I think not that many years ago there were 20 tournaments in the States," he said. There are now 14.

"So I would definitely like to see that number at least stay where it is. The tournament in Vegas, I know, hasn't drawn huge crowds. But if there is a possibility to have it somewhere else in the States, where we can keep kind of the swing going among Delray Beach, Memphis and San Jose, I think that would be great.

"Obviously, I'm a little biased, being an American, but I think it makes sense for the tour."

And if it moved to Saddlebrook? Did I see Blake's eyebrow raise there? "Yeah, I love playing in New Haven because it's so close my home, where I grew up. And if there's a chance to play another tournament close to Tampa, where I live now, whether it be Saddlebrook, that would be ideal. I'd do everything I can to make sure it sells out. I'd invite every single one of my friends."

There's going to be ample opportunity to keep the pressure on to hold onto that 14th U.S. tournament because no decision on sale of an event can be made without the ATP board, which doesn't meet again until Wimbledon.
 

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"As an American, I know there's been quite a bit of a migration of tournaments from the U.S. I think not that many years ago there were 20 tournaments in the States," he said. There are now 14."

Come on... :rolleyes:
 

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I think 3 tournaments in Florida in the first 3 months of the year is a bit much.
 

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south africa could really use an ATP event,
gives a chance for Anderson, De Voest, Moodie, Whitehouse, Van der Merwe, Wolmarans
to get some ATP expierience and in their home country as well,
and theirs only one african atp tournament at the moment (morrocco)
so another one in south africa makes sense...:):):)
 

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uh south africa has 0
 

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Vamos South Africa. Sure they should get one.

Somebody lost a tournament licence in a casino? :p
 

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Here's a little more insight into the situation:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-0327tennischannel,0,6608937.story

Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas could move to Tampa area
By Charles Bricker | South Florida Sun-Sentinel


KEY BISCAYNE - The Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas probably will be sold this summer after an unsuccessful two-year run and Butch Buchholz, tournament chairman of the Sony Ericsson Open, will be among those bidding to buy it and move it to Saddlebrook Resort, just outside Tampa.

The ATP also is believed to be interested in purchasing the tournament and moving it to South Africa, a decision that would cause a great deal of consternation at the USTA headquarters in White Plains, N.Y., which takes a very hard line on any American tournament leaving the country.

USTA CEO Arlen Kantarian has sent a letter to ATP CEO Etienne de Villiers expressing his concern over the prospect of the tournament leaving the U.S.

The ATP had no definitive comment on sale of the tournament, except to point out that no decision could be made on sale of any tournament until the ATP board of directors meets at Wimbledon in June.

Sale of the Vegas event would reduce the number of U.S. men's tournaments from 14 to 13 after the USTA invested millions of dollars in the Tennis Channel, which has a contract to broadcast night matches at the Sony Ericsson Open and to also matches from the U.S. Open Series six weeks of men's and women's matches prior to the U.S. Open which was cobbled together as a package by the USTA.

Why the ATP would want to move a tournament to South Africa is a mystery. The country has very few professional players and no history of great tennis. What it does have is the headquarters of South African Airlines, which is a major ATP sponsor.

None of that is making officials at the USTA happy. One of that organization's major goals is to promote tennis in the United States.

The tournament was moved to Las Vegas from Scottsdale, where it had been owned by IMG.

Buchholz said Thursday there could be other bidders, but his plan to form a consortium of investors and play the tournament in a new, 8,000-seat stadium being planned by Saddlebrook. The tournament might keep its current dates the first week in March.

The tournament would have a built-in numbers of players who practice and live either at Saddlebrook or nearby Wesley Chapel, including James Blake, Mardy Fish and the Bryan twins, one of the leading doubles teams in men's tennis.

Saddlebrook is located just off I-75 15 minutes north of Tampa.

Charles Bricker can be reached at [email protected]
 

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United States of America: 14 Tournaments
Asia, Africa, Oceania and South America WTA&ATP: 15 Tournaments
 

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Wesley Whitehouse retired and got married. Not sure he cares too much about this particular issue.
 

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Why the ATP would want to move a tournament to South Africa is a mystery. The country has very few professional players and no history of great tennis. What it does have is the headquarters of South African Airlines, which is a major ATP sponsor.
Wait, what? RSA has won the Davis Cup before (regardless of circumstances) and it currently has no men's tennis tournaments, bar one Challenger.

This article is just another case of American arrogance on the part of Charles Bricker.
 

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Here's a little more insight into the situation:

Why the ATP would want to move a tournament to South Africa is a mystery. The country has very few professional players and no history of great tennis. What it does have is the headquarters of South African Airlines, which is a major ATP sponsor.

None of that is making officials at the USTA happy. One of that organization's major goals is to promote tennis in the United States.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-0327tennischannel,0,6608937.story
So what you are saying Mr Bricker, is that Asia, Africa and Oceania do not have similar ambitions to the USTA, and that it is more important to promote tennis in the US than elsewhere?

Shame on you... :(
 

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Would be great to see SA get an event, I'm sure it would be beneficial to them, and the game in many ways.
 

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south africa could really use an ATP event,
gives a chance for Anderson, De Voest, Moodie, Whitehouse, Van der Merwe, Wolmarans
to get some ATP expierience and in their home country as well,
and theirs only one african atp tournament at the moment (morrocco)
so another one in south africa makes sense...:):):)
South Africa did have an ATP tournament at one time. It obviously did not get the support to stick.

I think the Vegas tournament should be moved to San Diego or Newport Beach. Both areas have the sort of crowds to support it.
 

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South Africa did have an ATP tournament at one time. It obviously did not get the support to stick.

I think the Vegas tournament should be moved to San Diego or Newport Beach. Both areas have the sort of crowds to support it.
I was just going to make this point. Toward the end, the SA Open was moving to a different city every year because it couldn't keep sponsors and nobody was buying tickets. I think it ended up in some gambling resort called Sun City for its last year. That's a hard history to combat.
 
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