As L'il Kim once intoned "It's all about the benjamins."
It used to be taboo for anyone associated with the WTA to discuss appearance fees. Now that that is no longer the case the news out of Malayasia is quite interesting.
Ajitpal Singh reports the following:
AUSTRALIAN Open finalist Justine Henin has decided not to participate in the US$250,000 (RM774,000) Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Malaysian International Open on Feb 22-28.
Justine’s decision comes after the organisers, Carbon Media failed to raise the money for the appearance fee for the Belgian former World No 1.
Maria Kirilenko, the Russian who had earlier confirmed her participation, is now in two minds.
According to a source, the World No 37 is asking for more money to play here and Carbon Media will need to raise the sum if they hope to get her. It is believed the organisers will need to raise between US$100,000 (RM340,000) and US$200,000 for each player.
Carbon Media is not expected to approach any other big names for the tournament.
How do you like them apples? I hope you don't think that WTA tournament officials just started paying appearance fees. If you do I have some prime real estate in Florida you may be interested in.
The other story of interest concerns Jamaican player Dustin Brown. Brown has dual citizenship in both Jamaica and Germany. I first became aware of him when he played a tournament as a German. According to the Jamaica Gleaner
there is a war going on between Brown and Tennis Jamaica. Brown has had a great run and gone from not being a blip on anyone's radar to #144 in the world at the time this article was published.
"Tennis Jamaica only knows me when the Davis Cup comes around, all the other times during the years they don't care how I manage to train and play tournaments. I could have attained a higher ATP ranking much earlier with proper support," Brown told the Gleaner.
Brown's current ranking is a phenomenal achievement as it is no secret that the country has struggled to produce top-class players in the sport of tennis, the last being Richard Russell, who made it to the second round of the Australian Open in 1964.
According to the player, the only way he was able to maintain and eventually improve his ranking was due to the fact that his parents purchased a camper, which enabled the player to travel to various tournaments around Europe.
"To be able to continue my career, my parents bought me a camper in April 2004 in order to travel through Europe and play as many games as possible."
"I would eat and sleep in my camper and I was travelling all over Europe, up and down for seven years to make it in professional tennis, holding the Jamaican flag high week by week, while my parents struggled to pay for the camper.
"I made a name for myself in Europe with my camper, my only chance to make it in tennis. Finally in 2009, I reached 144th in the ATP world ranking as a Jamaican player. I made it."
Brown is now ranked #132 in the world and made the quarterfinals of the South African Tennis Open this year.
Ana Ivanovic reports on her website that she has signed a lifetime contract with Adidas. Keep in mind "lifetime" means length of her career and that the deal probably has incentives related to her ranking built in. I'll just leave that alone.
Idle Chit Chat
For those of you who follow this sort of thing Andy Roddick's wife will be the covergirl for the SI swimsuit issue.
Fernando Verdasco did a photo spread for Calvin Klein recently. I'm not a big fan of Fernando but these pictures sure got my attention.
I'm just sayin'...