TENNIS; Bournemouth seeking prime-time slot
Friday 17 September 1999
For the past four years, the $375,000 (pounds 235,000) Samsung Open has been little more than an afterthought, stuck between the American hard-court season and the year-end European indoor events. This has meant that Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski have either shown ambivalence towards Bourne- mouth's slow, green, clay courts, or have forsaken them.
The Lawn Tennis Association's gamble in buying a second ATP Tour event to complement the Stella Artois Grass-Court Championships at London's Queen's Club in June, fulfilled the glaring need for a British tournament on clay. But the only available date, in September, made the event vulnerable.
Yesterday there was optimism that the date of the tournament may be changed to synchronise with the European clay-court season, which climaxes at the French Open at the end of May. This would be possible if the LTA bought a new tournament date, such as the Czech Open, scheduled for 26 April next year, but reportedly in financial difficulty.
"The LTA will meet with the sponsors and BBC two weeks after the Samsung Open and decide what course to take in the future," said John Feaver, the tournament director. "We are looking at possible options to switch to an earlier date."
Bournemouth gained prominence as a tennis venue when the West Hants Club hosted the British Hard Court Championships, played on red shale. In 1968 the event became part of tennis history when Britain's Mark Cox defeated America's Pancho Gonzales, becoming the first amateur to beat a professional in open competition.
By the early 1980s, the Bournemouth tournament was struggling and was eventually dropped from the calendar. Mounting criticism of the lack of clay courts on which to school young players in groundstroke skills on the game's slowest surface prompted the LTA to build more clay courts and revive the event in 1996.
The prospect of winning extra ranking points and prize money has attracted clay-court specialists, particularly from Spain (Albert Costa won in 1996, Felix Mantilla in '97 and '98).
Sweden's Thomas Enqvist, the top seed this week, beat Alex Lopez-Moron, of Spain, 6-4, 7-5, in the second round yesterday and will play Karim Alami, the Morrocan No 8 seed, in the quarter-finals today.
Latest in Sport
Manny Pacquiao secures $12.5m mansion by giving seller four tickets to 2 May fight with Floyd Mayweather
WWE WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of event
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
Manchester United transfer news: Chris Smalling and Phil Jones face uncertain future with contract renewal talks on hold
New Zealand vs Australia - Cricket World Cup Final preview: Kiwis must bridge a gulf to take world crown
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...