Monday, August 14, 2000

Masters Tennis Notebook

Changes get good reception

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — As the doubles final ended Sunday and the trophies were being handed out, fans began leaving the ATP Tennis Center. Several walked by Bruce Flory, tournament director for the Tennis Masters Series Cincinnati, telling him how much they enjoyed themselves during the week.

        In a year of change — from the name of the tournament to the color of the court — Flory said he heard almost all positive feedback.

        “Everybody either likes or loves the purple courts,” he said. “I think I talked to two people who were lukewarm on them.

        “I think people liked the overall look (of the event). They had a sense that it had an international look.”

        No major facility changes are planned for 2001.

        By the end of the year, the local tournament hopes to know where its future site will be. If it is going to move within the next five years, no major changes are expected at the site in Mason. If a long-term arrangement is worked out in Mason, plans will be going on throughout the year so that “10 minutes after the tournament ends, cranes are moving in,” Flory said.

        The tournament's lease runs through 2005. Cincinnati businessman Carl Lindner owns the property.

        ATTENDANCE UPDATE: A total of 169,829 fans attended the Masters Series event, which started with the Seniors Championship. Records were set Monday afternoon (11,266), Monday night (9,991) and Friday afternoon (10,478).

        The crowds were down from last year by 2,048 for the 11 days — and 1,294 for the main draw. Flory said that rain or the threat of rain Saturday night through Wednesday night probably cost the tournament 3,000 to 5,000 people.

        THE RACE IS ON: Thomas Enqvist, who earned 100 points for winning Sunday, will move up to eighth in the ATP Champions Race when the new standings come out today. Enqvist was 13th coming into the week.

        Runner-up Tim Henman improves to 11th from 17th with 70 points.

        The top 10:

        1. Gustavo Kuerten (572)

        2. Magnus Norman (533)

        3. Pete Sampras (497)

        4. Marat Safin (385)

        5. Andre Agassi (376)

        6. Yevgeny Kafelnikov (370)

        7. Alex Corretja (358)

        8. Enqvist (340)

        9. Lleyton Hewitt (323)

        10. Franco Squillari (289).

        There are two Masters Series events remaining, both indoors: Stuttgart (Oct.30) and Paris (Nov.13).

        LOOKING AHEAD: Tickets for the 2001 Tennis Master Series Cincinnati are on sale. Call (513) 651-0303. The event will be held Aug. 2-12. The main draw starts Aug. 6.

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- Masters Tennis Notebook