BBC BLOGS - Jonathan Overend

Archives for October 2011

WTA leads by example

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Jonathan Overend | 19:17 UK time, Monday, 24 October 2011

With the governing body of the men's game, the ATP, still without a leader for next year - Adam Helfant deciding not to renew his contract when it expires in December - the women's tour, the WTA, is showing admirable stability at the top as it prepares for its showpiece tournament.

Canadian Stacey Allaster, the pocket rocket of a Chief Executive, has just signed a new five year contract on the eve of the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul.

The ATP board meets in London next month to finalise their choice for Helfant's replacement with the campaign for former Wimbledon champion and Rotterdam Tournament Director, Richard Krajicek, gaining momentum.

Helfant - a former Nike executive - gave six months' notice of his departure in June, presumably to give his employers plenty of time to find a suitable replacement, and how they've needed it. Talks, interviews, knock-backs, more talks. A decision will come next month we're told.

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Timing all wrong for Murray

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Jonathan Overend | 17:42 UK time, Sunday, 16 October 2011

It's slightly ironic that at a time when shortening the tennis calendar has never been a more important priority, Andy Murray is raging towards the end of the year, probably wanting the season to continue all the way through until the Australian Open in January.

Such is the peculiarity of tennis that this important Asian swing and the subsequent European indoor season leads nowhere of really true significance for the elite players.

Yes the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals are soon upon us, the O2 ready to host for a third year, but all the majors have been played and the next Grand Slam prize isn't awarded for three and a half months.

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Nadal's reluctant 'adios' to Queen's 2012

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Jonathan Overend | 18:18 UK time, Thursday, 13 October 2011

When Wimbledon's chief executive Ian Ritchie voiced concerns in April that complex tax rules could deter athletes from competing in Britain, he was imagining a situation precisely like this.

Rafael Nadal has decided not to renew his agreement with the AEGON Championships at London's Queen's Club, opting instead to sign a new deal with the rival grass-court tournament in Halle, Germany.

The world number two, a former Queen's and Wimbledon champion, believes that the UK tax system is too harshly weighted against visiting athletes in individual sports.

So, despite frequently talking about his love of the Queen's Club, and the convenience of spending the Wimbledon build-up in the same city, he's off to Germany instead.

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The future's bright, the future's British

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Jonathan Overend | 13:29 UK time, Monday, 3 October 2011

At the recent Davis Cup tie in Glasgow, with the British team changed and ready to play, a couple of 16-year-old lads gatecrashed the locker room. Eyebrows were raised, but security was not required.

They weren't lost or looking to cause trouble. Though few people in the room knew it, they were two of British tennis's finest prospects.

Luke Bambridge and Kyle Edmund had been told to give the team talk by captain Leon Smith, who is also the head of men's tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). British number one Andy Murray was about to be lectured by the rookies.

The speech wasn't exactly an epic tub-thumper, but up they stood and away they went - said all the right things, impressed all the right people.

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