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Old 08-31-2005, 02:17 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Default Player accessibility

Posted by jaap deboeck
Q: Will star players be somewhat visible during the 2 weeks per year that NYC gets to see a top 100 pro player, or will they wave to the fans briefly on their way off ythe court disappearing into the void that the pros inhabit? Mr. VP, you can't have a sport prosper where pros are rarely encountered in the flesh by fans in major sports centers. Think about it!

A: As a fan of other sports, I hear you JAAP DEBONECK about wanting more accessibility to the players, especially our marquee attractions. With the introduction of the player initiated STARS Program in the mid-1990's, the ATP has attempted to bring the players together with fans and sponsors more than ever was done in the past (and as far as
Jimmy or Mac talking about all they gave back to the game while they were one who was there, they are either suffering from selective amnesia or revisionist history syndrome). Yes, Jimmy energized the crowd while on the court but it wasn't until he had a piece of the action on the senior tour that he became a "corporate animal" in addition to a "competitive animal". Along with the Tennis Channel and others, the ATP is also breaking new ground by producing behind the scenes DVDs like "Tennis Masters Cup, Uncovered" and "Facing Federer" and our players are much more comfortable than ever before sharing their thoughts minutes before televised matches. Plus, none of the other sports I follow allow me to mingle around the grounds as close to and even bump into world-class athletes as tennis does, even at the ATP Masters Series level. Admittedly, given the magnitude, hectic ness and pressures of the majors like in Flushing, this potential interaction on the grounds is limited but pick any other spot, even the Masters Series, and rubbing elbows with a top tennis professional is not uncommon, as I am sure other TW regulars can attest and have even documented in this forum.
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