British Tennis Hopes For Boost In Sponsors, Participation After Murray's Wimbledon Run
Andy Murray may have "missed out on the Wimbledon men's singles title, but British tennis will still hope to cash in on the feel-good factor generated by his run to the final," according to Matt Scott of the London TELEGRAPH. The Lawn Tennis Association, the sport's U.K. governing body, earns an estimated US$38.77M per year "from its five-year title sponsorship with the financial services company Aegon." That agreement "expires at the end of next year and the LTA will now enter renewal negotiations buttressed by an unprecedented level of interest in the sport." Even if Aegon "does not choose to extend its sponsorship with the LTA, Andy Murray's fine form widens the potential interest in British tennis, bringing competitive tension to the negotiations." LTA CEO Roger Draper said that the interest "sparked by Murray's performances might provide a boost to participation in this country" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/9).
A LONG TIME COMING: In a special for USA TODAY, Chris Oddo writes, "Aided by the use of pregerminated seeds, modern grow covers and hopefully cooperation from Mother Nature, the storied lawns of Wimbledon -- in all their iconic, green glory -- will be ready to impress the world when Olympic tennis begins July 28." Wimbledon head groundskeepers Eddie Seaward and Neil Stubley have been "preparing for the Olympic challenge for years, vigorously experimenting on the practice courts, mixing seeds and techniques, comparing notes and compiling a growing list of methodologies, noting those that do and do not work." Stubley said, "What we've done over the last two years is taken pairs of courts and done different trials on them immediately after Wimbledon, when they're worn" (USA TODAY, 7/9).
GETTING CLOSURE: Early in the third set of the Wimbledon men’s singles final, it started to rain and the grounds crew quickly covered the court and the roof was closed. ESPN’s Chris Fowler said, “There have been some very scrutinized, controversial decisions throughout these championships about when, and when they don’t, use the roof.” ESPN’s John McEnroe said, “That’s a great point. ... To me personally, it would be a magnificent way to end it.” Fowler noted that there have been 13 days of play and the men’s final was the “15th stoppage” due to weather ("Wimbledon," ESPN, 7/8).
HOT TICKET: In London, Jack Malvern writes each of the inhabitants in the Royal Box at the Wimbledon men's final yesterday "had his or her own way of cheering on Andy Murray." Among those in the box were Princess Kate, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson, MLS Galaxy MF David Beckham and his wife Victoria. The Royal Box was "so filled with cousins of the Queen, politicians and former Wimbledon champions" that many celebs had to sit in the public areas. Among those kept out of the Royal Box were EPL club Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, singer Cliff Richard, actors Stephen Fry and Jude Law, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and free agent German MF Michael Ballack. Princess Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, applauded from the Royal Box while parents Michael and Carole were in the public area (LONDON TIMES, 7/9). ESPN Exec Chair George Bodenheimer made it into the royal box, sitting behind Kate and Pippa (THE DAILY).