McNamee sure of cup position despite role review
December 20, 2011
Everything's copacetic ... Paul McNamee is looking forward to 2012.
Everything's copacetic ... Paul McNamee is looking forward to 2012. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
CO-FOUNDER Paul McNamee's role as Hopman Cup tournament director is under review, at a time when the annual mixed teams invitational has attracted unprecedented WTA player fines of $375,000
in its final year at Perth's Burswood Dome.
The International Tennis Federation has confirmed the event's management structure is being looked at for 2013. Paul McNamee Enterprises handed ownership rights to the federation in 2002, with the former Australian Open chief executive continuing as tournament director and reporting to a newly formed federation board.
''Paul is the tournament director for 2012,'' a federation spokesperson said. ''With the move to the new arena in 2013, and the new opportunities and challenges which this presents for the tournament, both the ITF and Hopman Cup boards have felt for some time that this would be an opportune moment to review the management structure.''
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McNamee yesterday dismissed speculation his contract would not be renewed after the 24th Hopman Cup, saying he was intimately involved in the move to the new Perth Arena in 2013 and the changes that would result. The cup's board will discuss the issue in Melbourne next month, before the next federation board meeting in late March.
''Everything's fine - I'm really looking forward to next year,'' McNamee said. McNamee hatched the idea for an international mixed teams event over a beer with fellow players Charlie Fancutt and Pat Cash in 1984 and has been its frontman and driving force since. ''Who would be doing it if it's not me, to be honest?'' he added. ''For me, it's full-steam ahead.''
The fines, meanwhile, come as a result of upgrading the Brisbane International, also held in the opening week of the season, to WTA Premier status. With the jump in prizemoney from $220,000 to $650,000 comes unlimited access to the women's top 10 - and an impressive field that includes Sam Stosur, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters - but also a determination from the WTA that players support official tour events.
As a result, waivers that have been granted in the past for players to compete in exhibition or non-WTA events have been denied this time, and automatic penalties under the code of conduct were issued on a sliding scale for seven of the eight women due to compete at the Hopman Cup.
For example, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 2 Petra Kvitova face $100,000 fines based on their top-three status,
and French Open champion Li Na $75,000 as the world No. 5. Australian Jarmila Gajdosova, world No. 33, attracts a $15,000 penalty for her position between 21 and 50.
Players with sub-50 rankings are exempt. It is believed the fines will be paid by the federation.
''Players and tournaments understand the situation,'' the WTA's Asia Pacific managing director, Peter Johnston, said. ''We obviously have a relationship with the ITF and we understand the issues related to Hopman Cup, so we're working under an agreement that recognises all that but still adheres to our rules.''
The federation confirmed ''there is an agreement in place between the ITF and WTA with regard to player participation in the Hopman Cup, which is in full compliance with the WTA rules in relation to non-Tour events''.
Next year's Hopman Cup features four of the world's top 11 women, plus men's top-10 players Mardy Fish and Tomas Berdych.
Australia will be represented by Gajdosova and dual grand-slam champion Lleyton Hewitt. The final is on January 7.
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