Match Points – Nov. 12, 2014

News and notes from around the game.

Raonic getting a little inspiration from Rocky

The Canadian, who had a tough time in his first round-robin match against Roger Federer, is looking for inspiration wherever he can find it (are you hearing the theme song in your head the way I am?)

It didn’t necessarily work in his match later in the day against Andy Murray. But he’s on the right track.

 

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French Four nominated for Davis Cup final

Here’s captain Arnaud Clément, in his own words.

Finale de la Coupe Davis : Clément a choisi son… by FFT

 The French players are chilly .. or it chillin’ in Bordeaux

Coupe Davis 2014 : début du stage de l’équipe… by FFT

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Props to Daveed

In a tribute to veteran David Ferrer – and a not-so-subtle dig at a certain young Bulgarian, a couple of respected tennis people Tweet it out.

 

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Delpo working hard on the comeback trail

Juan Martin del Potro posted a video of the first few weeks of his 2015 pre-season training.

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Watching the IPTL

IPTL

As much as it doesn’t count, the star power alone will certainly make diehard tennis fans who can’t stand the length of the off-season look for ways to watch the new International Premier Tennis League, which begins play next week in cities far, far away (Manila, Singapore, Dubai, Delhi).

There are some people who still aren’t 100 per cent convinced this thing is going to get off the ground (and that the cheques to the players will clear). But it certainly seems, at this point, that it’s a go.

Some matches will be shown on Sky Sports in the U.K. (from the looks of it, mostly on “Sky Sports 3”, which is probably equivalent to “ESPN3” or TSN3. That’s at 8 a.m. and noon, their time.

In North America, the time differences are a lot more challenging. But it seems that the matches will be available on pay-per-view in the U.S. via something called Integrated Sports Media.

From Manila and Singapore, the match times are 3 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., From India, 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and from Dubai, 7 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

The prices don’t look particularly appealing – particularly the one-match price of $9.95 (with packages at $69.95, although the press release gives no indication of whether that includes all the matches).

That’s going to send potential viewers scrambling for, er, alternate streams.

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More improvements at Indian Wells

The joint event in the California desert in March is already practically a perfect tournament for fans. If you had to pick just one to go to in North America (and arguably, anywhere), it’s the winner.

Indian Wells

But they keep on adding to the experience.

Among the latest improvements is the addition of over 3,600 seats, including around practice courts 15-20, which are in the back and, at the moment, involve standing in the walkway behind the courts.

As well, they’re adding video boards near all the courts to make it even easier to see who’s practicing there, in case you’re not a crazy diehard and don’t know your Alexandra Dulgherus from your Irina-Camelia Begus.

They’re also adding eight video screens (9 feet by 5 feet) inside Stadium 1. And more hydration stations where you can refill your water bottle – a must, given how hot it can get there. There will be more amenities at the fancy restaurants that are part of the new Court 2.

And they’re adding an official Premier Sponsor in Audi, so there will be lovely vehicles around the grounds (they come with Open Court’s personal recommendation).

While the BNP Paribas Open is undoubtedly blessed with having an owner with some of the deepest pockets around in Larry Ellison, there’s a big leap from having the money to spending it – especially to spending it on the fan experience. This tournament leads the way.

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ATP University – a long commute

Nick Kyrgios, the Aussie who cut his breakthrough season a little short to rest, rehab and regenerate back home, ends up having to fly all the way to London to attend a session of what they call “ATP University”

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, although it never hurts to have your young up-and-comers on hand during the ATP’s glammest week. Jerzy Janowicz was among the attendees during the World Tour Finals two years ago.

Many of the young players get it done in conjunction with the Miami event.

This year, Dominic Thiem, Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Jiri Vesely were among those “graduating” in March.  Raonic did it in Miami in 2011.

According to the ATP, players are “schooled in fields including media relations, finance, anti-corruption, marketing, rules and officiating, medical services, nutrition and giving back.” You just hope they don’t media-relate all of the spontaneity out of Kyrgios.

In 2007, they did it at Walt Disney report in Orlando at the end of November. That sounds more like it.

Check this out:

 Crazy how baby-faced some of them are (check out Robin Haase), even if the video does butcher some of the names.

Jesse Levine

 

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