epa03629889 Rafael Nadal from Spain in action against Juan Martin Del Potro from Argentina at the BNP Paribas Open tennis Men's Final in Indian Wells, California, USA, 17 March 2013. Nadal won the final. EPA/MICHAEL NELSON |
It wasn’t that long ago that the annual tennis convention of the top men’s and women’s players on Key Biscayne was universally regarded as the ‘unofficial’ fifth Grand Slam. Now with both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal opting to miss Miami’s Sony Open, there is a distinctly second rate feel to the event when compared to last week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The Californian event has had its own no-show problems, with Serena and Venus Williams refusing to play in Indian Wells since 2002. But the absence of Federer and Nadal, who can muster 28 Grand Slam singles titles between them, is hitting the Miami box office.
While stressing the Miami field is still ‘world class’ Sony Open tournament director Adam Barrett admitted ticket sales have dipped because of the absence of the Swiss and the Spaniard. “Roger and Rafa, it’s a bad break,” Barrett said.
“Two storms came together for two completely different reasons for them both not to be here. We still have the top eight men and top nine women.
“You miss those guys; they’re great ambassadors of the game. You play with the field you have and we have a great field. Ticket sales are slightly down, but we’re talking percentages after three record years in a row.”
The Indian Wells Tennis Garden (IWTG), home to the BNP Paribas Open, has launched a new wheelchair tennis clinic program, it was announced today by Tom Fey, Director of Tennis. The weekly wheelchair tennis clinics are open to the public, free and designed for both beginner and intermediate/advanced players.
The Australian Open men's singles quarterfinal lineup is a blockbuster one, with seven of the top eight seeds still alive and the only impostor a local Aussie who has positively ignited the Melbourne crowd. The stretch run begins on Tuesday, with Rafael Nadal going up against familiar foe Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray hoping to stop the freight train that is Nick Kyrgios.
This Global chick won’t lie, we really thought it was time for the Martina Navratilova-powered Agnieszka Radwanska to shine. Her time to make another assault on a Slam final had been and gone, and come back again.
Australian opinion is divided about Nick Kyrgios as the 19 year-old prepares to face former Wimbledon and US Open champion Andy Murray in a bid to become the first home semi-finalists at the year-opening Grand Slam since Lleyton Hewitt ten years ago.
The ITF announced today that it has renewed its sponsorship agreement with NEC Corporation as title sponsor of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters and as an Official Partner of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour through 2017.