In London, Neil Harman writes the U.S. Open “will be met with a walkout from an overwhelming majority of the men’s players this year unless it comes up with a considerable improvement in prize money and reconsiders its decision to move the final to a Monday night.” Men's tennis players said that the decision to have a Monday final was “taken without consultation and that they disagree with the extension of the event, having preferred a Friday semi-final and a Sunday final.” Their “greater beef, though, is with what they see as an insignificant increase in their rewards” (LONDON TIMES, 1/21).
ROCKIN' IN THE U.K.? In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence wrote, "We’re not convinced that London is the best place for international expansion, even if they did get almost 19,000 for the Knicks-Pistons game at the O2 Arena." U.K. fans are “not so taken with the sport, which ranks far below" English soccer leagues. For the NBA to “expand overseas, it first will take NBA-suitable arenas.” NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver “cited only three cities besides London that have the kind of arenas that could possibly house a team: Berlin, Istanbul and Paris" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/20).
WORLD WEARY: In Chicago, Phil Rogers wrote MLB's "attempt to create its own World Cup" with the World Baseball Classic is "limping along as a second-tier novelty, in large part because major league executives and players aren’t embracing it.” There was “some thought” the U.S. team’s “previous disappointments would prompt U.S. organizers to work harder to build a team around its biggest advantage, pitching.” But “too many of the best players -- no doubt in consultation with their teams -- told manager Joe Torre no thanks.” There also is an “unfair nature to how teams share the WBC talent burden" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/20).
PREMIER SUSPECT? In Miami, Michelle Kaufman wrote if there was "any doubt” that the EPL “lags behind Spain’s La Liga when it comes to star power, the recently-released FIFA Team of the Year and UEFA.com Team of the Year do not contain any players from the EPL.” The FIFA team, voted on by players “all over the world, featured all 11 players from La Liga.” The UEFA.com Team of the Year was “made up of eight La Liga players” and three others. It is the “first time in 12 years no EPL players made the UEFA.com team” (MIAMI HERALD, 1/20).