When Tradition Clashes With Reality At Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

When Tradition Clashes With Reality At Wimbledon

What will happen in the future at The All England Club?

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How different would the men’s final have been if Novak Djokovic finished his match on Friday and Kevin Anderson didn’t play for more than six-and-a-half hours?

 

The answer to that question is one nobody will know. Not to say that the outcome would have been any different at The All England Club. One of the most unique things about the tournament is their proud traditions. Including making players wear white based on the Victorian era when the public believed white clothing was the best way to hide sweat marks. But what happens when the traditions draws criticism?

Going into the later stages of the men’s tournament, many questioned the current structure of the matches. In the fifth set, there is no tiebreak. Consequently resulting in a rare occurrence at The All England club with two marathon semi-final matches. Kevin Anderson outlasted John Isner 26-24 after more than six hours on the court. Meanwhile, Djokovic needed more than five hours to see off Rafael Nadal.

“I just hope the slams can also at least look at it and have an open conversation about it.” Anderson said following the men’s final.
“I think it’s at least a conversation worth having both just protecting players’ health when you have these very long matches. But, I honestly don’t know where it exactly will go from that.
“I guess my hope is just to have a conversation about it.”

Eight years ago the same debate erupted. That was triggered by John Isner’s gut-busting three-day win over Nicolas Mahut, which he prevailed 70-68 in the decider. Making it the longest match of all time. Interestingly, the debate surrounding the use of a decisive tiebreaker wasn’t so intense. In fact, when Isner was asked if he supported the motion, he replied ‘No, I think you should play it out.’

Isner’s response back in 2010 was a sharp contrast to Friday. Where he openly endorsed the motion.

“I personally think a sensible option would be 12-all,” he said. “If one person can’t finish the other off before 12-all, then do a tiebreaker there. I think it’s long overdue.”

The two comments seemed like nothing to begin with, until you look at it in detail. Tennis players are some of the fittest athletes in the world, but they are also human. It is inevitable that the older they get, the quicker they would want matches to end. Roger Federer has previously admitted that it takes him longer to recover from matches.

This is why one of Wimbledon’s best-known traditions needs to be looked at. It doesn’t take into the reality of the tour. In the modern game, more players are playing later into their career. Highlighted by the fact there are 37 players in the top 100 over the age of 30.

“I think if I asked most players, they wouldn’t be opposed to incorporating a fifth-set breaker.” States Anderson, who is a member of the ATP player council.
“ I’m sure there’s a few people that embrace the history, that you do play long sets. It is a unique point. I definitely agree with that.
“But I think just as tennis continues to evolve and just sports in general, I think the incredibly long matches maybe has had its place and time.”

There has been few discussions about if the latest series of marathon matches will have any impact on a future rule change. The current position of The All England Club goes along the line of ‘it will be discussed’ during one of their meetings. Quoting member Tim Henman, who spoke about the subject whilst commentating for the BBC.

Trying to find the right balance in a tournament built on history and tradition is never easy. Wimbledon chief Richard Lewis recently said that it was ‘likely’ that shot clocks will be implemented in the future. A sign the tournament is reluctantly trying to keep up with the times whilst trying to please traditionalists.

There may be uproar about how fifth sets are played at SW19, but this doesn’t mean that the rules will be changed anytime soon. After all, a 665-minute match had little impact back in 2010. The only change will be if more players speak out. Until then, expect five-set marathons to stay.

Grand Slam

Carlos Ramos Won’t Umpire Serena Williams’ US Open Matches Following Infamous Clash

They two will be kept apart, but will it be enough to stop people talking about their previous confrontation?

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23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos will be kept apart during the US Open following their high-profile spat at the tournament 12 months ago.

 

During the final of the US Open last year, controversy erupted when Ramos issued Williams with a violation for receiving coaching from the stands. Something which is prohibited in grand slam tennis. A livid Williams denied any wrongdoing immediately after. Suggesting the decision was sexist before calling the official a ‘liar’ and a ‘thief.’ In total, Williams was hit with three violations that resulted in a game penalty.

Stacy Allaster, who is the president of the USTA, has confirmed that Ramos will not be allowed to officiate Williams or her sister’s Venus’ matches during the grand slam. Saying that she didn’t want to cause a ‘distraction.’ This decision is said to be applied only to the 2019 tournament.

“We don’t need to go there,” Allaster told The New York Times in a telephone interview. “There are more than 900 matches here over the three weeks, and there are lots of matches for Carlos to do.”
“We want to be focused on the competition and want to go forward,” she added.

Ramos, who is from Portugal, was never found guilty of doing anything wrong during the match. The International Tennis Federation issued a statement shortly after the incident. In it, they said that Ramos ‘undertook his duties as an official, according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity.’

Regardless of the move by the USTA to try and stay clear of the Williams-Ramos incident, it is set to be thrown back into the media spotlight in the coming days. Sports network ESPN will air a documentary called “Serena vs. The Umpire” on Sunday for the first time. It will be narrated by Pulitzer Prize winner Don Van Natta, Jr.

“We’re exploring stories that are unresolved and have layers to them, and that’s certainly the case with what happened at last year’s US Open women’s final,” said John Dahl, Vice President and Executive Producer, ESPN Special Projects and Original Content. “With this and subsequent stories, viewers will follow along with Don on his deep dive for truth.”

The TV program is set to include Patrick Mouratoglou, who is the coach of Williams. Pam Shriver and Chris Evert are also set to feature.

The US Open will get underway on August 26th.

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US Open Leads The Way In Grand Slam Sponsorship Deals, Says Study

An insight into the multi-million dollar business of grand slam tennis.

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Five out of the 10 most expensive rights deals in grand slam tennis belong to the US Open according to a report published by a global intelligence service.

 

SportBusiness has valued the American major as having deals worth in excess of $67 million. Their findings are based on ‘industry sources’ and takes into account only rights fees and not ‘account value.’ Besides the US Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open have two deals that have made the top 10. Meanwhile, Roland Garros only has one, but it is the second highest.

The top deal regarding the US Open is a $20 million yearly agreement with JP Morgan Chase. A financial services company that is ranked as one of the largest banks in the world in terms of assets. They have been a prime sponsor since 2005 and reportedly signed a new three-year deal in 2018. The US Open also has high-value deals, with Emirates ($17M), American Express ($10M), Mercedes-Benz (10M) and Rolex ($10M).

Currently the richest grand slam in terms of sponsorship revenue, it comes as no surprise that this year’s US Open Prize money is also a record for the majors. The pool will be worth $57 million with both the men’s and women’s singles champion taking home $3,850,000. An increase of $50,000 compared to last year. Runners-up will each receive $1,900,000.

Elsewhere, the French Open benefits heavily from their partnership with banking group BNP Paribas. A deal worth $17.5 a year. Roland Garros has the second highest share of the total grand slam revenue after the US Open, but there is little to separate them. SportsBusiness concludes Flushing Meadows leads with a 29% share, followed by the French Open with 28% and Australian Open with 27%. The only notable difference is that Wimbledon lags behind at 16%. However, Wimbledon’s revenue exceeded $50M for the first time this year.

Another notable trend identified by SportsBusiness is the growing presence of Chinese investments. A series of new deals this year included the Australian Open scoring a $14.1M deal with beverage company Luzhou Laojiao. Meanwhile, Wimbledon joined forces with their first ever Asian sponsor Oppo in a deal worth $11M. Later this year, China will host the WTA Finals for the first time in its history with a record prize money pool of $14M. Double of what was on offer last year at the year-end tournament in Singapore.

List of the 10 most expensive grand slam deals

  1. JP Morgan Chase and the US Open ($20M)
  2. BNP Paribas and the French Open ($17.5M)
  3. Emirates and the US Open ($17M)
  4. Kia Motors and the Australian Open ($14.1M)
  5. Luzhou Laojiao and the Australian Open (14.1M)
  6. Rolex and Wimbledon (12.3M)
  7. Oppo and Wimbledon ($11M)
  8. American Express and the US Open ($10M)
  9. Mercedes-Benz and the US Open ($10M)
  10. Rolex and the US Open (£10M)

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Grand Slam

How Many Points Are Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer And Co. Defending Until The US Open?

The full breakdown of how many points every member in the top 20 on the men’s tour have to defend over the coming weeks.

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It has been just over a week since Novak Djokovic won his 16th major title at Wimbledon, but the focus has already switched to the final grand slam of the season.

 

The US Open will begin during the final week of August. Held at Flushing Meadows in New York, the tournament will have the biggest prize money pool in grand slam history. Totalling to an amount of more than $57 million. Between now and then, players will be battling to defend their rankings points on the North American hard courts with this time of the year being more crucial for some than others.

Under the current ranking format, any points a player wins at a tournament are theirs until the following year. Then they have the chance to defend those points. For example Djokovic is the current Cincinnati Open champion and won 1000 points in 2018. Therefore, this year, he is defending 1000 points in the tournament.

Regning US Open champion Djokovic has the most points to defend during this period with his tally being 3090 points. In fact, the world No.1 in the only person in the top 20 defending more than 2000 points. A true testament to his consistency last year.

Roger Federer potentially has the chance to reclaim the world No.2 spot from Rafael Nadal depending on how both men perform. The Swiss player has 780 points at stake, compared to 1720 for his rival. However, Federer will only play one tournament prior to New York compared to two for Nadal. He will miss the Roger’s Cup in Canada in order to have a longer rest period.

At the other end of the spectrum, Gael Monfils only has 90 points to defend. This time last year the Frenchman was struggling with injury and retired from his second round match at the US Open due to his wrist.

Here is a full breakdown of the amount of points the top 20 players are defending from now until the end of the US Open:-

Ranking (as of 23/7/19)
Player
 2018 performance
Points Defending
1 Novak Djokovic  – R3 Rogers Cup
– Cincinnati Champion
– US Open champion
3090
2 Rafael Nadal – Rogers Cup champion
– SF US Open
1720
3 Roger Federer – Cincinnati Finalist
-R4 US Open
780
4 Dominic Thiem -QF Hamburg
-R2 Kitzbuhel
-R2 Rogers Cup
-QF US Open
460
5 Alexander Zverev – Washington champion
– QF Rogers Cup
– R2 Cincinnati
-R3 US Open
780
6 Stefanos Tsitsipas -SF Washington
-Rogers Cup finalist
-R1 Cincinnati
-R2 US Open
835
7 Kei Nishikori -QF Washington
-R1 Rogers Cup
-R2 Cincinnati
-SF US Open
865
8 Karen Khachanov -R2 Washington
-SF Rogers Cup
-R3 Cincinnati
-R3 US Open
540
9 Daniil Medvedev -R2 Washington
-R3 Rogers Cup
-R1 Cincinnati
-Winston Salem champion
-R3 US Open
510
10 Fabio Fognini -Bastad champion
-Los Cabos champion
-R2 Gstaad
-R2 Rogers Cup
-R2 US Open
590
11 Kevin Anderson -SF Rogers Cup
-R3 Cincinnati
-R4 US Open
630
12 Juan Martin del Potro -Los Cabos finalist
-QF Cincinnati
-US Open finalist
1530
13 Roberto Bautista Agut -Gstaad finalist
-R1 US Open
160
14 John Isner -Atlanta champion
-R2 Washington
-R3 Rogers Cup
-R1 Cincinnati
-QF US Open
710
15 Borna Coric -R2 Gstaad
-R2 Rogers Cup
-R2 Cincinnati
-R4 US Open
270
16 Nikoloz Basilashvili – Hamburg champion
-R1 Kitzbuhel
-R2 Winston Salem
-R4 US Open
700
17 Marin Cilic -QF Rogers Cup
-SF Cincinnati
-QF US Open
900
18 David Goffin -QF Washington
-R1 Rogers Cup
-SF Cincinnati
-R4 US Open
640
19 Gael Monfils -R2 Hamburg
-R2 US Open
90
20 Matteo Berrettini -R2 Bastad
-Gstaad champion
-QF Kitzbuhel
-R3 Winston Salem
-R1 US Open
345

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