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WTA TOUR'S YOUNG GUNS ARE THE HEADLINERS OF '98 U.S. OPEN
Published August 31, 1998
With the U.S. Open beginning today at the U.S. National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY, the WASHINGTON POST's Jennifer Frey wrote that U.S. tennis "finds itself in the spotlight, facing several questions. ... The only aspect of the sport that does not seem to be in question is the health of the women's professional game. It clearly is enjoying a boom time, both internationally and in the United States." In an effort to boost awareness, both the ATP and WTA Tours "appear to be recognizing the need to make their current top players more accessible to the public." WTA Tour CEO Bart McGuire: "The fact is, we're in the entertainment business, and unless the human side of these athletes comes out, we're not going to get the other fans -- the ones who aren't necessarily hard-core fans of the sport." Frey, on the men's game: "[U]ntil the men can find their own versions of Monica, Venus and Martina -- or market their current players more successfully -- it is safe to assume that [Pete] Sampras will continue to field questions about the state of tennis today" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/30). In previewing the Open, columnist George Vecsey writes that "the women are more interesting. ... [T]hey bring a mixture of competitiveness and personality and vulnerability to this Open" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/30). CNN/SI's Sonja Steptoe also profiled the WTA Tour on CNN's "Page 1" ("Page 1," 8/29). NET CORDS: Sunday's N.Y. TIMES featured a 96-page U.S. Open ad supplement (THE DAILY)....In L.A., Scott Moe reviews the Open's official Web site at www.usopen.org, which "has all the bases covered for fans." Some of its "best features" are the pages that show the "entire draw in bracket form." Moe: "But the best thing about the site is that it includes a search engine." Moe writes the site "has plenty to keep any tennis fan happy" (L.A. TIMES, 8/31). PILOT PEN: Attendance for the inaugural six-day women's Pilot Pen Int'l in New Haven, CT, was 40,351. Coupled with the men's nine-day tournament total of 91,625, it added up to 131,976. The women's event "did poorly upfront, but recovered with a strong walk-up business." Overall, the men's tournament outdrew the women's event by 2% on a per- session basis (Garber & Gonzalez, HARTFORD COURANT, 8/30).