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pigam
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:09 AM
“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

bandabou
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:28 AM
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.

E. Blackadder
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:32 AM
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!

pigam
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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

Pinkie
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:35 AM
Seems Verbeeck is good at yoga: he practices the "foot in his mouth" position every day :)

Greenout
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:36 AM
Somebody should :tape: 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? :lol:


Hey! Quick get over here Dawn Marie!
Get a load of this guy's interview. ;)

pigam
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:38 AM
I wasn't even aware about
the Elke WC scandal. Now I am. Thanks. What else shouldn't he
not be talking about? :lol:
:eek: 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?

Greenout
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:40 AM
:eek: 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? :p

bandabou
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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.

spudrsca
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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.

pigam
Feb 14th, 2004, 11:03 AM
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... :lol:
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 ;)

great smash
Feb 14th, 2004, 11:15 AM
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

bandabou
Feb 14th, 2004, 11:23 AM
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..

arn
Feb 14th, 2004, 11:24 AM
The second tournament sounds interesting to me. I wonder where, when and what the tier will be?

great smash
Feb 14th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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.

bandabou
Feb 14th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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.

It doesn´t matter to me. It´s just so funny how Lei can get away with so many shady comments( Doping-gate, Masters being bigger than RG, etc..) and even actions, where he lets Kim´s fame help Elke get WC( huge chance there was a deal in Leipzig) and EVERY word Richard says is put under the microscope. Heck they even accuse him of fixing the result of his daughters´s matches. All that when not even Lei´s best daughter has near HALF the results of Richard daughters. Just funny.

carot
Feb 14th, 2004, 11:58 AM
very interesting read, thanks for the article

pigam
Feb 14th, 2004, 01:48 PM
very interesting read, thanks for the article
You're welcome!
I personnaly found it :eek: to read that Venus is out training @ 7.30 in the morning! Nice to hear 'even' the topplayers don't have any exuberant (?) demands. Verbeeck is right: they are pro-athletes in the first place. And they're doing a great job.
Again, I personnaly found this a very 'positive' interview.
About the second tournament, I'm gessing it would be a tier III (maybe even a challenger) in Antwerp too, but I'm totally not sure.

ans
Feb 14th, 2004, 02:09 PM
There's nothing wrong with this interview, so please stop whining and seeing things that aren't even there.

bandabou
Feb 14th, 2004, 02:13 PM
Of course, miss...nothing wrong with it. Yeah, Elke is more deserving of a WC than Els too, I guess.

ans
Feb 14th, 2004, 02:16 PM
Of course, miss...nothing wrong with it. Yeah, Elke is more deserving of a WC than Els too, I guess.
Please, mind my words, dear, I didn't say that.

bandabou
Feb 14th, 2004, 02:27 PM
Please, mind my words, dear, I didn't say that.

Ooooh, so we agree on that part?! Cool.

Pureracket
Feb 14th, 2004, 02:44 PM
I'm glad to know that Venus is getting her practise in.

ans
Feb 14th, 2004, 02:51 PM
Ooooh, so we agree on that part?! Cool.
yup, we do. I also think Els deserves it more but I can understand the organisation's decision to give it to Elke. I just asked to stop whining about Lei's involvement in this matter.

pigam
Feb 14th, 2004, 03:14 PM
yup, we do. I also think Els deserves it more but I can understand the organisation's decision to give it to Elke. I just asked to stop whining about Lei's involvement in this matter.
amen!


*although I'm still doubting about the dopingrumours. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt though ;)*

canoe.
Feb 14th, 2004, 03:36 PM
Teenagers who receive tons of money and who are treated like real stars: it seems like the perfect recipe for disasters?
considering most of the players in the tournament are not teenagers I can see why he would say that. :rolleyes: The first year we welcomed 70 000 people, the next year 98 000 and now 120 000!It makes you wonder why the WTA doesn't move the YEC over there?

ans
Feb 14th, 2004, 03:47 PM
*although I'm still doubting about the dopingrumours. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt though ;)*
thanx:) I still believe the press made something out of nothing, just like many board members did and are still doing.;)

bandabou
Feb 14th, 2004, 04:50 PM
thanx:) I still believe the press made something out of nothing, just like many board members did and are still doing.;)

I´m sure that if it had been ANYBODY else who said those same words Lei said, that you wouldn´t be saying what you are saying now....just a hunch by me.

ans
Feb 14th, 2004, 06:03 PM
I´m sure that if it had been ANYBODY else who said those same words Lei said, that you wouldn´t be saying what you are saying now....just a hunch by me.
I don't care what your beloved Richard Williams says. ('cause with that ANYBODY, you mean him, no?)
Lei was right, Justine's arms have become much more muscled (is that a word?), those who can't see that must buy some glasses. But I'm not surprised by that if you see how hard she works with that etcheberry-guy.
It's the press who made a doping issue out of it, blame them.
And please don't claim to know what I think or what I'm gonna say.

bandabou
Feb 14th, 2004, 11:06 PM
I don't care what your beloved Richard Williams says. ('cause with that ANYBODY, you mean him, no?)
Lei was right, Justine's arms have become much more muscled (is that a word?), those who can't see that must buy some glasses. But I'm not surprised by that if you see how hard she works with that etcheberry-guy.
It's the press who made a doping issue out of it, blame them.
And please don't claim to know what I think or what I'm gonna say.

:lol: :haha: Just keep telling that to yourself, you may one day believe it yourself. He ain´t no saint Lei.

Lynx
Feb 15th, 2004, 12:32 AM
thanx:) I still believe the press made something out of nothing, just like many board members did and are still doing.;)
I agree :). I'm pretty sure about it, too - seeing how some journalists have been trying for some time now to discredit Lei in every possible way... (because he dared to turn them down a few times, instead of handing them the keys of the Clijsters house :rolleyes: )

I'm really surprised at the many people here who seem to believe that everything the papers print is gospel and God's Own Truth. Well, brothers and sisters, time to wake up and smell the coffee: it ain't. It's a hard, calculating, commercial world out there, and good news doesn't sell for long - a nice feud on the other hand can be milked forever...

The media will keep playing Kim and Justine against each other every time they can get away with it (last example: teletekst letting Kim "sneer" at Justine), as long as Kim and Justine are in the picture.

And they will get away with it, as long as there are losers who are eager to believe them, because it pleases their starving ego to be able to tear down what they themselves will never achieve...

O tempora! O mores!

ans
Feb 15th, 2004, 10:52 AM
I agree :). I'm pretty sure about it, too - seeing how some journalists have been trying for some time now to discredit Lei in every possible way... (because he dared to turn them down a few times, instead of handing them the keys of the Clijsters house :rolleyes: )

I'm really surprised at the many people here who seem to believe that everything the papers print is gospel and God's Own Truth. Well, brothers and sisters, time to wake up and smell the coffee: it ain't. It's a hard, calculating, commercial world out there, and good news doesn't sell for long - a nice feud on the other hand can be milked forever...

The media will keep playing Kim and Justine against each other every time they can get away with it (last example: teletekst letting Kim "sneer" at Justine), as long as Kim and Justine are in the picture.

And they will get away with it, as long as there are losers who are eager to believe them, because it pleases their starving ego to be able to tear down what they themselves will never achieve...

O tempora! O mores!
You know I couldn't have said it better. Naive people like Bandabou (and many more) are the ideal victims for the crap stories of the press.

bandabou
Feb 15th, 2004, 11:52 AM
You know I couldn't have said it better. Naive people like Bandabou (and many more) are the ideal victims for the crap stories of the press.

Naive, huh?! Funny thing is that the same people who say now that the press wanna get to Lei, are the same people who were believing anything bad the press had to say about other people.

Talk about being selective....

Lynx
Feb 15th, 2004, 12:59 PM
Naive, huh?! Funny thing is that the same people who say now that the press wanna get to Lei, are the same people who were believing anything bad the press had to say about other people.

Talk about being selective....
Who would those "same people" be, pray? Because you cannot be talking about me - and I've never seen ans badmouthing anybody either. I have never ever believed bad press about anyone. I have also never ever said anything bad about any player or their fathers, mothers or even coaches based on some suggestive article.

I did, however, once start a thread about an interview I saw with Richard Williams, saying what a great guy he seemed to be (and I don't often start threads!).

I'm still waiting for you to do the same for Lei.


If I were you, I wouldn't "talk about being selective".

bandabou
Feb 15th, 2004, 01:42 PM
Who would those "same people" be, pray? Because you cannot be talking about me - and I've never seen ans badmouthing anybody either. I have never ever believed bad press about anyone. I have also never ever said anything bad about any player or their fathers, mothers or even coaches based on some suggestive article.

I did, however, once start a thread about an interview I saw with Richard Williams, saying what a great guy he seemed to be (and I don't often start threads!).

I'm still waiting for you to do the same for Lei.


If I were you, I wouldn't "talk about being selective".

Post something positive for Lei?! aren´t there plenty of those already for them?! SO just because you are like the only one who posted a positive-article about Richard, it´s all nice and cool?1

Lynx
Feb 15th, 2004, 02:13 PM
Post something positive for Lei?! aren´t there plenty of those already for them?! SO just because you are like the only one who posted a positive-article about Richard, it´s all nice and cool?1
Are you saying that, because certain people - not me, nor ans, nor any other Kim-fan I know of - have been believing/ repeating/ "embellishing" bad press about the Williamses, it's all right for you to constantly do the same with the Clijsterses?

Nope, I would definitely not call that "all nice and cool" AT ALL.

I disapprove of all mud-slingers.

bandabou
Feb 15th, 2004, 03:09 PM
Are you saying that, because certain people - not me, nor ans, nor any other Kim-fan I know of - have been believing/ repeating/ "embellishing" bad press about the Williamses, it's all right for you to constantly do the same with the Clijsterses?

Nope, I would definitely not call that "all nice and cool" AT ALL.

I disapprove of all mud-slingers.

Not really....I just find it so amusing that some-fans wanna go on crying tear about maybe one article that was negative, calling the press names and when it´s about other people they all join the melee and have an opinion about stuff they don´t know thing about.

ans
Feb 15th, 2004, 04:12 PM
Speaking about a discussion between someone having some good arguments and another one endlessly trying to proove a point he doesn't have...well, this is one.

Mark, thanx for putting my thoughts into words:D

Darran
Feb 15th, 2004, 04:15 PM
Is it the same williams fans who think that the tournament director knew before publishing the draw that Venus had withdrew, that only yesterday was claiming the draw to be fixed against her?? I mean whats the point of fixing the draw if he knew she wasn't gonna be playing.

bandabou
Feb 15th, 2004, 04:20 PM
Speaking about a discussion between someone having some good arguments and another one endlessly trying to proove a point he doesn't have...well, this is one.

Mark, thanx for putting my thoughts into words:D

Please, please Miss....don´t come play that game here. The arguments are there, but if you chose not to see them...not much one can do about that.

ans
Feb 15th, 2004, 04:28 PM
Is it the same williams fans who think that the tournament director knew before publishing the draw that Venus had withdrew, that only yesterday was claiming the draw to be fixed against her?? I mean whats the point of fixing the draw if he knew she wasn't gonna be playing.
No, that's Dawn Marie, I know, they seem to be the same.

ans
Feb 15th, 2004, 04:30 PM
Please, please Miss....don´t come play that game here. The arguments are there, but if you chose not to see them...not much one can do about that.
Keep on trying, dear, maybe once you might be able to come up with something new. End of discussion 'cause I don't like discussing things with someone who doesn't want to see he's wrong.:wavey:

bandabou
Feb 15th, 2004, 04:56 PM
Keep on trying, dear, maybe once you might be able to come up with something new. End of discussion 'cause I don't like discussing things with someone who doesn't want to see he's wrong.:wavey:

Fine...remember that there are two sides: Is it the other who doesn´t want to see he´s wrong or the other who thinks she´s always right?! :scratch:

ans
Feb 15th, 2004, 05:03 PM
Fine...remember that there are two sides: Is it the other who doesn´t want to see he´s wrong or the other who thinks she´s always right?! :scratch:
Oh God. I don't only THINK I'm always right. It's just that I AM always right:kiss:
The only thing you want is turning me in someone I'm not. You always seem to know what I am thinking, what I have said. I have never said one bad word about the williamses or anyone else and still you always put me in the group of the bashers and the haters while you know I'm just a lovely and reasonable person:wavey: THAT's what YOU don't wanna see, my dear.

bandabou
Feb 15th, 2004, 05:06 PM
Oh God. I don't only THINK I'm always right. It's just that I AM always right:kiss:
The only thing you want is turning me in someone I'm not. You always seem to know what I am thinking, what I have said. I have never said one bad word about the williamses or anyone else and still you always put me in the group of the bashers and the haters while you know I'm just a lovely and reasonable person:wavey: THAT's what YOU don't wanna see, my dear.

Now you´re right. You´re lovely and you aren´t a hater. I give you that. Neither am I. :angel: ;)

ans
Feb 15th, 2004, 05:20 PM
Glad we agree on that. Let's put the Lei-case aside 'cause we have each our own opnion about that.

bandabou
Feb 15th, 2004, 05:36 PM
Glad we agree on that. Let's put the Lei-case aside 'cause we have each our own opnion about that.

Fine with me. :yeah:

starr
Feb 15th, 2004, 05:40 PM
Now you´re right. You´re lovely and you aren´t a hater. I give you that. Neither am I. :angel: ;)
Except when it comes to Kim and Daniela. :)

bandabou
Feb 15th, 2004, 06:08 PM
Except when it comes to Kim and Daniela. :)

:angel: ;)

starr
Feb 15th, 2004, 06:34 PM
and then there is also Anna Kournikova

And oh yes. Every Russian born player.

Any player who is white and svelte.

I think that about covers it.

Yes. You are a good good person who never utters a hateful remark. :)