Gerard Tsobanian, President and CEO of the Mutua Madrid Open, combined ATP and WTA event preparing players for the French Open in Paris held a working media-breakfast during which he summarised the status of the preparations for the 2014 edition of the tournament, that is to take place between the 2nd and 11th of May in the Caja Mágica. “We want to keep bringing the tournament closer to Madrid’s citizens. This is not an elitist tournament. Last year we lowered ticket prices and this year we have frozen them. This tournament belongs to the citizens of Madrid and to Spaniards and we are very proud to stage it every year”, said Gerard Tsobanian.
Sponsors guarantee yet another year of solid performance in Madrid
Regarding sponsorship, the Tournament President was delighted to announce the addition of French catering group Sodexo to the tournament’s group of sponsors. Sodexo has provided the catering services to the Mutua Madrid Open for several years, but starting in 2014 it will be an active sponsor, advertising itself at a tennis tournament for the first time. Gerard Tsobanian spoke of the importance to the Mutua Madrid Open of the agreement reached with Inditex, one of the most important textile groups in the world, through its Pull & Bear brand to provide the uniforms for the ball-boys and model/ball-boys for the tournament, and the return as a sponsor of Air Europa, which worked with the Mutua Madrid Open between 2004 and 2011 and will do so again as from now. In addition, he highlighted the importance of Corte Inglés, one of the best-known Spanish companies around the world, which formed part of the tournament last year and will be back this time around to do the same.
All these brands therefore join the Mutua Madrid Open’s group of sponsors, which is formed by Mutua Madrileña, the Council of Madrid, Estrella Damm, Mercedes Benz, Ricoh, Ohlimpia, Dunlop, AC Hoteles Marriott, ABC, Adecco, Prosegur, Marca and Schweppes. Regarding ticket sales, Gerard Tsobanian announced that there was a 50 per cent increase compared to the same time in 2013. The President of the Mutua Madrid Open stated that there has been an effort to try and focus on opening up to the international market, which is why last year a new ticket-sales platform was launched to allow their purchase in six languages.
Mutua Madrid Open will be televised live via several TV-channels
Finally, it has been confirmed that the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open will be broadcast by La Sexta and Nitro television channels, as was last year’s tournament.
Manolo Santana outlines his expectations for the ATP-tournament 2014
In a very interesting interview the tournament media has done with the former world number one, Santana is quoted: “What is for sure is that the tournament is here to stay. It is recognised worldwide, and we have to try to do the best we can to ensure that the ATP continues to show confidence in us, and to improve the things that need improving, for the crowds, logically because they are the ones who pay, want the facilities to be in perfect condition, the courts to be perfect and obviously that all the players come.” – with regards to the future of the Spanish tennis, the Madrilenian Santana is optimistic: “It is incredible. It’s marvellous that we have two players like Nadal and Ferrer in the top five in the world. And they’re backed up by players like Almagro, who is an incredible player, Verdasco, Feliciano and Robredo, who are fighting to remain at the top and that’s not easy but they do it. Then we have Bautista, who did incredibly in Australia, and also García López and Andújar, who is a player who does well on all surfaces and I like his style of play. We have a great group of players but obviously some of them might slip away. We have to carry on supporting Rafa, because he is a foundation not only of Spanish tennis, but also world tennis. When Rafa plays, demand for tickets, interviews… go off the scale. It’s normal, because for me he’s not a normal sportsman, and we’re very lucky that all of us in the tennis family have him close to us.”
Tournament Director counts on Serena Williams for the WTA event
“I don’t think anyone can defeat Williams at a Grand Slam, or any other important tournament for that matter, when she is at her best level. She is extremely potent and has enormous self-confidence. The American almost always beats Sharapova, Ni La and Azarenka, who are her closest rival. She has tremendous power. All her shots are definitive. Her forehand is impeccable and her concentration is extraordinary, she’s a true champion. I think that Sharapova and Azarenka need to have a very good day to defeat her, or that another player causes a huge surprise, but I think at all the major tournaments Serena is the favourite.” Santana explains the ‘special’ status he sees for the American given she is healthy and focused to play.
Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker
According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.
Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.
Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.
This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.
The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.
Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.
“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.
“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”
Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.
Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.
Juan Carlos Ferrero Analyses Key Areas For Carlos Alcaraz’s Development
Juan Carlos Ferrero has outlined the next steps in Carlos Alcaraz’s development.
Carlos Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero has analysed the key areas for the Spaniard’s development heading into the 2024 season.
The former world number one’s season has come to an end after a successful year which saw him win the Wimbledon title as well as winning two Masters 1000 titles.
Alcaraz capped off an incredible season by reaching the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
However there is a long way for the Spaniard to go if he wants to consistently go toe-to-toe with Novak Djokovic.
Speaking to Marca Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero spoke about the Spaniard’s development and said that Alcaraz is too emotional, “Be more regular in games, not open doors. Sometimes there are mistakes and it is something that we have to improve a lot,” Ferrero commented.
“Although it is true that he opens doors, he always competes well and at the highest level. He knows it, the other day he already said that Novak doesn’t give you one. He has to improve his decision making and he will achieve that with experience. Carlos is very emotional and that sometimes helps him and other times not so much.”
It’s clear Alcaraz’s high-quality is there but to consistently do it against Djokovic is another task altogether as the Spaniard looks to go from strength-to strength next season.
One area that is clearly a priority for Alcaraz is physical conditioning especially considering what happened against Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier in the season.
Ferrero said that will be a clear focus heading into 2024 but couldn’t guarantee that Alcaraz will play a tournament before the Australian Open, “Because of the year and the fatigue he has been in, what he needs is rest and disconnecting for 8-10 days with his friends,” Ferrero stated.
“From there, the thinking must go back to working really hard, strong and well to start very strongly in Australia. One can never be sure of that. Sometimes you play a tournament and it doesn’t go well, you left home too early. There are many ways of thinking.
“This year we haven’t played Australia and he finishes number two. That means there is no urgency to play a tournament early. Carlos is a player who enters competition quickly, you don’t usually see him without rhythm.
“Although it is true that he becomes more dangerous from the round of 16, from the quarter-finals. I am confident that the two exhibition matches and the training sessions will help us play a good tournament.”
Alcaraz will be looking to play the Australian Open which starts on the 15th of January after the Spaniard missed last year’s tournament due to a leg injury.
Australian Open Chief Confident Nadal Will Play But Kyrgios’ Participation Uncertain
The tournament director of the Australian Open says he is ‘certain’ that Rafael Nadal will play at the Grand Slam even though the Spaniard has yet to outline his comeback plans.
Craig Tiley told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday he hopes to receive some clarity over Nadal’s intentions in the next couple of weeks but is confident he will play. However, the tennis official had previously claimed in October that the former world No.1 had already committed to play in the event before his team denied that statement.
Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slam titles, hasn’t played a Tour match since his second round defeat at the Australian Open in January due to a hip injury. He was originally expecting to take an eight-week break but the recovery didn’t go to plan and he ended up having surgery. In May he confirmed that he will take an extended break from the sport to heal his body and admitted that retirement next year is a possibility.
“Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day because he’s a massive drawcard for us,” the Reuters News Agency quoted Tiley as saying.
“He wants to play, he’s obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up.
“Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I’m certain Rafa will be here because he’s not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago.”
Earlier this month Nadal confirmed that he intends to return to the Tour but admits that he will continue to experience a degree of pain. Although he has yet to give any information about which tournament he will begin his comeback at. The 2024 season begins during the first week of January.
“I’m well, training, and happy. I’m at a good stage of my life,” atptour.com quoted Nadal as telling reporters in Barcelona.
“Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again someday, and now I genuinely believe I will. I’m still not ready to say when, but I’m able to train increasingly longer, and the progress is good.’
Will Kyrgios play?
Another player Tiley is eager to welcome back is home player and former Wimbledon Finalist Nick Kyrgios who has only played one Tour-level match this season due to injury. He underwent knee surgery in January and then tore a ligament in his wrist during the summer. As a result, the Australian currently doesn’t have an ATP ranking due to his inactivity.
“We have spoken to Nick, and he obviously wants to do the best he possibly can to give him the best chance to play in January,” Tiley said of Kyrgios.
“Whether he’s playing, whether he’s doing something else, Nick will be here in January and to get him to play will be great. But we’ve got to take it as it comes and he’s got to make sure he takes care of his health …”
Kyrgios recently worked as an analyst for the Tennis Channel during this year’s ATP Finals in Turin and gave a brief update on his ongoing recovery during a segment.
“After last year, I had such a great year, and I’m so hungry to get back out there,” the 2022 Wimbledon finalist commented.
“So I’m doing everything I can to get back out there. Obviously, you know how injuries are every day, just doing the rehab, doing the gym work.”
The Australian Open will begin on Sunday 14th January. Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the defending champions.
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