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September 10, 1995

John Curry

Mark Miles


LES SNYDER: I am Les Snyder, chairman of the U.S. Open. And serving as the chairman of the Grand Slam Committee because of the event and the meetings being held here in the United States at this time. We are excited by the fact that we are having a joint announcement with the ATP regarding our working together and hopefully moving the game of tennis to new height. The point of all of us, is that we want to cooperate. We want to spend time directing our efforts toward things that will promote the game of tennis and we will move as forward in a unified manner. We are announcing here today, that we have reached agreement on the allocation of points and within the ranking system. We are going to be doing -- Mark and I will be working together in terms of answering any questions or working with you all, but we wanted to do this together and we thought this was an ideal opportunity for us to do it here at this event. Mark, maybe you would want to say a few words on behalf of the ATP.

MARK MILES: Thank you, Les. We haven't had a lot of time to prepare perhaps all the documents that would be useful to you to fully understand this announcement, so maybe I can begin by just highlighting some of the key points of this agreement. First of all, the agreement provides for the recognition and use of the ATP Tour ranking system as the unified system for the promotion of men's professional tennis, for the next few years. Specifically, it is a three-year agreement which contemplates a one-year extension. So that it has the -- it is three years; has the potential to take us through 1999, if the fourth year is agreed to. Under the agreement, ranking points for the Grand Slams and Super 9 ATP events will be the same for all events in each category. And will be determined by the average prize money paid by the tournaments in each category. The agreement will elevate the Grand Slams to twice as many points as the Super 9 events, so long as they offer twice as much prize money. Bonus points won at the events all Grand Slam events for all Grand Slam matches, will be doubled, as well as -- we will also double bonus points for Tour event finals, which are the best of five set format. Those are the principal elements of their agreement. I would only say that it is a great pleasure to sit here today after a long process and to thank the four Grand Slam Chairman for their cooperation of making this possible. We believe at the ATP Tour that we have, for some time, had an excellent relationships with the Grand Slams; look forward to finding other ways beyond the ranking system to work even more closely together for the promotion and growth of men's professional tennis.

PAGE CROSLAND: Are there any questions?

Q. Does this begin from the Ford Australian Open in January?

MARK MILES: Yes, it takes effect January 1996.

Q. Mark, you said that the Grand Slams would have twice as many points if they paid twice as much prize money. Let us say, sake of argument, Essen in the next year comes up and pays 75% of the prize money of a Grand Slam. What happens to the points there?

MARK MILES: Let me explain exactly how it works because that couldn't happen under this agreement. We will take -- the four Grand Slams will make their prize money commitment before the end of this year, or annually before at the end of each year. Their average player compensation will be computed and then all four Grand Slams will receive the same points based on that average. Similarly, all of the Tour Super 9 events, we will calculate the average player compensation for them, and they will all receive the same total. This is subject to future determinations by the respective tournaments and groups, but my personal projection would be that for 1996 it is likely that the example, I think you have in the document in front of you, will be accurate. That is to say that it is likely that the average for the Grand Slams will be about four and a half million dollars and that for the Super 9 it will probably be about two and a quarter million dollars. That happens to be twice as much in terms of dollars and would achieve twice as many points for all four Grand Slams as for the Tour events.

Q. Does that mean that the Grand Slam Committee is going to give up the special ranking of the Grand Slam Cup?

LES SNYDER: We have agreed to give up the pursuit of points for the Grand Slam Cup, but we have -- are in the process of working out agreements with the ATP as to how we might get the ranking, in addition, that we think is appropriate both for the ATP and for the Grand Slam Cup.

Q. Is there any possibility, of down the road, having just one final, last ultimate Championship, combining both events into one?

LES SNYDER: We are all looking forward to running, but we are walking right now, Bud, and we feel very good about the fact that we are walking and have progressed beyond crawling.

Q. Have you reached the stage yet where the Grand Slam Cup results and head-to-heads will be incorporated in your statistics?

MARK MILES: We have decided to incorporate them into -- just so that you and Rino don't have to ask me that question ever again, we are going to do from now on.

BUD COLLINS: Retroactive.


Q. Is there going to be an attempt to stop the activity of tournament choices from professionals at every event that they play, counting -- (inaudible) are you working on that.

MARK MILES: Let me rephrase the question, if I may. This agreement contemplates that the best of 14 basic system would stay in place for the term of the agreement. Having said that, I think enthusiastically, the Grand Slams and certainly the ATP Tour are working together to see if it is possible to develop an annual points race, where aggregated points, over the course of a calendar year, could be used as the basic system. So we have agreed on the allocation of points. We are looking at that option as a possibility in the future for a change in the basic system. If we can't -- don't ultimately feel that we can find away to make that work and satisfy the concerns, then it would continue to be the best of 14 system for this tournament.

Q. Mark, when you go to the Lipton or the Newsweek or some of the other Super 9 tournaments, you hear talks that, gee, some day this -- it will be nice that this tournament become another Grand Slam. Would the ATP, at some point, like to have one of its Super 9 tournaments become a fifth Slam?

MARK MILES: No. The philosophy of the ATP is that the four Grand Slams are the preeminent events in the game and we think the degree to which that is understood is a good thing. We want the game to be simpler for tennis fans to understand and so we have no issue with that status for the Grand Slams. I am glad that this agreement recognizes that. But we have also always believed that it is helpful to the growth and promotion of the game to have more than just four times a year, when tennis fans around the globe, know that something important is going on. So while we are quite satisfied for the Super 9 class to be the second tier, we think it is important that as a tier, those events continue to grow.

Q. John Curry, any movement towards Wimbledon falling in line with the other events and not seeding other than off the ranking list?

JOHN CURRY: My personal opinion or --

Q. Just want to know if it has been discussed.

JOHN CURRY: Always discussed. Variety of views within the committee, but I can't see that changing very quickly.

PAGE CROSLAND: Any other questions?

Q. Again, Les, or perhaps you, Geoff Pollard of the Australian, reaction because they are the ones over the years who probably felt more harm done by the structure of the points than the others.

GEOFF POLLARD: As you obviously -- the Australian Open is probably the most excited about this arrangement. I think it is good for all of us, but to be now recognized in both the women's game and the men's game as being a legitimate Grand Slam along with our colleagues Paris, London, and New York, is fantastic for Australia and I hope you will all come and see our Grand Slam and see the wonderful improvements we have this year, which nearly doubles the site, that we have to recognize that we are making a lot of progress; not just in trying to bridge the prize money gap, the computer points, but you will see the venue is making huge gains too.

Q. Does one anticipate that all Super 9 will continue to equalize their prize money and one not escalate it to such a degree that it forces an inflation of this spiral?

MARK MILES: I think that they are not likely to be all exactly the same, but I think there they will be in a pretty narrow band. The minimum prize money next year for that group will be at $2,250,000, and I don't know -- actually, I do know that the maximum is going to be two and a half million dollars.

Q. Les said that you all had increased from crawling to walking. Next year when we are here, do you think you will be at the stage of jogging and if so, in what areas do you see working together in the future?

MARK MILES: Well, whatever the metaphor, the faster the better, from my perspective. I think one of the great opportunities to improve on the relationships and to work together to promote the game is already taking shape and that is in our mutual efforts to reach out and attract younger fans to the game. I thought a real breakthrough development in that regard, Tennis Australia's patronage financially and full cooperation for the ATP Tour FanFest on site in Melbourne this past January. There are all kinds of examples. If you walk the grounds here at Flushing Meadow, the Smash Tennis under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, before the French Open this year, are examples of what we believe can be accelerated. And we frankly look forward to that kind of work; not only with the Grand Slams, but with Federations around the world.

Q. With these agreements now, will we be seeing ATP Communications Staff at the Grand Slams?

MARK MILES: This agreement doesn't speak to that question. So I can't answer that question.

Q. It would be very useful.

MARK MILES: I didn't plant those questions.

PAGE CROSLAND: Any other questions?

Q. Where do we get our check?

PAGE CROSLAND: Thank you, gentleman.

LES SNYDER: Thank you all for coming.

End of FastScripts....

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