ATP lawsuit could remake non-team sports

Daniel Kaplan at SportsBusiness Journal is all over the lawsuit filed the organizers of the Hamburg tournament against the ATP. At the core of this debate is whether the ATP is seen as a professional league (which, under U.S. law, is allowed to collude and pool television rights, set schedules, and set terms for athlete participation) or if it’s just a loose group of businesses who all happen to run tennis tournaments. A loss for the ATP could spell trouble for the WTA and other individual sport orgs like the PGA and LPGA tours. Here’s what Kaplan wrote up two weeks ago (on July 7). Subsequent articles to follow.

In 14 days, the ATP World Tour will square off against one of its tournaments in a Delaware courtroom. At stake: Not just the future of men’s tennis, but perhaps the governance of all non-team sports.

Barring a settlement, the antitrust case could determine just how far a rules-making body can go in setting tournament schedules, compelling players to compete in certain events, establishing a ranking system and awarding sanctions. These functions are claimed not only by the ATP, which is being sued to undo a series of schedule changes, but also by other entities ranging from the PGA Tour to Olympic federations.

“An ATP loss would set a dangerous precedent for professional sports governing bodies … that make all sorts of decisions that primarily affect the players regarding format of play, where they are going to play their tournaments, the number of events in which they will participate [and] how the players are going to be ranked,” said Rick Karcher, director of the Center for Law and Sports at the Florida Coastal School of Law. He also has written about the case as a contributor to the Web site sportslawblog.com.

“If any third party can challenge these decisions on antitrust grounds,’ Karcher said, “it puts these organizations at risk.” (Read on…)

Trophy Watch: the last of the pre-French clay contests

(This post is timestamped for last week, but showing up this week, so those consuming via RSS might get thrown off. I apologize for any trouble…)

Both the men and the women played out the last of their French Open warmups in Germany and Italy this week.

Rafa Nadal cemented his spot in the third Sunday of the French Open by winning the Masters Series Hamburg over Roger Federer. Rafa prevented Roger from defending his title with the 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 win. This puts Rafa at three clay titles for 2008 — the most of anyone in the top 10.

On the women’s side, Jelena Jankovic successfully defended a title for the first time in her career, taking out Alize Cornet 6-2, 6-2 at the Italian Open in Rome.

(photos by Getty Images)

fashion: safin and haas in old-school white, nike’s mcenroe shirt, and dressing like a dandy

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You can even sew your own underwear: Patterns From the Past, a blog specializing in historical dress pattern research, devotes a whole post to tennis wear of yore. Some kits even have instructions for making visors and skivvies.

safin-haas-hamburg.jpgHamburg, revisited: Have you seen these vid clips of Tommy Haas and Marat Safin in old-school tennis whites, playing in an exhibition for the Hamburg Masters? (It commemorated the tourney turning 100 last year.) Photos here, and video here and here.

Dressing like a dandy: Feeling blah about your wardrobe? Take inspiration from these three members of London’s fashion avant-garde, as interviewed by the Times. It’s a good read.

spring2007-nike-mcenroe.jpgNike does McEnroe: Nike releases this psychedelic John McEnroe Icon T-Shirt (left) for Summer 2007. It’s on cotton with a glossy ink screen print. ($30; Midwest Sports. BUY IT HERE.)

rome’s fashion highlights: davydenko and serena

Although many players were rockin’ the pink and purple this week (including Patty Schnyder and Svetlana Kuznetsova), it was Serena Williams who ran away with it, combining both colors in her Nike outfit. She even mixed it up with different accessories: a cap one day, and different colored headbands for the other two matches:

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(What do you think of Serena’s ensemble? Tell us.)

Meanwhile, Russian Nikolay Davydenko continues his love affair with clothier Airness, who has showered him with variations on his current uniform. We saw four versions in three color ways just this week — red, orange, and baby blue. Which means he had more costume changes than Serena:

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a weak week for trophies

So we’re a third done with the year and still no tourney has come close to matching what Masters Series Paris handed out to Davydenko last year. Who’s going to step up to the plate?

ATP: World No. 1 Roger Federer had to fight tooth and nail to overcome Clay No. 1 Rafael Nadal this week in Hamburg, and all he got was this lousy doorstop:

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(By the way, what is going on with Federer’s suspender shirt? I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Wimbledon. Nike needs to bring it.)

And the Bryan brothers get some plates in their win over Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett:

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Seniors: The Champions Cup folks are pretty much stuck on the ho-hum crystal vase. The tour handed it out again to Pete Sampras, this time in his win over Todd Martin in Athens:

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That’s Todd, above, speaking to the crowd.

SEWTA: Masters Series Rome, this week hosting the ladies, awarded Jelena Jankovic her third title for 2007 — a tour best — after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1. Jelena received a trophy similar to the one Nadal picked up the week prior.

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Prince Albert of Monaco presented the trophy to Jelena.

(photos via Yahoo! Tennis, except for Jelena’s photo with the Masters Series Rome Cup, which is via the tournament website)