It is regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious tennis events for the past two years. But the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) saw a drop in attendance for its Singapore leg after its organisers announced that tennis superstars Roger Federer and Serena Williams would not be playing here.
Empty seats were seen across all three days of the IPTL from Tuesday to Thursday (6-8 December) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – the average daily attendance was estimated to be about 1000 – 1500, according to a number of people who attended the event.
When asked by Yahoo Singapore about the turnout on Tuesday, UAE Royals player Ana Ivanovic said, “It was nice and they (tennis fans) were still supportive. I think it will get a little busier over the next few days.”
However, attendance barely picked up over the next two days. One spectator, Henryl Moreno, a 37-year-old editor, estimated the attendance to be around 700 people on the final day but he added there were more people for the second match of that day.
The long-time tennis fan was disappointed by the low turnout. “I go to the WTA Finals every year, and the IPTL attendance is a bit low compared to that,” Moreno said.
“I was expecting more people on the final day because the event is better than a regular tennis match and the format is more exciting.”
Despite the low turnout, Moreno said the atmosphere wasn’t lacking. “It was quite good, like watching a basketball match,” he said.
Both Federer and Williams were slated to turn up in Singapore, but IPTL announced on the first day that both would not be participating.
It is believed that IPTL is facing financial difficulties, which likely contributed to the players’ absence. A statement on the IPTL Facebook page from its founder Mahesh Bhupathi said that the event organisers have “had challenges this year and were hoping to get past them”.
“With the current economic climate in India and the uncertainty of spending money, I reached out to both Roger and Serena to explain the situation,” the statement added.
Many upset fans took to IPTL’s official Facebook page to vent their frustrations.
One of them, Valen Fallore, felt that the organisers were using “big names to boost ticket sales”, while another, Jo Nickson, said the organisers should have confirmed the attendance of all the players before they released tickets for sale.
The final leg of the third season of IPTL is taking place in India from Friday to Sunday (9-11 December).
There is actually no best day to make a doctor's appointment, says Michael Rabovsky, MD, family medicine physician and chairman of the department of family medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. But there is a worst one. Monday is always the craziest day for doctors who are trying to catch up on work from the weekend. His advice: If any other day works, avoid Mondays at all costs.
The all-star field for the opening Grand Slam of 2017 at Melbourne Park will see Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber start as top seeds in a sign of the changing of the guard in world tennis.
It will also be notable for six-time tournament champion Williams, who is attempting to claim her 23rd major singles title to surpass Steffi Graf and set a new record for the Open Era.
On the men's side, world number two Novak Djokovic will be aiming to hoist the trophy for a record seventh time.
"We have an exceptionally strong field for Australian Open 2017, and it's exciting to welcome two new world number ones, and two new top seeds in Angie (Kerber) and Andy (Murray)," said tournament director Craig Tiley.
American powerhouse Williams has been out of action since September due to a shoulder injury that hindered her throughout the year.
She has signed on for the Auckland Classic in early January, along with sister Venus, as a warm-up for the Australian Open later that month.
Fellow former world number one Federer has also been sidelined for knee rehabilitation after undergoing the first operation of his career on a torn meniscus in February.
He is set to play the Hopman Cup in Perth ahead of the Australian Open and renew his rivalry in Melbourne with Rafael Nadal, who is also working to regain full fitness and is set to kick-off his year at the Brisbane International.
"We have been in regular contact with Roger and Rafa and both are ready and excited for the Aussie summer, with Roger heading to Perth and Rafa to Brisbane for the first time," said Tiley.
"Like all the players, they can't wait to get to Melbourne and start the year off well."
The only player from the top 99 missing is two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka, who announced in July she was pregnant with the baby due towards the end of the year.
"He didn't spend as much time on the practice court in the last six months as he should have, and he knows that," the German told Sky News. "Success like this doesn't happen by pushing a button. Success like this doesn't just happen by showing up at a tournament. You have to work your bottom off because the opposition does the same.
"He [Djokovic] has got to go back to work. He has to go back to the office and practice these hours and refocus on what made him strong in the first place."
"It was mutual. A decision like this does not happen overnight. It is a progress," he told Sky News. "I think the last six months have been challenging on many levels. Our hands were tied a little bit because we couldn't do the work we wanted to do."
"I don't know if he had any personal problems, based on what I know," Becker said. "He is happily married. He has got a beautiful son. But the profession of a tennis player is probably the most selfish one in sports because it has to be about you, and he is the first to say he is a family man, so of course his wife and the rest of his family had to take back seats.
"That can't be forever, and I think that is what he meant. I don't think there were problems. I have met his wife -- she is lovely and very, very supportive of her husband. But they don't spend enough time together. I had it, too, 20 years ago. It is just the nature of the beast, being a tennis player."
"I am sure the fact that he lost the No. 1 ranking to Andy Murray is going to hurt," Becker said, though. "I know the US Open loss in the final against Stan [Wawrinka] hurt. I think that is what he needed maybe in a funny way was to lose a little bit, to realise what it is like to lose, because he hasn't been losing for two and a half years.
"I'm convinced -- and I am his No. 1 fan for next year -- that he will come back and regain that No. 1 position and regain being the most dominant player in his sport."
Kiki Bertens fell to Kirsten Flipkens in unfortunate fashion over the weekend when, on match point, the ball hit her in the head on her own serve.
Playing in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), Bertens found herself with second serve down 6-3 in a second set tiebreaker. Under IPTL rules, once a ball is tossed into the air for a serve, the serving motion must be completed.
This, then, meant that Bertens had no choice but to try to serve despite her poor toss. The problem was that Bertens hesitated — clearly forgetting about the IPTL rule and planning to bail on the toss.
When she remembered, the ball was well past its highest point and the entire service motion was awkward.
She swung, missed, and the ball hit her on the head. Double fault.
At approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, a caddie collapsed on the 13th fairway. After the on-site medical staffers attended to the situation, the caddie was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The caddie’s name was not released, but Dubai media reported the caddie was carrying for Anne-Lise Caudal.
This summer will mark the 25th anniversary of Larry Bird’s retirement from professional basketball. The Legend remains one of the most revered and decorated players in the history of the sport — a 12-time All-Star, three-time champion, a three-time Most Valuable Player and one of the greatest shooters ever to set foot on a basketball court. (Even as recently as a few years ago.)
Thirteen seasons of hard-charging play against some of the best big men and wingmen the NBA had to offer — plus another two full seasons of postseason games, which most players will tell you take an even greater toll on you than regular-season contests — did a number on the Boston Celtics magician’s body, most notably his back, forcing him to step away from the sport at age 35, just 209 points shy of 22,000 for his illustrious career. Bird famously compounded the pounding he took as the offensive focal point of some of the best teams in league history by running miles and miles — before and after games, in the concourses of arenas and outside on the pavement — to keep himself in top condition, and avoid getting tired during crunch time on the court.
Did Becker delay the jump from the sinking ship a tad longer than Lendl did with Murray? Maybe!!!
I mean, what was he thinking? Djokovic will turn it freaking around? Really? Or cashola is so tight that job was a necessity? Or getting fired appears lot better than 'jumping the ship' on the resume - for the next job?
Besides, he must be having a fairly accurate read on the exact problems Djokovic is facing. Heck, clowns having no idea what the problem is were able to determine the severity given the impact on his game - and demeanor. So if you knew BOTH shouldn't you be finding a way to leave ASAP - without the broom?
Add Djokovic's age and other obvious factors playing into the dynamic to pretty much seal the possibility of Djokovic NOT returning to Slam-winning ways, forget everything else, wasn't it then a fairly calculated 'risk' - Slam dunk?
Additionally, the hit to the ego that accompanies a firing - specially one even a cucumber saw coming - when you had an option AND the Lendl precedent to 'justify' the exit cannot be good for the psyche.
You can attempt to mask it with 'it was great ride' and other BS as much as you want but you are not moving the needle - deep inside.
And it's not that Djokovic didn't give you a freaking chance. Heck, he was dropping RATS - forget hints - all over the place a decade ago to allow you a 'respectable' exit. He even freaking hired a fake guru - with middle hair parting and unbuttoned shirt. What else were you waiting for? Some closet?
So who is next for Becker? Kyrgios? Isn't everyone screaming about him being the next thing?
For Djokovic, isn't he in the train Federer was sailing in when Darren Cahill refused to accept the offer to coach him because he was considering nostril-widening surgery? And then, to make sure it stuck, Cahill decided to coach Verdasco or some such loser - without the nose surgery.