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Old Oct 25th, 2005, 01:29 AM   #1
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I can not wait for the ASB Classic to start!!!

Hey guys! I love the tourney. Info to come...
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Old Oct 25th, 2005, 01:57 AM   #2
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Tennis: Clijsters heads ambitious women's classic wish-list

20.08.05
By Terry Maddaford


Former world No 1 Kim Clijsters is in tournament director Richard Palmer's sights as he aims for a top field for next year's women's classic.

Palmer leaves next week for the US Open in New York determined to lure one of the world's best players to Auckland for January's ASB Classic.

"We were very, very close to having Maria Sharapova but just missed out when her agents agreed to a proposal for her to play Gold Coast," said Palmer. "With Sharapova already ensuring they meet their commitment of having a top 10 player in their field, it is now open slather for us as far as I'm concerned.

"Our aim now must be to have either a top 10 player or at least two, possibly three, from the top 20."

Unlike previous years when it was often "pot luck" meeting agents, Palmer leaves this time with firm appointments. "Everyone is a target," said Palmer.

Only once, in his first year in the role (1997), has Palmer attracted a current top 10 player (Anke Huber) to the ASB Bank Tennis Centre.

But he heads to New York confident he can find a second player of that standing.

"Clijsters is a realistic target as are Mary Pierce, and others. While the Williams sisters might be available ...

"I will also be checking out Jennifer Capriati," said Palmer. "She hasn't been playing and her ranking has dropped but she would still be a drawcard."

Palmer is also aware of the emerging Russian players. "Because of my dealings with IMG over Sharapova, they are aware of the Classic.

"I have a confirmed appointment with them and will find out more about other players in their group, including the Williamses, Lindsay Davenport, Capriati, Tatiana Golovin, Daniela Hantuchova, Elena Bovina and Nicole Vaidisova. We would be happy with any of them ... "

Palmer received an email from Pierce earlier in the year and hoped she might return.

"She enjoyed her time here and said she would definitely consider returning," said Palmer. "She is just outside the top 10 and would be a definite attraction."

Palmer said there was no chance of the Classic becoming a tier three (rather than tier four) event. "We have already upped the prizemoney by US$5000 to US$145,000 for 2006. We would need to go to US$170,000 and, more importantly find US$500,000 to buy a tier three franchise and then secure a spot on the WTA circuit ... "
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Old Oct 25th, 2005, 01:58 AM   #3
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Tennis: Pierce remains hope for ASB Classic organiser

10.09.05
By Terry Maddaford


Richard Palmer has mixed feelings about Mary Pierce's return to her old form.

On the one hand he is delighted the 30-year-old has regained her touch. On the other, as director of the ASB Classic, he knows her bold showings at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows could end any hopes he had of getting her to Auckland this summer.

"I had a long chat with her at the US Open," Palmer said. "She said she would love to come back down here again. She says she is enjoying her tennis at the moment and we would love to have her back.

"Despite her good run lately, I'm certainly not putting a line through her at this stage especially as she tends to make her decisions rather than working with an agent."

But he has been able to eliminate some names after his trip to New York and discussions with various player agents.

One of the Williams sisters will be in Hong Kong for the annual exhibition tournament, the other will play Hopman Cup in Perth.

Rising Indian star Sania Mirza is heading to Hong Kong as is Lindsay Davenport, and Maria Sharapova and young Czech Nicole Vaidisova have already committed to the tier-three Gold Coast tournament which is being played at the same time as Auckland.

"I would have to say Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters are unlikely as is regular visitor Elena Likhovtseva who seems to be winding her career down," Palmer said.

But he holds greater hopes of luring American Jennifer Capriati to Auckland.

"She is not playing again this year as she comes back from injury. But she wants to play next year," he said.

"I spoke to her agents and they certainly did not discount the chances of her playing here. She would be a definite wildcard possibility."

As are some young Russian players.

"Anna Chakvetadze is only 17 but she is already No 24 in the world. But, as she is still a junior she can only play a certain number of WTA tournaments a year.

"For that reason, she is likely to opt for a higher tier event."

And that fact has not been lost on Palmer who feels it is time to seriously look at raising the status of the tournament to tier three.

But is does not come cheap.

A tier-three franchise, if there is one available (and that seems likely), costs US$500,000 ($709,000) and must offer a minimum US$175,000 prizemoney - US$30,000 more than the Classic pays as tier four.

"There is the possibility of leasing a tournament but we would also have to get the WTA to agree to playing two tier-three tournaments in the same week," said Palmer.

"The other option would be to pay less for the franchise and offer tier-three points and prize money but not get the player guarantees."

That is all in the future with the 2007 tournament the earliest possible opportunity for the upgrade.

In the meantime, Palmer will continue playing telephone tag with agents in the hope of signing players for his January 2-7 Classic.

"It seems very likely Katarina Srebotnik will be back to defend her title. Eleni Daniilidou is another possibility. She has had a rough year with injury and has met a number of good players early in her tournaments including Sharapova in the first round at the US Open."
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Old Oct 25th, 2005, 02:00 AM   #4
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Tennis: Palmer upbeat about landing stars for Classic

18.10.05 6.00pm


Up to five of the world's leading women tennis players look set to grace Auckland courts next year for the ASB Classic.

Tournament director Richard Palmer told NZPA today he had been in contact with five top-25 players and was confident of securing at least three of them for the January 2-7 Classic.

'I'm reasonably upbeat that we could get two or three of them and possibly a fourth," Palmer said.

"We should be in a position to make an announcement over the next seven to 10 days."

Palmer refused to speculate on who the players might be, but did did confirm Russian and world No.43 Katarina Srebotnik would return to defend her title, while former champion and world No.66 Eleni Danilidou had said she would play.

Although it was still to be ratified, leading New Zealand women's player Marina Erakovic looked a certainty to gain one of two singles wildcards for New Zealand players after a stunning year on the seniors circuit rising to 210.

Palmer said promising junior Sacha Jones, 14, could possibly gain the second wildcard after making some impressive performances on the seniors challenger circuit this year.

The full field had to be settled by November 22, but any chance of securing a top-10 player were dashed last month when most of the stars confirmed they would be playing tournaments in Australia and Asia ahead of the year's first grand slam in Melbourne.

The possibility of elevating the status of the Classic to a tier three tournament with the lure of greater prizemoney and ranking points was quashed when Palmer conceded it was no longer on the agenda after the issue was raised last month.
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Old Oct 25th, 2005, 08:11 PM   #5
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Tennis: Top name tipped for women's Classic

26.10.05
By David Leggat


The first big name for January's international women's tennis tournament in Auckland will be revealed this morning.

ASB Classic organisers are expected to announce a top-10 player for the January 2-7 event.

They've already secured defending champion and world No 31 Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia and are confident two of this year's other three semifinalists - No 36 Japan's Shinobu Asagoe and No 43 Marion Bartoli of France - will be back.

Lips are sealed on the identity of the top-10 player but count out world No 1 Lindsay Davenport and her fellow American Venus Williams, No 2 Maria Sharapova of Russia, Belgians Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters and French player Amelie Mauresmo, who have commitments elsewhere.

The Classic, a tier-four event with a purse of US$140,000 ($199,439), clashes with an exhibition event in Hong Kong, the Hopman Cup in Perth and the tier-three Uncle Toby tournament on the Gold Coast.

The most likely candidates for a video linkup this morning are Russians Elena Dementieva - beaten finalist at the French and US Opens last year and a former world No 4 - or Nadia Petrova, who are ranked 8th and 10th respectively, or Swiss Patty Schnyder, the world No 9. The other possibility is No 5-ranked Frenchwoman Mary Pierce, a past visitor to Auckland whose career has taken a rapid turn for the better this year, highlighted by making the French and US Open finals.

Whoever it is, will be a big boost for a tournament which this year failed to attract a player inside the top 25. The full draw will be released late next month.
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Old Oct 25th, 2005, 09:57 PM   #6
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Nadia is coming
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Old Oct 25th, 2005, 10:19 PM   #7
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Nadia! Will be top seed then! Hopefully she can start 2006 off with her first Sony Erricsson WTA Tour Singles title!!!
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 12:28 AM   #8
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Tennis: Petrova signed for ASB Classic

26.10.05 11.00am


ASB Classic tennis organisers have scored a coup with confirmation world women's No.10 Nadia Petrova from Russia will play in the January 2-7 tournament.

Petrova, 23, is the top-ranked player secured to date for the Auckland event and has recorded some top results this year.

She reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, the semifinals at the French Open, and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon before losing to Maria Sharapova.

Petrova capped a great year at the grand slams with a quarterfinals appearance at the US Open.

She reached a career high singles ranking of No 6 in April 2004, and No 3 in doubles in March.

ASB Classic tournament director Richard Palmer said Petrova was just the second top-10 player to play in the Classic after German Anke Huber in 1997.

"It's wonderful that a player of Petrova's class is coming to Auckland for the first time.

"It's a coup to get her here and we look forward to seeing a player of this calibre on court in the New Year," Mr Palmer said.

Despite her good form this year, the Moscow native is yet to win a Women's Tennis Association (WTA) singles title.

She recently made the final of a WTA event in Bangkok, and has reached a final on two other occasions.

Petrova has won 11 doubles titles and earned US$4.32 million ($6.19 million) in prizemoney since turning professional in September 1999.

"She's certainly got the ability to win titles. We are obviously hoping that Auckland will be the first of many," Mr Palmer said.
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 09:24 AM   #9
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 09:25 AM   #10
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 09:26 AM   #11
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 09:27 AM   #12
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 09:21 AM   #13
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Petrova Confirmed For Classic
The Lord of the Rings not only won Academy awards it's winning the hearts of top-ten tennis players with Russian Nadia Petrova confirming her appearance at the 2006 ASB Classic event in Auckland January 2-7 as a result of the movie trilogy.

Saying her knowledge of the Tier 4 US$140,000 Auckland tournament and New Zealand was very limited it was the Lord of the Rings which has inspired her to come down under.

"I think you should be very thankful for the Lord of the Rings. I didn't know anything about the country. The Lord of the Rings really influenced my decision," says Petrova, "I have seen the movie and really want to see the country now."

Petrova is currently playing in at the Linz tournament in Austria and plans to play in Philadelphia and maybe make the year-end Masters field in Los Angeles to finish the season.

The 23-year-old learnt a large amount of her tennis in Egypt where her athletics coach parents were working. Her father, Victor Petrov, was a top hammer thrower while her mother, Nadejda Ilina, won a bronze medal in the 400-metre relay at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

"I've seen it on a tape, someone found it for me. It was really exciting," she says regarding watching the tape of her mother receiving a medal.

Petrova herself has also competed at an Olympics, representing Russia in Athens.

She says her parents are very proud of her and like to have their say on her performances.

"They are interested in my career. My mother likes to come to some tournaments some times...they try and give me advice too."

Petrova has been one of the most consistent players in Grand Slam tennis in 2005 with some top-class results this year, especially in Grand Slams where she reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, the semi-finals at Roland Garros losing to eventual winner Justine Henin-Hardenne plus the quarter-finals of Wimbledon going down to Maria Sharapova.

Then at the US Open she made the quarters before losing to Sharapova in a dramatic three set match.

Her consistency in 2005 Grand Slams puts her ahead of Henin-Hardenne, Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo and Elena Dementieva and is bettered only by Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova and Mary Pierce.

"Lindsay Davenport is my toughest opponent. It's really hard for me to find any rhythm against her. Her shots come really hard and deep into the court," she says.

Petrova also reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2003 and the quarter-finals at the 2004 US Open. Her performances have seen her climb as high as No.6 in the WTA world singles rankings.

The announcement of Petrova delighted ASB Classic tournament director, Richard Palmer.

"It's wonderful that a player of Petrova's class is coming to the ASB Classic in Auckland for the first time. It's a coup to get her here. The commitment from ASB to make the tenth anniversary of their sponsorship of the ASB Classic special has significantly contributed to making this happen. We look forward to seeing a player of this calibre on court in the New Year." said Palmer

Surprisingly the Moscow native has yet to win a WTA singles title, coming close just recently at Bangkok where she made the final but lost to Nicole Vaidisova. She also had a runner-up finish at the Tier 1 event at Berlin in May, beating Amelie Mauresmo before falling to Henin-Hardenne. Other good results include two other semi-finals aside from Roland Garros, plus numerous quarter-finals.

On two other occasions Petrova has made finals, Gold Coast last year and Linz in 2003, however Palmer says the Classic could be an ideal opportunity for his top seed to take a title.

"She's certainly got the ability to win titles. We are obviously hoping that Auckland will be the first of many," says Palmer.

Only once previously has a current top-ten ranked player participated in the ASB Classic. This occurred when Germany's Anke Huber played in Auckland in 1997.

The 2006 ASB Classic featuring the Sovereign singles and doubles will be held January 2-7, 2006 at the ASB Tennis Centre, 1 Tennis Lane, Parnell with qualifying on Saturday 31 December 2005 and Sunday 1 January 2006.
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 06:26 PM   #14
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Go Nadia! I told you she would get her first title before 2006, didn't I Mana. She will prob win in Linz!
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Old Oct 29th, 2005, 06:33 PM   #15
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Dammit it, Kata will have trouble retaining her title
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