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  Topic Review (Newest First)
Mar 17th, 2007 05:55 PM
Re: 2006 Media

French Open extends equal pay to all men, women players

The Associated Press
Friday, March 16, 2007
PARIS: The French Open will award equal prize money to male and female players throughout the tournament, falling in line with the three other Grand Slam tournaments.
The announcement Friday by the French Tennis Federation extends last year's decision. The French Open paid the men's and women's singles champions the same for the first time, although the overall prize fund remained larger for men.
"In 2007, the parity will be total," federation president Christian Bimes said.
Bimes said he had been "particularly sensitive" to recent remarks by Venus Williams about the quality of play in women's tennis.
Equalizing the pay will increase the total purse to €15,264,500 (US$20.34 million) — a 7.2 percent increase from last year and a record at the French Open, which runs May 27-June 10.
Men's and women's singles winners will each receive €1 million (US$1.33 million), also a French record.
Wimbledon organizers announced last month that they will pay women the same as men.
"The decision by Roland Garros today closes one chapter in the history of tennis and opens an exciting new one that will positively impact opportunities for women and girls in sport and society," WTA Tour chief executive Larry Scott said.
Billie Jean King, a leading campaigner for equality, said equal prize money at the four Grand Slams "has now become a non-issue, and I couldn't be happier."
"As we knew it would, it has taken several years to accomplish this goal, but it has been well worth the wait, and we salute the French Tennis Federation for taking this decisive and final step to equality," she said.
The move was also welcomed by Belgium's Justine Henin, winner of the French Open champion in three of the past four years.
"There is no tournament that I feel closer to than Roland Garros, which makes today's decision to treat the woman as equals very special to me personally," she said.
Mar 17th, 2007 05:54 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Venus Williams to play in Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -Venus Williams will play in next month's Family Circle Cup, the tournament announced Monday.
It's only Williams third appearance at the clay court event. She won the tournament in 2004.
Williams joins her sister Serena, as well as former Grand Slam winners Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, Amelie Mauresmo and Martina Hingis in the event April 9-15.
Venus Williams hasn't played much competitive tennis since last October because of an injured left wrist.
Tournament director Robin Reynolds said having both Williams sisters makes this the best Family Circle Cup field ever.
Venus Williams ``joins an unprecedented Family Circle Cup player field that now includes five former World No.1 players and the current top player in the world,'' Reynolds said. ``Combined, these six women have won 26 Grand Slam singles titles.
Mar 17th, 2007 05:52 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Williams sisters should try desert healing

March 17, 2007

Daniela Hantuchova will play Svetlana Kuznetsova in the women's final today at the Pacific Life Open tennis tournament. They are nice players. Their names trigger a buzz in Slovakia and Russia.

This is also the sixth consecutive year that the Williams sisters have not played at Indian Wells. Ah, Venus and Serena. Talk about a real buzz.

Many fans in the desert don't remember, or even know, the story. That March night in 2001, when Venus defaulted to Serena minutes before they were to play their semifinal, is coated in cobwebs. People may vaguely recall how Venus jilted a stadium full of fans, left TV networks scrambling on two minutes' notice, then had a news conference to explain that tendinitis in her knee had acted up.

She walked in and out of that press session without a limp and treated questions about the timing of her decision with arrogance and disdain.

Two weeks later, Venus won the title in Miami. She also won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open that year.

Fans may remember more clearly the final, two days after Venus' default. Serena played Kim Clijsters and was greeted with boos that were loudest during the first set and continued through the match, bringing Serena near tears.

She won. For some that might have been the best answer.

But their father, Richard, got into shouting matches with fans and told reporters that the boos had been racially motivated, not triggered by anger among fans who'd bought tickets for Venus-Serena and got doubles instead.

Later, Richard was quoted as saying that what had happened was "the worst kind of prejudice since they killed Martin Luther King."

Richard said his daughters would never play at Indian Wells again, and they haven't.

Now, it is time for Richard's ban to turn into one of those lifetime track-and-field drug bans that usually lasts two years.

The Williams sisters should come back and play. It would be good for tennis, for sports, for human relations. And, in the long run, better for them.

Their grudge has cost them millions. Presumably, they have plenty. Presumably, like most of us, they'd like more. This year's champion gets $306,890, the runner-up $150,670. The Williams sisters once won Olympic doubles gold. Women's doubles winners at Indian Wells split $84,120. Indian Wells is a financial paradise lost for the sisters.

Their best response to the 2001 boo-birds is to show up and win. Or at least win them over. Just as Richard's claim of rampant racism in the stands was overblown, so was the consensus that this was only about angry ticket-buyers.

There was racism spewing from some mouths. You have a stadium in which the vast majority are white people. All the Neanderthal hasn't been totally bred out. But what percentage was booing dollars-and-cents and what percentage racial issues? Impossible to determine.

If the sisters still feel wronged, they should come back and get even. Or ahead. Play well, embrace the experience and dazzle the fans, who will love them for just showing up.

Serena won the Australian Open this year, and Venus is playing well too. They are healthy and will be in Key Biscayne, Fla., next week to play in the Indian Wells mirror-image tournament, the Sony Ericsson Open.

But this tournament deserves them too, and they it. This is where, as a Southern California teenager, Venus played a memorable night match against an established Lindsay Davenport, who remembers barely winning and saying to herself afterward, "Oh, oh."

Serena arrived shortly thereafter and won two titles in the desert. The sisters have lots of tennis left. Serena is 25 and has won eight Grand Slam tournaments. Venus is 26 and has five Slams. With those resumes comes responsibility.

The sisters can make their last few years great ones. They can win with style and fanfare and lose with dignity. They can be bigger than the small minds that want to categorize by prejudice. By refraining from remaining aloof, they can prove that being so is not related to race, and quiet critics who say otherwise.

The Pacific Life Open is a blot on the Williams legacy. Whether they were right or wrong, whether Venus was injured, whether all 15,000 fans in the stands that day were Ku Klux Klan members, the blot will remain if it is left unaddressed.

The saying about athletes applies here. Venus and Serena need to learn to say hello before it is time to say goodbye.

This desert tournament is prestigious. Organizers this year are projecting attendance approaching 300,000, a number only the Grand Slams attract.

Those organizers, though, aren't staking any sort of future on the presence of the Williams sisters. They had nothing to do with the events of 2001 and have wished, and openly sought, the return of the sisters. Now, like everybody else, they've tabled expectations.

Nevertheless, their tournament deserves the best in the game, and the best in the game deserve the stage the tournament provides.

March of 2008 will be seven years. We recommend that the Williams sisters scratch the itch. Show up next year. Win. Get the last laugh.
Dec 30th, 2006 09:03 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Updated: Dec. 29, 2006, 3:45 PM ET
Venus absent from Hopman Cup due to wrist injury

Sports Ticker

PERTH, Australia -- Former world No. 1 Venus Williams was supposed to partner with Mardy Fish for the United States in the Hopman Cup. But a wrist injury forced her to withdraw.
So it will be up to Fish and Ashley Harkleroad to defend the Hopman Cup title for the fourth-seeded Americans.
The round-robin event begins on Saturday with the U.S. facing France and top-seeded Russia meeting Australia in Group A matches.
Last year, Taylor Dent and Lisa Raymond beat the Dutch pair of Peter Wessels and Michaella Krajicek 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (10-7) in the decisive mixed doubles match to give the Americans a thrilling 2-1 victory and their fourth Hopman Cup title.
The United States has reached the final eight times, five more than any other country.
The Americans would probably have been favored to win again if Williams was able to play. But her troublesome wrist may even force her to miss the Australian Open next month. Williams has played just one tournament since Wimbledon, losing in the second round in Luxembourg in October.
On Saturday, the U.S. pair of Fish and Harkleroad will match up against Jerome Haehnel and Tatiana Golovin of France in singles matches and mixed doubles.
The favored Russian team of Dmitry Tursunov and Nadia Petrova will face the Australian duo of Mark Philippoussis and Alicia Molik on Saturday.
Group B consists of second-seeded Spain, third-seeded Czech Republic, Croatia and India.
The Czech pair of Tomas Berdych and Lucie Safarova will play Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza of India on Sunday.
Tommy Robredo and Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain will meet the Croatian duo of Mario Ancic and Sanja Ancic on Monday.
This event does not award ATP or WTA points but is recognized by the International Tennis Federation.
Dec 23rd, 2006 02:47 PM
Re: 2006 Media
Dec 21st, 2006 11:49 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Dec 21st, 2006 11:15 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Video of the verdict from Court TV.
Dec 21st, 2006 09:19 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Dec 21st, 2006 09:18 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Dec 21st, 2006 09:18 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Dec 21st, 2006 09:17 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Dec 21st, 2006 09:17 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Dec 21st, 2006 09:16 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Tennis player Venus Williams, left, smiles at members of the Palm Beach County officials while leaving the Palm Beach County Courthouse with her sister, Serena, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2006, in West Palm Beach, Fla. The father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams is liable but doesn't have to pay damages in a lawsuit that claimed he reneged on a deal for his daughters to play in an exhibition match, a jury ruled Thursday.
Dec 21st, 2006 08:15 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Jury finds Williams liable but awards no damages
Palm Beach Post Staff Report

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Although a jury found that Richard Williams did in fact breach a contract he signed promising his famous daughters, Venus and Serena Williams, would participate in a tennis match, they did not order him to pay the would-be promoters a dime.

Richard Williams was not in the courtroom when the jury returned with its decision. Venus and Serena Williams, however, were visibly elated, hugging each other and an older sister, Isha Williams, who came in from out of town for the final days of the multi-million dollar breach of contract trial.

The jury's decision brings an end to the nearly five-week trial, punctuated by such acrimony and histrionics that several times, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Winikoff has had to chastise the litigants and their attorneys.

Attorney F. Malcolm Cunningham Jr., who represented the Williams sisters, raised his hands over his head and yelled, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" in a small office inside the courthouse where he met privately with the family after the verdict.

At issue was a contract that Richard Williams signed promising his daughters would participate in a match that was to pit Venus and Serena Williams against two unnamed retired male tennis stars, possibly John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.

The family had insisted the document was meaningless because Richard Williams had no authority to commit Venus and Serena Williams to anything, much less participate in a match that the promoters claimed would net $45 million.

However, attorneys representing shunned promoters Carol Clarke and Keith Rhodes, who say they stood to make as much as $9 million, produced several documents to dispute the family's claims.

Throughout the trial, the Williams sisters insisted they sign their own contracts. But on Tuesday, spurned business adviser Leland Hardy took the stand armed with documents that punched holes in their claims that Richard Williams didn't speak for them. Hardy offered four documents that Richard Williams apparently signed on his daughters' behalf. He also offered a letter in which Richard Williams outlined the correct way to do business with the family.

The jury found the contract was indeed valid, but awarded no damages to Clarke and Rhodes.

Various experts testified about the potential success of the failed tennis match. A Boca Raton accountant hired by lawyers representing Clarke and Rhodes said it could have made between $27.8 million or $37.8 million depending on whether it was held at a casino or an arena.

But Ray Benton, who founded the now-defunct Worldwide Senior Tennis Circuit along with his one-time client Jimmy Connors, said the match offered the Williams sisters nothing but the possibility of humiliation. He said he would have advised them not to step onto the tennis court for less than $5 million each. And if the promoters agreed to pay them that much, the planned match would have been a bust, Benton said.
Dec 21st, 2006 06:47 PM
Re: 2006 Media

Serena Williams and Sania Mirza will play at the Sony Ericsson International

India’s largest Women’s Tennis Association Tour Event will be held from February 12 - 18, 2007 at KSLTA, Bangalore

After a successful second year of tennis sponsorship, Sony Ericsson increases its commitment to the sport by tying up with the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) to bring the Sony Ericsson International, a Sony Ericsson WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Tour event, to Bangalore. With the title sponsorship of the tournament in India, Sony Ericsson aims to further popularise and promote the sport of tennis in India, as it has been doing worldwide through the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. KSLTA is pleased to announce confirmed participation from Serena Williams and Sania Mirza for the tournament. This will be Serena’s first appearance in India and the talented player is set to enthral the Indian audience with her exciting power tennis.
Announced today at a press conference in Bangalore, Sony Ericsson International will sit alongside the company’s other tennis commitments: the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, which culminates in the Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid in November, the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, also in November, and the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, to debut in March 2007.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Dee Dutta, Corporate Vice President and Head of Marketing at Sony Ericsson, said, “We are very pleased to become the title sponsor of the Sony Ericsson International in Bangalore. Serena Williams and Sania Mirza are two of the most talented players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and we are confident that they will be joined by other top international players at the tournament in February.” He added, “We are pleased with the rising popularity of tennis in India. There are many talented players in the country and this has been showcased by India’s excellent performance in tennis at the recently concluded Asian Games in Doha. Sony Ericsson International showcases Sony Ericsson’s commitment to the Indian market and we aim to be an integral part of the tennis movement in India.”
“Our association with tennis is about enabling people to explore their passions. Throughout the past two years of our tennis sponsorship we have combined our brand expertise and innovative thinking to provide something new and something different to tennis fans of all ages, and to extend the game beyond sport. We wish to do the same in India, one of our company’s most important and dynamic markets,” Dutta added.
According to Mr. R. Ashok, Hon’Ble Minister for Health, Government of Karnataka & Vice Chairman, Organising Committee, Sony Ericsson International, ”Karnataka Government is pleased to welcome Sony Ericsson to be associated with this WTA Tour event at Bangalore. Sony Ericsson International is a very important event in Karnataka and our Government is pleased to co-host it with KSLTA. I am sure that this event will showcase Karnataka as a progressive state, equally committed to the development of sport, along with its culture and heritage.”
According to Mr. Sunder Raju, Hon’y Secretary, Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association, ”Women’s tennis in India captured the imagination of the Indian public when a youngster started her battle on the courts of the Australian Open against Serena Williams. KSLTA is pleased to provide a platform for witnessing a replay of this rivalry live by having both these players at the Sony Ericsson International in Bangalore. Whilst such events provide a major input in generating future champions, we believe corporate giants will see this as a valuable medium.”
According to Serena Williams, “I am very excited to be playing in the Sony Ericsson International in Bangalore, especially for the first time. Tennis as a sport has become more and more popular in India, and I hope many fans of all ages will come out and see us play. I always look forward to visiting a new country and playing in new good tournaments.”
Speaking at the press conference, Sania Mirza said, “Sony Ericsson has had a major impact on the WTA Tour. It has helped to make the sport cooler and more accessible because of its links with music, film and fashion. As a result tennis has broadened its appeal to new audiences. I look forward to the newly created Sony Ericsson International next February, in my country.”
Larry Scott, CEO of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, said, "Since our landmark sponsorship agreement began in 2005, Sony Ericsson has become an invaluable partner of women's professional tennis. Today's announcement is another exciting development in their support of the sport and underlines clearly their commitment to tennis in India. We look forward to working with them to make Bangalore an international class event in one of the world's most important and vibrant markets."
At the tournament Sony Ericsson will have category exclusivity for mobile phones and cameras, dominant on-court and off-court presence, and will be presenting the trophy to the winner of the women’s hard court event. Plans regarding the activation of the title sponsorship include consumer promotions for both mobile phones and downloadable content, as well as clinics with Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players, corporate hospitality and a VIP celebrity event during the tournament.
Since embarking on the tennis sponsorship programme in January 2005, Sony Ericsson have been a major innovator in tennis, particularly in its partnership with the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Innovations such as live scoring, instant replay, pre-match player interviews, interactive mobile phone content, interviews with coaches during matches and on-site tournament entertainment, to help make the sport more fan-friendly and to allow spectators and TV audiences to interact with the players. Sony Ericsson’s overall investment in tennis from 2005 to 2010, including the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and Sony Ericsson Open, is worth more than $110 million.
Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications serves the global communications market with innovative and feature-rich mobile phones, accessories and PC-cards. Established as a joint venture by Sony and Ericsson in 2001, with global corporate functions located in London, the company employs approximately 7,000 people worldwide, including R&D sites in Europe, Japan, China and America. Sony Ericsson celebrated the 5th anniversary of the start of the joint venture on 1st October, 2006.
Sony Ericsson is the global title sponsor of the Women's Tennis Association, and works with the Association to promote the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in over 80 cities during the year. The Tour culminates at the Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid, Spain, in November. Sony Ericsson is also the title sponsor of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida, in March. This is the leading international professional tennis tournament outside of the four Grand Slams, a mandatory tournament on the men’s ATP Masters Series and the women’s Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.
By Sony Ericsson
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