Verbeeck: 'Venus is an early bird' - 'Lei Clijsters didn't pressure me' - ... - TennisForum.com

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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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Verbeeck: 'Venus is an early bird' - 'Lei Clijsters didn't pressure me' - ...

“In our tournament, everybody is equal”

Bob Verbeeck is the inspirator of the Antwerp tennisevent. Inspired by the magic duo Justine and Kim, de Limburger started the Proximus Diamond Games 3 years ago. The tournament quickly grew out to be one of the most succesful indoor tennis tournaments in the world. ‘It’s all a matter of timing’, says Verbeeck
“We couldn’t have picked a better moment. The first year we welcomed 70 000 people, the next year 98 000 and now 120 000! In the 2 first editions, Kim and Justine were crucial. Now, we are trying to moderate this complete ‘dependence’. On the long run, this tournament has to survive. In Antwerp, indeed.”

Your predecessor of the ECC tournament didn’t achieve that goal ...
Well, If the ECC would have been well managed, It would still exist today. That tournament showed us that there *is* a tennisculture in Belgium. But the ECC was too much built on glamour, even on decadence. We are really trying to avoid that. In our tournament, everybody is equal. No stuck-up VIP-stuff. The tournament doesn’t even have boxes right next to the court where only five people can be seated. In almost every other tournament they have those boxes. 85% of our crowd are families. During the ECC tournament, that was totally different. That’s also why we had a long thought about the diamond racket, because the link with the ECC would be too obvious. But now, I don’t regret we are able to ‘show off’ that wonderful trophy. When you see how in love Venus is with those little diamonds, you know you’re ok. It’s a bit like the Porches and the Filderstadt tournament. Even the players, who are used to a lot of luxury, stay ‘vulnerable’ to such things. By the way, Venus is ready! Weeks ago, she informed about her hotel room and her training schedule and she arranged for a trainings partner. Let’s hope she can stay without injury.

Aren’t you ‘tormented’ by all these injuries? When Kim has trouble with that ankle ...
... then you think: Sh*t, Let’s just hope that it will heal quickly and that she can play the Paris tournament without further damage. Last week she called me, right after she arrived, and she told me she had an injury. I almost had a heart attack, but luckily she was only joking.

What about your dependence on the Clijsters-Clan? Elke received a wild card and Els Callens didn’t, whereas she deserved it more based on her rank and achievements. En plus, Antwerp is Callens’ hometown!
And than people start saying that I did it under pressure from Lei Clijsters. I can formally deny those rumours. As she showed us in Tokyo last week, Els has a lot more chances to get into the main draw than Elke has. I really regret Els is making it seem as if we didn’t talk about that. Months ago, I told her, I couldn’t guarantee her a WC, but that she *could* be sure of an ‘interesting bonus’.

A kind of self-censorship then, to remain good friends ... ?
No. There was no ‘package-deal’: ‘You want Kim, then you have to give that WC to Elke’. That’s not the way it works. Elke is facing a very important year. This is our way to help her. Can I point out that there are player ranked around 45 who call me asking me for a WC. And, that there is not one single country where all the WC go to local players!

How many spectators would you have without Kim and Justine?
I think you can divide the current number by three. I would be pleased with 40 000 tickets in that case.
Most people are nervous when they have to organise a party for friend and family.
I can still sleep ok, thank u. I’m born a real optimist. My studies in the US only strengthened my optimism. In the US, people arn’t easily afraid of a challenge. I try to lose all stress by cycling. I’m hoping to climb the Mount Ventoux this year. Running isn’t for me anymore. My tendons are totaly worn-out (Verbeeck was European champion on the 3000m indoors in 1985).
The prizemoney is about 600.000 euro and you are welcoming more than 100.000 spectators. Those numbers are gigantic, almost un-Belgian-like?
Fairly quickly, we found a strong partner in Proximus. Otherwise i wouldn’t have started all this. Proximus is not only a financial support, but also helps ‘thinking’ and communicating. Most likely, we will close a deal for 3 years to come. Together we are trying to renew the tournament every year. Like that exhibition match between Appelmans and Monami. We are even thinking about organising a second tournament next year.

Just on the side: isn’t soccer an ‘unexploited area’ in this case? Even during the Champions League, the spectator gets to see *just* soccer.
Soccer is bound by traditions an club structures. When you see what a great total-package an NBA spectator gets ... Or let’s just think about the ‘Janet Jackson-scandal’ during the Super Bowl. Soccer is struggling with the hooligan problems too..

Teenagers who receive tons of money and who are treated like real stars: it seems like the perfect recipe for disasters?
The caprices of those tennisladies are quite ok. We are trying to be thoughtfull, obviously. We notice that even small things ,like placing a small box of Belgian chocolats in their hotelroom, are very appreciated. The players come back. That’s the biggest compliment to me. Caprices, you say? If you compare them with the demands of The Pointer Sisters or Gloria Gaynor during the athletics meeting in Brussels ... You know, we are dealing with topathletes. Kim, Justine, Venus: they want to train and play. If they want something extra, that’s perfectly normal. Venus is on the court every morning around 7.30 am. That means she gets out of bed around 6.30. You can’t do that when you’re hanging around in dancings till 3 in the morning.
Marc Vermeiren, Gazet van Antwerpen

J u s t i n e x p l i c a b l e


Justine: feb. 5, 2007:

"I hung on to tennis. I have done so for the past 20 years. It is something that is in me, it is me."

Last edited by pigam; Feb 14th, 2004 at 10:25 AM.
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 10:28 AM
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please Verbeeck.....who are you gonna kid?! We all know the deal behind that WC...this is an important year for Elke?! You bet it is...it is time she starts winning some sets.

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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Els is not interested in a 'bonus', she just want to proove to her crowd (probably for the last time) that she got the game!

A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening ear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn.
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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You guys really think Lei Clijsters (or anyone else) can pressure him like that?
I doubt it. I agree, though, Els probably sin't interested in the bonus, luckily she'll play the maindraw due to the Flipkens retirement

J u s t i n e x p l i c a b l e


Justine: feb. 5, 2007:

"I hung on to tennis. I have done so for the past 20 years. It is something that is in me, it is me."
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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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Seems Verbeeck is good at yoga: he practices the "foot in his mouth" position every day
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 10:36 AM
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Somebody should this guy up. I wasn't even aware about
the Elke WC scandal. Now I am. Thanks. What else shouldn't he
not be talking about?


Hey! Quick get over here Dawn Marie!
Get a load of this guy's interview.
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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenout
I wasn't even aware about
the Elke WC scandal. Now I am. Thanks. What else shouldn't he
not be talking about?
And you post on this board?! I advise you to see a doctor. Severe case of amnesia would be my diagnose

I actually like Bobby Verbeeck in this interview. He says nothing wrong, does he?

J u s t i n e x p l i c a b l e


Justine: feb. 5, 2007:

"I hung on to tennis. I have done so for the past 20 years. It is something that is in me, it is me."
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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigam
And you post on this board?! I advise you to see a doctor. Severe case of amnesia would be my diagnose

I actually like Bobby Verbeeck in this interview. He says nothing wrong, does he?

Actually, it's not amnesia. I use to smoke alot of pot during
my university days. Sorry.Got any super sized bag of
potato chips?
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigam
You guys really think Lei Clijsters (or anyone else) can pressure him like that?
I doubt it. I agree, though, Els probably sin't interested in the bonus, luckily she'll play the maindraw due to the Flipkens retirement
Lei knew didn´t "pressure" Verbeeck, but Verbeeck sure knew what the deal was.

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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigam
You guys really think Lei Clijsters (or anyone else) can pressure him like that?
I doubt it. I agree, though, Els probably sin't interested in the bonus, luckily she'll play the maindraw due to the Flipkens retirement
I think Yes, didn't he try to pressure the belgian gouvernment about how high were the taxes for Kim.
Marc Dehous can't say nothing to the press about Kim because of Lei.
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post #11 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spudrsca
I think Yes, didn't he try to pressure the belgian gouvernment about how high were the taxes for Kim.
Marc Dehous can't say nothing to the press about Kim because of Lei.
Wow, talk about a story that is strating to lead its own life...
He never did that. It was the Flemish minister who suggested there should maybe change something for topsporters in general, because the taxes in Belgium are extremely high, and tennisplayer, e.g. have tyo pay taxes in the countries where they play too.
There was a lot of protest from people saying tennisplayers earn enough, they shouldn't be priviliged!
Lei Clijsters said he never asked for such privilige, but that he thought the current situation was unfair. He never pressured the Belgian gouvernment. It was the Flemisch minister-president who suggested a change, Lei never asked for it.
The dehous part could be correct, I think

J u s t i n e x p l i c a b l e


Justine: feb. 5, 2007:

"I hung on to tennis. I have done so for the past 20 years. It is something that is in me, it is me."
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post #12 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandabou
Lei knew didn´t "pressure" Verbeeck, but Verbeeck sure knew what the deal was.
Stop making a fool out of yourself. In any other country it might be hard to see why a tournament director would give a WC to Elke, so surely there was a deal in tournaments like Leipzig and Luxemburg.

However, though I also think Els deserved that wild card, is it so hard to see why a Belgian tournament would give 2 WC to the best known young players.

Whether it's the right reason to decide who to give the WC is another question, but what would attract more attention?

Clijsters-Clijsters or Clijsters-Callens.

So little sisters surely benifits from having that famous sisters, but I don't think a deal was needed
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post #13 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by great smash
Stop making a fool out of yourself. In any other country it might be hard to see why a tournament director would give a WC to Elke, so surely there was a deal in tournaments like Leipzig and Luxemburg.

However, though I also think Els deserved that wild card, is it so hard to see why a Belgian tournament would give 2 WC to the best known young players.

Whether it's the right reason to decide who to give the WC is another question, but what would attract more attention?

Clijsters-Clijsters or Clijsters-Callens.

So little sisters surely benifits from having that famous sisters, but I don't think a deal was needed
So you admit that Leipzig, there was a deal?!

Besides what "young" prospect are you talking about?! I hope you didn´t mean Elke by that...´cause isn´t she already 19 and still has yet to win a match on tour?! Not much prospecting going on there..

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post #14 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 11:24 AM
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The second tournament sounds interesting to me. I wonder where, when and what the tier will be?
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post #15 of 50 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandabou
So you admit that Leipzig, there was a deal?!

Besides what "young" prospect are you talking about?! I hope you didn´t mean Elke by that...´cause isn´t she already 19 and still has yet to win a match on tour?! Not much prospecting going on there..
I'aint admitting anything, simply because none of the people here are aware of arrangements.

The only conclusion anyone could draw is there's reason to see why there could have been a deal. I'd prefer you'd stick to facts

BTW Having said this, i'm curious to see what 'fact' you'll be throwing at my head now.
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