OPEN BEGINS TODAY TO MUCH FANFARE AND STAR POWER
The U.S. Open begins today in Flushing Meadows with many
media outlets focusing on the state of the game. SELES
FACTOR: In Washington, Josh Young writes that "for the first
time in years, the women will hold center stage the first week at
the U.S. Open. For the sponsor-less WTA Tour, the timing
couldn't be better" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/28). CNBC's Allan
Chernoff examined the impact of the Monica Seles' return on
women's tennis. Chernoff: "Women's tennis needs Seles because
the sport has been in a slump. Tournament attendance has been
flat for three years and television ratings for major events have
been disappointing. The women's tour has been without an overall
corporate sponsor this year, and there has been a plague of bad
publicity." Chernoff, on women's tennis' "identity crisis":
"Virginia Slims was the sponsor for so many years that many
people still think that it is the Virginia Slims Tour." Chernoff
noted IMG is in negotiations with several companies, "some
overseas," about sponsoring the Tour and hopes to sign someone
"within weeks." WTA Tour CEO Anne Person Worcester: "Women's
tennis is at a critical juncture right now, and it is very
important for us to affiliate with a multi-national company which
is interested in promoting women's tennis" ("Sports View," CNBC,
8/25). In Philadelphia, Diane Pucin writes under the header
"Agassi and Seles making the Open Cool again": "The buzz is
about tennis. This Open has something people want to see"
(PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/27). Filip Bondy writes that one year
after tennis was dubbed "dead" -- "everything is different.
Seles' return to the Grand Slam scene bestows top status upon the
Open" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/2).
THE RIVALRY: In Toronto, Mary Jollimore writes the "biggest
concern on the men's side seems to be over the attire" of Andre
Agassi (Toronto GLOBE AND MAIL, 8/28). Agassi and Pete Sampras
were the focus of a CBS special, and N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE cover
ON THE WEB: CBS Sports will have Open coverage with CBS'
Eye On The Net at http://www.cbs.com and CBS on Prodigy. IBM
sponsors CBS web and online promotions (CBS).