WTA CEO & Chair STACEY ALLASTER hailed LI NA's "rise as a key factor behind the growth of women's tennis in Asia," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. ZHANG SHUAI "became the fifth Chinese women to win a WTA title when the wildcard triumphed at the Guangzhou Open on Saturday," and Allaster hailed the world No. 5 Li "for her continued efforts in building the sport." Allaster: "The athlete that will make the greatest impact on the growth of women's tennis in this decade. You can have a strategy with multi-thronged pillars but you need the stars and Li is obviously our star here in Asia." China's appetite for tennis "seems only growing, with Allaster saying a huge chunk of their fans were coming from the country where the WTA will have eight events next year" (REUTERS, 9/24). ESPN's Kamakshi Tandon wrote "as China's economy has grown and trade has increased, the nation has also invested in its presence on the international sporting scene." Hosting tennis tournaments has been "a significant part of that effort." Also, "a growing cadre of Chinese players on the women's tour has helped capture the attention of the general public," which became a "full-blown frenzy" when Li became the first Chinese player to win a singles Grand Slam title at the French Open in '11. Allaster: "We haven't even begun to realize the opportunity of China and Southeast Asia" (ESPN, 9/24).
People and Pop Culture
F1 Ferrari driver FERNANDO ALONSO confirmed on Monday that "after learning of his failed negotiations to acquire Spanish cycling team Euskaltel-Euskadi, Alonso maintains his desire to have a team and pointed to 2015," according to EL PERIODICO. Alonso said, "We tried until the end, but it was impossible to have a cycling team in 2014. My passion for this sport and desire to collaborate remain intact, and this is only the beginning of the future. With excitement we will try for 2015" (EL PERIODICO, 9/23).
Bundesliga club Hamburg SV has appointed Dutchman BERT VAN MARWIJK "as its new head coach." The former head coach of the Dutch national team replaces THORSTEN FINK, "who was fired last week." The 61-year-old "will receive a contract until '15" and an estimated €1.4M ($1.9M) annually (SID, 9/23). ... Badminton Association of Malaysia Talent Management Group Dir TAN AIK MONG quit "after just 18 days in the job." The former int'l said on Tuesday that the job, which he had carried out voluntarily, "had become untenable following the BAM’s decision to revert all his changes to their original structure" (THE STAR, 9/24).
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Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) President JOSÉ LUIS SÁEZ has decided to extend Spanish national team coach JUAN ANTONIO ORENGA's contract until "at least the 2014 FIBA World Cup, which will take place in Spain." Orenga "has been saved from the criticism he has received after Spain's recent Bronze Medal finish at the EuroBasket" (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 9/24). ... Madrid Mayor ANA BOTELLA said that the city will not bid to host the 2024 Olympics after the Madrid 2020 bid's recent failure. Botella: "The Madrid candidacy project has been exhausted. Because of this, it has been decided that the city will not bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games. Real Madrid's 'La Decima' ('10th European championship') will arrive in Madrid before the Olympic Games" (EL PERIODICO, 9/20). ... Italian cycling champion GINO BARTALI was recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" by the Israeli museum of Yad Vashem, "which has formally added him onto the honor list of the gentiles who helped Jews escape the Holocaust." The three-time Giro d' Italia champion and two-time Tour de France winner, who died aged 85 in '00, "came to play an important role in the rescue of Jews" during World War II (XINHUA, 9/23). ... Canadian sprinter BEN JOHNSON "returned to Seoul on an anti-doping campaign tour on the 25th anniversary of the Seoul Olympics where he was disqualified for using performance-enhancing substance." His trip was part of an int'l anti-doping campaign called "Choose the Right Track" (XINHUA, 9/24). ... Snooker's global governing body announced on Tuesday that Snooker player STEPHEN LEE "will discover on Wednesday his punishment for match-fixing." The 38-year-old Englishman was found guilty of seven match-fixing charges and now sports lawyer ADAM LEWIS "is on the brink of delivering his verdict" (AFP, 9/24). ... ZAINUDIN NORDIN will remain as FA of Singapore president until '15 at the FAS' annual general meeting at Jalan Besar Stadium. Two new VPs -- BERNARD TAN and EDWIN TONG -- "were also appointed." They join current VPs LIM KIA TONG and TAN SOO NAN (STRAITS TIMES, 9/24). ... Serie B Brescia Calcio will face Carpi without MARCO GIAMPAOLO after the coach "went AWOL." Giampaolo "did not turn up to take training on Sunday or Monday." He has also since "turned his mobile off so nobody at the club has been able to contact him" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 9/24). ... National Rugby League Newcastle Knights CEO MATT GIDLEY has moved to allay fears coach WAYNE BENNET and embattled owner NATHAN TINKLER "will not be at the club next season." Gidley: "I've spoken to him [Bennett] about that -- he's not going anywhere" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/25). ... Philippine national basketball team coach EDWARD "DONG" SANTOS VERGEIRE died of a heart attack on Sept. 20. He was 47 (MANILA TIMES, 9/24). ... NRL player BLAKE FERGUSON's "long road back" has commenced, with the wayward NSW Origin star "fronting League Central" Tuesday afternoon. Accompanied by his new player agent, SAM AYOUB, Ferguson "arrived at the Moore Park offices just before 1pm" (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/24). ... Pakistan national team captain MISBAH-UL-HAQ "has appealed to the authorities from both India and Pakistan to revive bilateral cricketing ties between the two nations." Since the '08 Mumbai attacks, India "has refused to play a bilateral series against the neighbours, neither in Pakistan nor at a neutral venue" (TNN, 9/23). ... Poland's former amateur world time-trial champion and double Olympic Silver Medallist STANISLAW SZOZDA "has died at the age of 62, following a long illness" (AFP, 9/24).
Former Indian Premier League Commissioner LALIT MODI: "My ban or no ban is least if my concerns. More concerned about faith of cricket. Monster Srini and his mafia cannot be allowed to continue"
Eurosport's LIAM HAPPE: "Sweetest part of Morton's win over Celtic? The team are sponsored by 'Millions'. Get it? Sweet? Oh, I give up."
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