WTA Officials - Uncut & Interesting - Indeed
Of course, the Williams' family are mentioned and the debacle of last year's IWs tourney.
March 16, 2002
PACIFIC LIFE OPEN
Indian Wells, California
An interview with:
CHARLIE PASARELL and RAYMOND MOORE
CHARLIE PASARELL: Welcome to nice, warm, sunny Indian Wells. It is sunny, but it is not warm.
Why don't we just start with today's matches, start talking a little bit. Feel free to jump in any time and ask any questions that you want to ask.
First match, Sampras-Hewitt. Raymond?
RAYMOND MOORE: Well, good match. Obviously a rematch of the US Open where Pete looked a little flat where he played Lleyton, if you guys remember that.
Today conditions, for me, they suit Hewitt because Sampras is obviously a power player with a big serve. I think when it blows, the shot most affected by wind is the serve because when you toss the ball up, it moves around so you cannot be as precise or powerful. So probably it favors Lleyton.
As I said yesterday, you know, Pete is playing with new enthusiasm. He's been invigorated, got a great coach, a guy who really knows the game. I would liken Jose Higueras in the old days to kind of Pancho Segura. He knows the game, has a great work ethic, which may - and I say may - have been missing from Pete earlier.
I've watched them a couple times this week where after the matches, even though Pete had won, Jose took him out onto a court and worked him out, drilled him again. I think that's terrific.
Pete s got, in my opinion, he could play another two, three years with his game. I think he's got at least one major left in him, at least. He could have two. He has a chance to win three of the majors and hopefully has a chance to win here, another one of the majors.
CHARLIE PASARELL: I also agree with you. I think this is going to be a real difficult test for Pete. He's only got one thing going for him, what Raymond talked about, his new enthusiasm. He's prepared. I think Jose, from watching him play, is getting Pete to start realizing that he can't just sit back there and hit big serves and hit big forehands, hit winner after winner, win matches.
I think, from talking a little bit with Jose, he's basically getting Pete to realize that he's got to work the point over, he's got to move his feet, he's got to prepare the shot, he's got to wait for the right opportunity where he can clock that forehand.
Obviously, you never want to discourage Pete from hitting that big serve, because he's got such an unbelievable serve. He'll continue to do that.
He's got to realize that he's not going to win just by hitting big serves and forehands, that he's really got to work the ball and move his feet, move about the court, cover the court a little bit better.
Saying that, this Lleyton Hewitt is a remarkable tennis player. I liken him very much to Jimmy Connors. He reminds me a lot of Connors in many ways. Certainly in his cockiness and brashness, his just unbelievable desire to win out there that he exudes. Scrambles around a lot like Connors. Maybe a slightly better serve than Jimmy Connors had. Maybe not as good a backhand, probably a little better forehand.
He's the kind of a player that if you try to play steady with him, he will attack. I think to beat Lleyton Hewitt, you really have to be an attacking player. Very, very few guys can play sort of the Lleyton Hewitt game. Maybe Agassi and a couple of others have the ability to play the Lleyton Hewitt game and beat him at it.
But Pete Sampras, if Pete has a big day today, serves well today, he could win. Maybe it's a little bit of revenge from the US Open. We'll see. It's going to be a good match to watch.
Q. Which is better for tennis, tennis in the sense of your tournament, people buying tickets for your tournament, the image overall of tennis, Sampras or Hewitt winning, old guy or new guy?
CHARLIE PASARELL: Good question. I would have to say Sampras. You know, I think Lleyton certainly is a new, young guy around the block. He is an American. He is from southern California. So from our perspective, our favorite will be Pete. You know, if he had to lose to somebody, Lleyton Hewitt is not a bad guy to lose to.
Most definitely Pete.
RAYMOND MOORE: As normal, Charlie and I don't agree on anything. We don't agree on that (laughter).
I think that's a 50/50. I think the game wins either one. Lleyton Hewitt is the new No. 1, new kid on the block, continues to establish his ranking and the recognition that he is the world No. 1.
I think Pete has slipped a little and is hopefully on his way back. I think for us as a sport, as a game, it's six of one and half dozen of another. I think it's really even.
Q. When you were sitting there watching both of them play as somebody running this tournament, somebody who wants those seats to be filled, as much attention in the newspapers, radio, TV, who were you more on edge about winning?
RAYMOND MOORE: If you asked me earlier in the week, I was certainly on edge about Pete berating Santoro or Pete winning last night.
But once you get to the semifinals, we have four great players. They all are attractive players, they play an attractive style. Frankly, for me, it doesn't really matter who's in the final. I think the game wins.
You have Tim Henman, who I've thought always, he's been an under-achiever I think so far in his life, but he's still young enough to correct that. I think it's great to see him here in the semifinals.
He plays a style of game which I'm familiar with and I understand a little bit because it mimics the old time players of Rod Laver, John Newcombe kind of style: aggressive, try to get to the net whenever possible. I think it's good to see him in the semifinal.
Todd Martin is just a first class guy, first class person, an American, plays Davis Cup. He does -- everything he does is good, in his personal life and for the game. I think it's a good image.
I think we have four superb representatives of the men's game in the semifinals. For me it really doesn't matter which two get to the final.
CHARLIE PASARELL: I didn't mean to say for Hewitt to be in the finals instead of Sampras it will be bad for us. But certainly we're trying to pick who would be your favorite, who would you rather have. You're picking two great players. In that case, No. 1 player in your finals of the tournament is not too shabby.
I'll talk a little bit now. I happen to agree with Raymond. I do agree with him sometimes, his analysis about Tim Henman. Also, by the way, he is known as Gentleman Tim, and truly is a gentleman. He's a great sportsman, great for the game. If Henman were to break through, and I know I have John Parsons here, they're dying to see him break through for England's sake. But I think for tennis' sake, I think he also would be a great champion. Happens to be a good friend of ours, too. We would love to see him break through.
Todd Martin, they just don't get any better than Todd Martin. He's just, as Raymond pointed out, a superb individual, and actually playing about as good tennis as I've ever seen him play in his life. It's amazing how well he has played this tournament under very difficult conditions and very difficult matches that he's had. So Todd, it's good to see him back again.
As Raymond pointed out, if you had to pick four guys to be in your semifinals, it's hard to beat the four that we've got in our semis today.
Q. With the women's event, we've had a great tournament certainly, but you can't help notice the absence of both Williams girls, Capriati, Amelie Mauresmo. Do you think it's time that the women's tour starts making issue of some of these names missing from their high-level tournaments and insist that they play, just as the men's tour says the Top 10 have to play these Tennis Masters Series events?
RAYMOND MOORE: I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, I think what's happened in the women's game over the last few years is they really -- the women have really become an attractive entity in the style that they play. They've developed some superstars. The women's game has made great strides.
You have this issue of equal prize money always lurking around the edges of these events. There's some justification for it right now because the women now have a great product.
However, having said that, it's sort of like one step forward, two steps back. We are the second largest tournament on the women's circuit. To only have five of the Top 10 here, they shoot themselves in the foot. They really do.
Someone asked me earlier, we did a news conference earlier this week, talking about rule changes. They were referring to the game of tennis. Should there be lets, those kinds of things? I said, I think the biggest rule change needed in the game is that the women, the top women, maybe the Top 25, whatever number, should be required to play the top events.
They're asking us to put up a whole bunch of prize money, which we do. We put up the second highest prize money on the ladies' tour. To have the top players playing in Dubai for $580,000 total prize money, or $580,000 prize money in Scottsdale down the road is, frankly, a slap in the face for us. But I hope it's going to be corrected. I hope this year is a watershed year, and that the women -- I think the powers in the WTA are beginning to realize this. Hopefully they don't shoot themselves in the foot again.
Again, Charlie and I, we're very disappointed that the Williams sisters didn't play here or that Jennifer didn't and Mauresmo. Lindsay couldn't help it, she was injured. But I really think the women's tour, that's the WTA, the organization needs to look at this very seriously.
Q. Obviously last year the Williams had a pretty rough go of it here, for whatever reason. We could debate that all day. What were your conversations with Venus and Serena? Jennifer certainly is one of the most appealing players we have. She hasn't played here in a long time, yet she played Scottsdale. What were your conversations with those three are parties?
RAYMOND MOORE: Charlie talked with Mr. Williams.
CHARLIE PASARELL: You know, I've had a conversation with him. Everybody knows what happened here last year. My attitude has always been that, you know, it happened. I wish it wouldn't have happened. You know, I would hope that they would forget and they would come back, even though I don't think we did anything wrong. So it's certainly not the tournament, it's not the one to be blamed.
To answer your question specifically, I can't recall where I've ever actually gone out of my way to ask any player - I've been running this tennis tournament now for over 20 years - that I've asked a player, called them up and said, "Please come and play in the tournament." I don't think I've ever done that ever in my life.
My attitude is I try to stage the best event I can possibly put up, try to treat the players as fairly as we can, try to give them as great an environment. This stadium, what we do here, the prize money, the hospitality, all those things, really just have the event almost sell itself.
I never have asked a player to come and play in the sense that, "Please come and play." Sure, when we talk to them, somebody says, "I'm thinking about playing in Indian Wells next year." I say, "Great, we'd love to have you."
I think they know that. I've had conversations with Venus and Serena. Never have I asked them to come back or forget what happened or anything. My attitude has been, "How are you doing?" We have a great relationship.
I'm hoping they'll be back next year.
Jennifer, I honestly don't know why she didn't come. Maybe it's not in her schedule. I don't know. I honestly don't.
Getting back to the question, most definitely they have to change the rules. I think the WTA, they should pretty much follow the ATP rule and the ranking. There should be a ranking penalty if they do not come and play the big events. The ATP, by the way, the ranking penalty goes down as far as the Top 50. It's even beyond the Top 10. It should be a tournament, that if you don't play here, you don't score any points.
You know, if you start talking about the women's ranking system, it is very confusing. We all have known for quite some time there Martina hung at No. 1 without really ever winning a major. You wonder, there's got to be something screwy about the ranking.
In the men's tour, we've been dealing with that over the years. I think we finally have a good ranking system in terms of the race, everybody begins with the beginning of the year. Somehow, at the end of the year, whoever played best in the major events and some other events, scores the most points, should probably be the No. 1 player.
I wish they would do the same for the women's tour. I'm hoping they will.
Q. To your credit I do recall you've never asked a player to come. The situation last year, no one was happy about it. I think it's also obvious to say a major women's tennis tournament without Venus and Serena is just not the same. In that context, would you ever consider talking to them?
CHARLIE PASARELL: Again, I want to point out something. Gustavo Kuerten didn't play Wimbledon. No. 1 player in the world. Did that affect Wimbledon?
Q. That's different.
CHARLIE PASARELL: Maybe different for other reasons.
The point I'm trying to make is, you can't just build an event, an event doesn't become great because some years some players don't play in the event. All we can control is staging the best possible event we can possibly do and put the things out there that will attract the players and make them come.
You know, there's no way you can ever force a tennis player to go play in an event that he doesn't want to play, I don't care what event it is. Example: kuerten, Wimbledon.
Is it bad that Kuerten did not play Wimbledon? Absolutely, he should play Wimbledon. Is it going to ultimately kill Wimbledon? No way. In time, Wimbledon will win and Kuerten will play Wimbledon.
I think kind of in the same way, you know, they'll come. I think the players will be coming back. I'm very confident.
Q. I've heard some people say one of the problems is that this is back to back with Key Biscayne. Scheduling is complicated. Is there any way to get a week or so break in between them?
CHARLIE PASARELL: Yeah, we've talked about it. Quite frankly, it's worked for 20 years, for as long as we've been back to back. I'm not sure. If it was an issue of "Can we put a tournament in between," we could work it out, and it can be worked out, I'm in favor of it.
But I'm not sure that that really is the answer. You know, the players that play here have three, four, five days to get to Miami, get used to it. I don't think that necessarily is the real reason.
I know some players have said that. I'm not sure that that's the answer. But if it really is the answer, fine.
Q. Back to the women's thing, I could be wrong, but the perception I've gotten over the last few years is that many of the top women regard the tour as sort of their personal domain, can do what they want to do, rather than actually making themselves a part of the tour and trying to help it function. Is that a totally wrong impression?
CHARLIE PASARELL: It is with me.
RAYMOND MOORE: I don't buy into that. Again, I just think, you know, this is a partnership between tournaments and players, the ATP Tour and the WTA Tour. I think both entities have to get around a table and try and pass rules that are good for the game.
I think the men have done that. They've made this a must play. It's a required stop, as are the other eight Masters Series tournaments. I simply think the women need to do the same. To do the same, they'll achieve what they want to achieve.
But it's very difficult for them to say, "We have to have equal prize money, we have to be the same as the men." Then their top stars don't support the tournament. They're asking us all the time to increase the prize money, which we're doing. Again, as I point out, they play for $2.1 million, which is the second highest in the entire world.
You know, I think we're the ones that have lost out this year, and hopefully the powers that be will get together and try. The ATP, there's many things wrong with the ATP; however, one of the things that's right is this rule. Now you have the nine Masters Series, who put up a lot of prize money, I think the nine tournaments comprise almost 50% of the prize money they play for in the entire year, but it's because there's a partnership. The players understand the responsibility to play these events, and the tournaments put up the conditions and the prize money.
CHARLIE PASARELL: It goes even beyond that. I will try to answer your question.
As you know, for example, just to give you a little bit of the economics, we're part of the ATP Tour television package, and ATP Tour sponsorship package with Mercedes men's. We're also part of the WTA Tour television package and part of the Sanex sponsorship program.
It is important for the WTA to make those things work, just like it is important for the ATP Tour. In terms of selling sponsorships and definitely selling television, it is important that you do these kinds of events. Quite frankly, you compare us to the other Tier I events, with the exception of Miami, I don't think anybody else comes close.
If that's not valuable for the WTA Tour, it has to be. It would allow them to grow their revenues. By doing so, they can then help support the women's prize money. In fact, my agreement with them is everything that you give me, I will add onto the prize money. Next year if they give me twice as much as they give me this year, you will see the increase immediately.
As Raymond pointed out, it truly is a partnership. It really is a financial partnership. So it is very important that the WTA as an organization has to be very concerned that they can't put one of their best events, you know, and not have many of their top stars. Ultimately it's going to hurt them financially. It's going to hurt the whole tour.
It's more than just that. I think the ATP learned their lesson - not learned their lesson - but realized it. That's why they passed these rules. That's why their television package has continued to grow.
A question over here.
Q. Turning the focus to Todd Martin, he had a great win over Kafelnikov. Seems like he has renewed vigor in his game. Do you see him winning a championship?
CHARLIE PASARELL: I think he could win here. I tell you, he's got a real good shot of winning here. I'm very impressed with the way he's playing.
RAYMOND MOORE: Yesterday he played Kafelnikov. Basically in the first set, he was down a lot of breakpoints, down in the tiebreaker the whole way. His record against Kafelnikov is not a winning record. I don't know exactly what it is, I think it's 7-3 in favor of Kafelnikov, something like that. But Todd pulled the match out. He's playing, as Charlie said, some of the best tennis of his life. He has a great chance to win here, only has to win two matches. Who knows, he could win a number of these events.
Q. You talked about the powers that be. The fact is, isn't it, that the women's tour at the top is populated by a bunch of very rich young ladies who have been pampered, and isn't it true that you need better leadership? If you don't have powerful leadership, how on earth are you going to get a group of millionairesses to do what you want, because they feel, as you were saying, they can do whatever they want, when they want? If there's not powerful leadership, how are you going to achieve it?
RAYMOND MOORE: You're just making my point. I agree with you a hundred percent. That's why I'm saying that I'm calling on the WTA to really look at this problem very carefully.
But it's no different than the men. The men are also young millionaires. It's no different. If you let the men do whatever they wanted, like the WTA do, and say to them, "You can play if you want to. If you have a cold, you don't have to show," the same thing would happen, it would be chaos.
That's all I'm saying, is that the WTA need to look internally at their rules and at this partnership, and look at which side of the bread is buttered and say, "We have to support our big tournaments and get our big players there. Let's pass a rule."
Q. What is the WTA telling you back? What are they saying?
RAYMOND MOORE: I think they realize it. The ones I've talked to in the WTA, that are on the board, this will be an issue on their agenda very quickly.
Q. Is there not an annual joint meeting between the ATP and the WTA officials to discuss this very issue?
CHARLIE PASARELL: There is no such like summit meeting, so to speak, of a lot of people. All the time Mark Miles will meet -- in fact, they have one here. Different people from Harold Solomon, for example, sits on both boards. He's actually a strong proponent, and so am I, by the way, of having those two organizations work closer and closer together.
This gets down to one basic thing, I think maybe one of tennis' greatest assets, maybe over any other sport, is the fact that you can stage coed events where you have men and women playing in one major event. Gymnastics does it, figure skating does it. Think of all the other sports, they don't do it.
I think the fact that the men and the women can play in one event together, and you can have the best women, the best men playing, it's the best -- one of the greatest assets that we have in the sport of tennis. That's why we pursue that some time ago.
I guarantee you this tennis stadium would not be here today if we didn't have the men and the women together. It would not exist. So I think they need to start realizing that.
I'm a strong proponent of eventually having a joint final between the two. I think they need to continue to work closer and closer together on so many things, for the sake of the sport.
Q. Are we missing one thing? We're talking about the ATP, the WTA. The Williams sisters are represented by IMG. IMG owns a portion of this event. Isn't there a conflict here? I don't totally understand why somebody who has -- an entity that has as big a stake in this tournament as IMG would not be making those two players be here. You have all these conflicts of interest going on here. It's not just the WTA we're talking about, it's IMG. Or am I wrong?
CHARLIE PASARELL: I mean, if that was the case, you would assume the Williams sisters would be here, if IMG is their agent.
You know, you talk to the agents, and they'll tell you, the players don't do what the agents want them to do. It's the other way around. The players really call the shots. That's the case. There's no way. The agents just react to what the players want.
Q. If you guys don't get the satisfaction you want from the WTA, why don't you cut back the purse?
RAYMOND MOORE: Again, that would be cutting off our own nose. We want to make -- well, it is, but we want to make it bigger and bigger and bigger. I think this week and the last ten days here have really been very encouraging to Charlie and I because through thick and thin, through the worst weather we've experienced here in the desert, we've had tremendous crowds. I'm very bullish on the future of this game.
I think the future of the game itself, the more often the WTA and the ATP can get together, as Charlie said, and put on coed events, I think that's the future of the game.
As I've talked with the players here, I said, "Why wouldn't you want to play in front of more people, more exposure, for more prize money?" That's what these events present. I don't think it serves anyone's purpose. I certainly take your point, there's a part in me that would like to cut the prize money, but that's not the right tack.
I want to go to Bill's point. I think you're missing the mark with IMG participation or ownership in these events. IMG cannot force their players to play anywhere. This is not contract team sports. They cannot do it. In fact, IMG work for the players.
Jennifer Capriati was very close in playing here, whisker away of asking for a wildcard. She's also represented by IMG. Believe you me, if you don't think the phone calls went between our office and IMG trying to say, "Get to these players, we would like them to play." That happened. But it wasn't Charlie and I. We're talking to our partners, IMG, who represent some of these players saying, "Please see what you can do."
The end result is the players in the women's game, they make their own schedule. Really, IMG are not powerful in that area in saying, "Play here." They might be in smaller tournaments where they can get guarantees.
Q. So they're marketing nursemaids?
RAYMOND MOORE: Yes.
CHARLIE PASARELL: I didn't say that. That was Raymond.
RAYMOND MOORE: Thanks for the support, Charlie.
CHARLIE PASARELL: I want to make one thing, though, clear as to how I feel. If you think our event was damaged because those players didn't play, I think you got it wrong. The crowds are better. The public hasn't been complaining. Sure, disappointed, yes. But, you know, in a way, I feel we have triumphed. The reason for that is we succeeded. We've had an unbelievable event.
I want to think that a tournament like this one, in a sense, is bigger than the players. That is exactly what we've been working towards, just like in a way Wimbledon triumphed over Kuerten. It didn't affect Wimbledon at all.
So in a sense I really feel we have kind of proven ourselves, you know, that we're going to have big crowds, we're going to continue to have big prize money, have television attention. I think ultimately the players will realize.
Saying all that, I think for the sake of everything we're trying to do from a marketing perspective, rule changes are very important for the WTA.
Q. On the point of the size of the draw, to have 32 byes, first-round byes, I don't think it does any tournament, Butch I think saw this last year at Key Biscayne, those first couple of days were an absolute disaster. We might as well have stayed in our hotel rooms. I don't know if the players would have any objection to playing one more match. Using Hingis as an example, if she was to play Jane Citizen, one the match 6-1, 6-Love, whatever, the fact that you have a big-name player on those first few days to help sell things, I'm not saying tickets, but to be able to provide the coverage on radio, et cetera, I think that is an important thing. Those first-round byes have to be done away with or just reduce it to a 64 draw.
CHARLIE PASARELL: Well, I think it's a point we can spend lots of time debating. I would vote 128 draw rather than 96. I would not prefer 64 draw over 96. I still think that you've got to provide -- tournaments like this also have to become an opportunity for a lot of young players who normally would not get a chance to play. I would love to see a 96 draw in the men's, too. There's an awful lot of good players out there that are not getting to play. I think we need to worry about that.
I think 128 is better than 96. I think 96 is better than 64.
Q. You were talking about the ATP finally getting a ranking system that makes sense with this zero to the end of the year. To me, they turn right around and defeat the entire purpose by maintaining the entry system ranking. Trying to explain that to people is awful damn confusing.
CHARLIE PASARELL: No, it is. You know, if you can figure out a better system, write it up and bring it to us. As you know, it's very, very hard. If do you have a better system, please bring it up.
The question is, you can't ignore the performance of players. Certainly from an entry perspective, you can ignore their performance, that theory the last 12 months, because it would be difficult to figure out who should play in this event.
However, at the same time, seedings is something that we have debated about. Wimbledon has other issues why they want to do a different seeding system. It's surface related. It's a continuous debate.
If you do have some good ideas, we'd love to see them. Easy to criticize; hard to figure out what the solution is.
Q. The switch of the final to two of three sets, is that strictly TV?
CHARLIE PASARELL: Television driven.
Q. We all appreciate how important television is. Are you as disappointed as I think probably some of us are that you have to go for a 10:30 start, which is not the best time for players or the public, and to go back to best-of-three rather than best-of-five? I'm an old traditionalist, but I like to see best-of-five set matches in men's tournaments of this level.
CHARLIE PASARELL: Yes, I am (smiling).
Q. Thank you very much. You're known as a man of some power, so I feel like asking why you couldn't control the wind and the sand, but I won't do that. Instead I would like to ask, isn't the drift of the conversation here, in fact, the very top marquee players like the Williams sisters and Jennifer are bigger than the tournament directors and bigger than the agents and player associations at this point?
CHARLIE PASARELL: Well, they certainly are big stars, and they do carry a lot of weight. But maybe I'm of the old school, that no one player, even a group of players, are bigger than the game of tennis. The game will continue, this tournament will continue, and we're going to continue growing it and building it. If they come, great. If they don't come, we're still going to be there, and we're going to be surviving.
Honestly, I don't feel ashamed about our women's event this year, the women's field. We have had this young gal, Hantuchova, I've been hearing things about her for two years, that she shows great promise. As you know, in the past, we've always had some young new faces come up. Perfect example, "Jim who?" Jim Courier. Next year he comes, wins the tournament, next year is the No. 1 player in the world.
It's a fresh start. I'm not embarrassed about our women's tournament at all.
RAYMOND MOORE: In fact, when you talked about the general trend of the conversation and the gist, I think Charlie has been trying to state the exact opposite of what you said. That is, he's trying to build an event, an event that is big enough that you don't have to go down on your hands and knees to beg players to play.
Q. The less you go down and beg, the better it's going to be in the long run.
CHARLIE PASARELL: Absolutely correct.
RAYMOND MOORE: Again, just on the Williams sisters controversy, there are no winners. There are no winners in this thing. Mr. Williams is not a winner. The Williams sisters are not a winner. Our tennis crowd is not a winner. They would have liked to have seen them play. We're not a winner, because we would have liked to have had 10 out of the Top 10 women. There are no winners in terms of that particular incident.
In fact, there was an opportunity here to really make a statement. As I said to Charlie privately, with all that we've gone through here in this country in the last six, seven months, for Mr. Williams to come out and say in January, "Let bygones be bygones, it's a new slate, let's move on." There were a lot of people who were faulty or mistaken on what happened in that incident. There are just no winners.
We just have to move on. We moved on. We're very happy with what's happened. We're ecstatic at the support we've had from our tennis crowd and the fans.
Q. On the business side of things, would you have preferred going out and finding your own sponsors?
RAYMOND MOORE: We much prefer where we are right now because we're in charge. It is our responsibility now to service our sponsors, make sure they're happy, know what they want. You know, we don't have a foreign entity, for want of a better description, in here, not doing what we wanted to do.
We are much better off right now than we were. In fact, had ISL not been around at all, we would have been a lot further down the road. But we are very happy.
We got extremely lucky with a company like Pacific Life. It was a coup for tennis, for the sport, that we were able to attract as big a company as Pacific Life into tennis.
CHARLIE PASARELL: And not a traditional sponsoring company.
RAYMOND MOORE: It's the first time. They stepped in, they stepped in as a title sponsor. We were lucky, lucky, lucky. December 15th, people are getting ready to go on their Christmas holidays, we finalized the deal. I mean, we are fortunate. We realize that. We're lucky. I think it's going to be a platform from which we can grow.
We think that this event really is just starting. We think we're going to get bigger and bigger, get better crowds, improve our site, have all the players want to play here in the next couple of years. That's our goal.
Q. How much, especially on the men's side, the lack of a big American star, Agassi and Sampras are stars, but getting old, the lack of a young kid coming up, how much did that affect your attendance on the men's side? Maybe we have Andy Roddick.
CHARLIE PASARELL: I can give you the same answer I gave 12, 13 years ago when they said, "McEnroe, Connors leaving the game, who are you going to have from the American players?" I said, "I don't know who, but somebody's going to show up." The next thing we had Agassi, Sampras, Chang, Courier. Certainly they have sustained American tennis for the last 10, 12 years.
The same thing. We got Roddick, Blake, Fish, Taylor Dent. Who the hell knows, some new young kid will pop up, and they'll come through.
Roddick is already starting to actually show great promise. We're sorry that he got sick. He got the flu, real bad cold. Actually, he pulled out on Sunday just before the tournament began.
I think American tennis is going to be fine. The interesting thing is, whoever the stars are, whether they're from the US or whether they're from Europe or South America, they all come here. I think we provide a venue, the speed of the courts, the surface that really kind of makes the game very, very fair, whether you're a big serve and volley player or whether you're a groundstroker. If you look historically at who has won our tournament, you have seen big serve and volley players win the tournament and groundstrokers.
We get the South American clay-courters, European clay-courters that look favorable to this tournament. We've seen a couple guys do well in the tournament so far this year.
Q. The question of doubles has been coming up quite a bit in the last couple of years, what tournaments want to do doubles, et cetera. Do you think there's any room for something as quirky as this, where you do away with men's and women's doubles at a tournament like this and maybe Miami, but what you do instead is have mixed doubles, and those points goes towards the doubles rankings? Instead of actually having them pair up in advance, the partnerships are actually drawn out of a hat.
CHARLIE PASARELL: I'm a strong proponent that doubles needs reform. Certainly I think the amount of money that has been paid to the doubles players, it doesn't warrant what they sell you in tickets. Somehow we need to look at doubles and try to figure out some reform.
Should we add mixed doubles? I think that's an interesting idea. But at the end of the day, I think it's very important to have some of your top stars play in the doubles. That's a debate that we go through all the time. Would it be good for Pete Sampras to also be involved in the doubles today and having to play two semifinals today? Probably not. But there's got to be some balance.
There's all kinds of systems. That's a question that's going to be debated quite extensively, continues to be debated: What do we do about doubles? You guys don't write about it that much. It doesn't mean that much anymore. We have to do something about it.
I am not in favor of eliminating doubles completely. I am in favor of reforming, trying to make it better. Cutting the draw size a little bit may help, things like we're experimenting with on the ATP Tour, maybe cutting down to two sets and a tiebreaker in the third. Maybe that works, maybe that doesn't work, I don't know.
We have to do something.
Q. What's been your favorite moment of the tournament so far?
CHARLIE PASARELL: I don't know.
Q. This is it, isn't it?
CHARLIE PASARELL: This is it (smiling). With that, we have to go to do a little presentation on center court before we begin.
RAYMOND MOORE: Thank you.
CHARLIE PASARELL: That you.
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