View Full Version : Monica to Return This Year...

Mar 25th, 2005, 01:44 AM
...according to Mary Jo and tennisreporters.com...

Monica Seles May Return; The Unpaid Lansdorp

http://www.********************/tr_net_photos_art/chatter.gif (http://www.********************/member/actCheck.cfm?goto=chatter_102503.html)

http://www.********************/tr_net_photos_art/HENIN_sm_us_01_100.jpghttp://www.********************/tr_net_photos_art/SHARAPOVA_cl_au_05_100.jpghttp://www.********************/tr_net_photos_art/Agassi_cl_sj_02_100.jpgCredits: Mullane Camerawork and Getty Images, courtesy of WTA/ATP.From top: Monica tries to get a foot up; Mayer and Golovin celebrate; Henin's still intense, Maria's coach wants cash; Agassi out again.

By Matthew Cronin Monica Seles’ good friend, ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez, told TR.net that she believes that the nine-time Grand Slam champion will attempt to return to the tour this year. Seles hasn’t played a tour match since 2003 Roland Garros because of bad feet. Fernandez said that Seles still isn’t healthy enough to practice rigorously, but did say her friend is happy. "Have you see her lately? She looks great!" Fernandez said. Seles did play World TeamTennis last summer and in January, lost a exo to Martina Navratilova.

In talking with Justine-Henin Hardenne on Tuesday (see my article on ESPN.com), I was struck by how fatalistic the Belgian is for a young 2-something. She understands that it would be better for her virus-ravaged body if she eased off herself, but she has accepted a part of her personality that drives her to win every time and if she doesn’t, beats her up for failing. She essentially said that there are some things about yourself that you can’t change, only make minor adjustments to. But Henin’s drive to succeed at all costs is essentially learned behavior. It’s doubtful that she’s genetically pre-disposed to do so. She could significantly change this attitude with a healthy amount of therapy, but doesn’t seem inclined to spend any more time around doctors than necessary. She’ll likely climb back to the top five again and bag a few more Slams, but with the way she is willing to sacrifice herself physically and mentally for on-court glory, it’s doubtful that she’ll play beyond the age of 28.

Lleyton Hewit will have surgery on two of his toes and is out at least four weeks….Maria’s Sharapova’s coach, Robert Lansdorp, received a USTA Lifetime Achievement Award last Sunday. But Lansdorp, who also coached Tracy Austin and Lindsay davenport, told TR.net that he hasn’t been paid a cent from the Sharapova’s during the past nine months. What’s up with that?…. Bed Bath & Beyond is a new WTA new sponsor and word has it that they will deign a new tub with a soap-dish/Errickson cell phone holder. How soon will be it be that a promo comes out with Sharapova text-messaging her fans from underneath of sea on pink bubbles? WTA statistical genius Vani Vosburgh came up with this stat in light of Wimby champ Sharapova’s double bageling at the hands of Lindsay Davenport in the IW semis. "Martina Navratilova lost in the final of 1981 Amelia Island (played in April) to Chris Evert 6-0. 6-0. At the time, she held the 1979 Wimbledon title." Given what Navratilova achieved after that, That’s good news for Maria….A few times during the past two years, TR.net and some other reporters have requested interview time with Roger Federer's girlfreind and publicist, Mirka Vavrinec. Most publicists realize that they are supposed to speak publicly, but not Mirka, who has said no, no and no. That's great publicty for Rog. It might be time for his mother, Lynette, to rethink her management structure and get somone for that position who actually understands her job title....As of Sunday, Meghann Shaughnessy had not received a call from Fed Cup captain Zina Garrison regarding the tie v. Belgium.... Props to the Tennis Channel for finally nailing down a deal with the nation’s largest Cable company, Comcast. Can’t wait to see Rome, Hamburg and Berlin.

Pacific Life’s Lifeline
My mailbox has been flooded with questions regarding the financial status of the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells. Here’s my take on the situation, but if you want to read about the issue in more depth, visit the Desert Sun’s web site and read Leighton Ginn’s copy. He’s been reporting about then issue for a few years and knows the ins and outs better than anyone.

Is the tournament in trouble? Not really, but owners Charlie Pasarell and Ray Moore of PM Sports and IMG are definitely out there looking for new financing. The tournaments drew a record 280,653 fans this year and actually made money – the problem is the facility, which has turned out to be a boondoggle post the ISL bust and 9-11. For three weeks a year (if you count the qualies), the tournament is rolling in cash. But during the other 49 weeks when the owners are forced to pay debt service on some $40 million of a once $77 million loan, it struggles. Their debt service is somewhere around $3.2 million a year.

The owners have a balloon payment coming up in 2007 and it appears they don’t project that they have enough cash on hand to make the payment, which is why they just sold 65 acres of land east of the Garden and are asking the City of Indian Wells (as well as a number of government authorities) to help them re-do their financing. If they can knock off, say, two percent of their interest rate, that’s a saving of some $800,000 a year. But it may not be enough, which is why they are in discussion with the cash-rich USTA to sell them part of the tournament."

"Charlie and my goal is to be here for the next 30 years," Moore said. "We're going to do everything we can to do that. You can print that in big, bold headlines. That's what we want to do. Events may overtake us and stop us from doing that, but we don't think so….This is not a tennis problem; it's a debt structure problem. We are in the market to refinance our debt. There is 100% certain this tournament will be here next year. We are in the market to refinance a high interest rate mortgage. Every single line, revenue is up. Increased spectators from last year, increased revenues, increased profitability. Every single line item is up."

Why did this issue come up at all? For two reasons: one, because a group from China has expressed serious interest in buying the tournament and a rumor was flying around the event that it would soon be sold; and two, because Pasarell sat one day early in the first week with his golfing buddy, LA Times’ Sports Editor Bill Dwyre, and talked about how tired he of trying to manage the debt. Dwyre’s story came out the next day and it appeared that Pasarell was only committed to 2006 and was ready to bail.

His tune changed during the next week and half and now it appears that he could have been publicly floating "Help Us!" balloons through the media because he and Moore knew that if reporters began banging on the doors at city hall in Indian Wells, asking how the it could even consider letting a tournament go which brings $100 million a year into the Coachella Valley, that the city would likely step up and lend a hand. But the city is not going to do this if the owners are saying they are ready to sell. So they said that they are not at that point– yet.

‘Every single year, we get between three and six inquiries on, "Will you sell this tournament?," Moore said. "It's happened this year. It's going to happen next year. It happened in 2002, 2003. We've had inquiries from Las Vegas, from Scottsdale, from Tampa, from Rio de Janeiro, from South Africa, from Dubai, from China. Every year we have to pay attention to it simply because if someone's going to come in and offer $500 million to move the tournament, maybe we would do that - and Charlie and I would also have to leave the desert on a permanent basis."

Moore laughed while delivering the last comment, but there is some truth in it. Outside of the US Open, Indian Wells and Miami are the two biggest tournaments in the U.S. Indian Wells is the West Coast’s Grand Slam and is a vital competent to the overall success of American tennis, let alone world tennis. Last I checked, California had the world’s fifth largest GDP, which makes it not only the engine of the U.S. economy, but a crucial one for the world economy. No one who understands macro-economics could seriously suggest that abandoning the California market is good for tennis, even though those who see no reason why they should pause in granting tournament rights to non-democracies with quasi-market economies like China.

Moreover, the Pac Life Open is played in Southern California, which has produced by far the most notable American players in tennis history and has an active and financially healthy fan base. The USTA and its president, Franklin Johnson, understand this, which is why the organization will likely step in and lend a hand if the new financing falls through. The USTA has the ability to buy a portion of the tournament, a likely scenario given that it already owns the US Open as well as Houston, New Haven and a part of the women’s tournament in Carson.

"We've had very positive meetings with the USTA," Moore said. "The USTA is enthusiastic and is looking at this very, very carefully to try and help us. Obviously, there's so many things we can do together. You can make it a permanent US Davis Cup site. You can make this a USTA training center. We've got everything. Their mission statement is to promote tennis, not to send it to another continent."

Here’s the tricky part for Johnson and USTA Chief of Pro Tennis, Arlen Kantarian: can it convince the USTA board that a major investment is worthy, given that so many public facilitates are in need of help in fixing courts, hiring teaching pros, etc. Johnson has already said that the USTA will step up its commitment to growing and maintaining recreational tennis at public facilities, so how much will the board be willing to pitch to another pro tournament?
"While the USTA has an enormous interest in preserving the professional game, and the US Open is their entire life blood to the funds the USTA has, their big mission statement is to grow the game at the participation level, all the people that play the game," Pasarell said. "We will demonstrate, and we've already given them a couple of things, of things that we are undertaking here that has nothing to do with professional tennis: college events, junior events. We had the National -- 55-and-over National Championships, Hard Court Championships. Right now we're playing the semifinals and finals of the Pacific Life Open club championships. That was something that we undertook with the prostate cancer last summer. We started organizing at various clubs throughout Southern California events at their clubs with the idea that the winner of the men's doubles and the winner of the women's doubles, we bring them over here, put them up for two nights, they get to play here. We had in excess of 400 tennis players. We did this with a shoestring. We are very enthusiastic, along with Prostate Cancer Foundation, who sees great benefits in promoting the message of prostate cancer, to growing this program essentially nationwide. It's not unrealistic in two or three years' time to have 3,000, 4,000 tennis players competing for the right to come over here and play for three days. We give them tickets, parties, they get to meet the players. It's wonderful. If that's not helping participation, I don't know what is. That's just one small -- it's not a small program, we think it's going to be a big program. But we have a list of about 15 to 16 tennis events that we run here that have nothing to do with the pros. It's all about participating of amateurs. "

While that’s all fine and good, there’s a few obstacles here, primarily that the USTA has already invested huge dollars its West Coast High Performance Training Center in Carson, about two hours away from Indian Wells. The USTA really doesn’t need another major high performance site in SoCal. What it does need, as Johnson has said, it to seriously step up its efforts to recruit more Latino and Latinos into the game. Pasarell has been working on that for decades with the National Junior Tennis League.
The Coachella Valley is primarily Hispanic and if you take a five-minute drive east from the IW stadium into Indio, you’ll find a poor to working class community of Hispanics who have had little exposure to the sport. Hiring a few teaching pro and running weekly clinics for that population would be a more than worthwhile investment for the USTA, but at what level? One million year? Two? Three?
That’s the proverbial $64 million question.

More Player Awards

In 2006, there exists the slight possibility that the tours, the Slams, and the tennis journalists will come together and present one set of awards to the players, rather than three different sets, a horribly confusing state of affairs for fans.

The International Tennis Writers’ Association voted Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova as their players of 2004 back in December and named Fed, Amelie Mauresmo and Lindsay Davenport as their Ambassadors of the year.

The ATP and WTA followed suit last Tuesday night in Miami, naming Federer and Sharapova as their Players of the Year at a gala in Miami. Federer also received the Fans’ Favorite Award and the Stephan Edberg Sportsman of the Year. Sharapova also won Most Improved and Fan Favorite. Other winners were: Andy Roddick with the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year award; Anastasia Myskina, the WTA’s Diamond Aces Award; Mark Knowles/Daniel Nestor, Virginia Ruano Pascual/Paola Suarez, Doubles Teams of the Year; Tommy Has, Serena Williams Comeback Players of the Year; Florian Mayer, Tatiana Golovin, Newcomers of the Year; Joachim Johansson, Most Improved (ATP); Lindsay Davenport Sportsmanship Award, The Tennis Channel ATP Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award; NASDAQ-100 Open, ATP Masters Series Tournament of the Year; Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open , International Series Gold Tournament of the Year; Synsam Swedish Open and U.S. Men’s Claycourt Championships (Houston), International Series Tournaments of the Year. The ITF will present its awards during Roland Garros.

Mar 25th, 2005, 01:47 AM
thanks for the article!!!

Mar 25th, 2005, 02:08 AM
Lets hope :D

Mar 25th, 2005, 02:10 AM
I hope so, too :)

Mar 25th, 2005, 02:18 AM
That would be fantastic :bounce: :yippee:

Mar 25th, 2005, 02:20 AM
That would be fantastic :bounce: :yippee:

Yep !

P.S. Sorry about the mistake.:o You know i didn't mean to do that. I'll correct it as soon as possible.:)

Mar 25th, 2005, 02:22 AM
Yep !

P.S. Sorry about the mistake.:o You know i didn't mean to do that. I'll correct it as soon as possible.:)

I gave you a good rep back though :kiss:

No problem :wavey:

Crazy Canuck
Mar 25th, 2005, 02:59 AM
Personally, I'm still awaiting Rafter's return.

Mar 25th, 2005, 03:10 AM
If she can't practice rigorously, I'm not so confident as I once was. :sad: But she apparently still wants to, so I'm all for that! :woohoo:

Mar 25th, 2005, 03:14 AM
That would be fantastic :bounce: :yippee:

OMG! That would be so awesome!! :bounce: I just want her to be able to play and enjoy it! :kiss:

Mar 25th, 2005, 03:16 AM
Personally, I'm still awaiting Rafter's return.

That would be another return I would love to see! :tennis:

Mar 25th, 2005, 03:41 AM
:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Yay!!!!!!!! I really hope she comes back, and soon :D

Mar 25th, 2005, 03:50 AM
Personally, I'm still awaiting Rafter's return.
that would be nice rebecca. what i would love is for goran to quit playing the seniors tour and make a come back! :)

Mar 25th, 2005, 03:53 AM
"Martina Navratilova lost in the final of 1981 Amelia Island (played in April) to Chris Evert 6-0. 6-0. At the time, she held the 1979 Wimbledon title." Does the bolded make ANY sense? If Nav held the 1979 Wimbledon title when she was double bagelled by Evert, would it not be at the 1980 Amelia final? Or was there no '80 Wimby?

Mar 25th, 2005, 03:56 AM
That would be fantastic :bounce: :yippee:

Nothing would make me happier than to see Monica come back to the tour this season. Despite how many great names are in the sport at the moment, the game would still benefit greatlyfrom the return of one of the most popular players ever.

I'd certainly rank monica as one of the all time greats; she certainly is one of my top 3 favorite tennis personalities of all time.

Even if she was not as succesful on court as she was, I 'd be happy just to see playing, and moreso I'd be happy to be reminded how gracious, modest and polite she always is in interview. So rare nowadays.

But the demon-instinct inside me has his doubts, and I have an uneasy feeling that it might not happen.

My doubts are fueled by remembering commentating pros pointing out that sampras might have delayed announcing his retirement for contractual reasons. As I understand it, lucrative endorsement contracts are void if a player announces retirement but are maintained it a player is merely injured. So that would be a reason why Monica would keep the option to return open, though time passing is not in her favor. I freely admit, and earnestly hope, that this is irrelevant in her case.

Please come back monica!

(btw, happy easter to all who celebrate it!) :)

Mar 25th, 2005, 08:17 AM
Does the bolded make ANY sense? If Nav held the 1979 Wimbledon title when she was double bagelled by Evert, would it not be at the 1980 Amelia final? Or was there no '80 Wimby?

No, you're right. Navratilova did indeed win Wimbledon 1979, but at the time of the Amelia Island disaster in 1981, Evonne Goolagong Cawley held the Wimbledon title.

Mar 25th, 2005, 09:06 AM
Thanks for the Article :D

Mar 25th, 2005, 10:49 AM
:wavey: I sure hope so, she is the real inventor of Big Babe Tennis :wavey:

Mar 25th, 2005, 10:55 AM
I hope she does return!

Hot 92 Jamz
Mar 25th, 2005, 12:02 PM
:fingers crossed:


Mar 25th, 2005, 12:05 PM
great news!

Mar 25th, 2005, 01:11 PM
hope she will be back soon!

Mar 25th, 2005, 03:57 PM
I hope it's for real.

Monica,we miss you :sad: