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Thursday, October 30, 2008

October Aces; Kantarian Leaving USTA; Tennis Australia Maintains Status Quo

It's still October, but I decided to put together my aces at the end of the month, instead of the beginning November, and all 16 are available today on The Tennis Recruiting Network.

The big news today was the stepping down of Arlen Kantarian, the CEO of Professional Tennis at the USTA. Kantarian, who recently took control of Elite Player Development, hiring Patrick McEnroe as General Manager, was the face of the US Open this decade, and is being widely praised for the income he has generated for the USTA, primarily from that event. Several prominent tennis journalists have provided detailed accounts beyond the USTA press release. Matt Cronin of Foxsports.com and Tennisreporters.net has sources telling him that it was about money. Richard Pagliaro at Tennis Week mentions the possibility of a rift between the community and professional sectors of the USTA and Kantarian accruing too much power. Bonnie Ford at espn.com doesn't speculate on the reasons for his departure, but details how much Kantarian has changed the sport in his nine years at the helm.

Gordon Smith, the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the USTA since last November, is said by Cronin to have been "at odds" with Kantarian and in the frequently byzantine politics of the USTA, that may have been enough to assure his departure. Smith is the author of a column in the latest issue of Racquet Sports Industry that alludes to financial belt-tightening.

We in the national office need to decrease expenses. We must begin to spend the USTA’s money as if it were coming from our own checking accounts. But that alone is not enough. We can’t ask others to sacrifice until we’ve gotten our act together. And I want to hear from you about what you think we could do better, more efficiently and with less cost.
Maybe this is unrelated to Kantarian's departure, but certainly it sounds the warning that the USTA is feeling the pinch of the economic downturn.

In Australia, there was speculation that Geoff Pollard, the president of Tennis Australia since 1989, might be in trouble in the recent board elections, which would spell the end of the Steve Wood-Craig Tiley regime. But thanks to a mention in On The Baseline website, a great women's professional tennis resource, I learned that Pollard was elected unopposed. Tennis Australia has the entire story here.


Aaress said...

Colette, thank you for your kind words and the link to On the Baseline. I appreciate it!

tennisjunky said...


Orange Bowl Acceptance list came out and neither Tomac, Harrison or Williams are playing it. Too bad....

Colette Lewis said...

Harrison is injured as I mentioned last week. Tomic was planning on playing it when I asked him in New York, but I think the focus for him now is to get into the Australian Open main draw, and the wild card tournament may conflict. Perhaps Williams will apply for a wild card?

AndrewD said...


I'm not sure of the dates for the Aus Open wildcard play-off but a more pressing issue for Tomic might be getting a wildcard and training for the Brisbane International (combined men's and women's event). It starts on Jan 4 and expectations are that he'll be given direct entry into his first ATP tour event (the tournament is in his home state and marks the opening of the new State Tennis Centre).