VENUS!! In Auckland!

Ah Elena..hard to believe we've been without you for a year
Wow what a fab week it's been for tennis in New Zealand. I'm doing work with Auckland Tennis and we held our first media conference this week for the 2012 ASB Classic. This tournament is so amazing and I've gone to the final for the past four years, watching Lindsay Davenport, Elena Dementieva, Yanina Wickmayer and Greta Arn win the titles. We get amazing players - this year we had Maria Sharapova (who lost in the QF to Arn), Svetlana Kuznetsova, Sabine Lisicki, Dinara Safina, Peng Shaui and Julia Goerges. Damn good lineup.

So, when I got to learn (a wee bit early) about who was coming to play next year, I FREAKED OUT!

Venus Williams
We shall 'meet' again!
What a dream come true and what a fantastic job by tournament director Richard Palmer who has managed to secure one of the biggest names in sport. Amazing.

Yes, some would say this was a risky signing given Venus awful year of injuries and her recent health issues, but with any player, big name or small, there's always a risk. But that's sport. It will be absolutely amazing to see Venus set foot onto the ASB Tennis Centre courts. 
As Social Media Manager, I'll be there for all the behind the scenes action: meeting the seeds, player function party, media conferences, etc. So, pretty likely I will get to meet Venus (and the other players yet to be named). I have joked that I'll need a sedative and I really will! I got emotional when I was simnply downloading a photo to use for our website (check it out - just amazing to me that of all the players we could have playing in Auckland, we get one of my all-time favourites! It's surreal.

Please follow the ASB Classic on Facebook and Twitter - you can see the fruits of my labour!

The Asian Swing

Ah Asia. So unloved in the tennis world after seven months of action. It's a real shame for the tourneys and players alike that many in the tennis world are, well, burnt out.

As much as I personally want our sport to have more of an offseason to keep players fresh in mind, body and spirit I still feel sad that the tourneys aren't getting the interest and attention they deserve. Even the most tennis addicted (myself included) are finding it hard to be deeply interested in the Bangkoks, Tokyos and Osakas of the world.

And clearly tennis fans in Asia have been the same - much has been said about the lack of crowds at the tennis, particularly in Beijing and Shanghai. I'm not surprised tho - tennis is still growing in China and for them to host two big tourneys is a lot to ask. The tourneys also are not scheduled well - the Chinese National Day holidays of 1 October are one of the biggest holidays in China each year. Most businesses close for a week and employees head to see their families or on a holiday. It's horrible timing, particularly for the Shanghai Masters, which start right after the long holidays. 

It would be great to get honest answers from the ATP and WTA about the dire lack of crowds at these tournaments - it's horrible to see only a few dozen people in the stands. What must the players and sponsors think about the situation?