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October 29, 1998

Zeljko Franulovic

Klaus Lackner

Ion Tiriac

Stuttgart, Germany

ION TIRIAC: In a nutshell, we are very happy to inform you that from 1999 Kitzbuhel is going to a higher category of tournament in the Championship Series in the double week by buying the license from New Haven. From 1990 Kitzbuhel developed not only on the quality but also on the quantity of building the stadium, having infrastructure as well as last year, having the new two No. 1 and No. 2 courts. Mainly what we want to say is that now, for so many years we fought for this position, we have it. The tournament is going to stay more or less in the summer exactly how it was until even to 1999. 2000 probably might change something, but not too much. For the time being, they decided to keep the 48 draw. . Singles; 24, doubles, and they are very proud and positive that they could achieve this status and on the other hand not being false modesty, they think that they deserve it and they were elected, as you know, the best tournament in that series by the players for the last year. As far as I am concerned, I don't have to make another speech. The fact that I believe that there are going to be a lot of changes in tennis in the next two years, that is a reality. I mean, it doesn't matter how much noise is around or so on. It is going to go ahead. I am sure that you know all the underground and overground deals and negotiations and everything else and I believe that whatever happens - this is my personal opinion and I am going to push for it - that the ATP has a role to play in this game. I think the time has arrived, to make what we had to make on the very high level. I think that the Grand Slams are realizing that we have to push the sport in order to fight other sports and other entertainments, not to fight between ourselves as well as ITF and everybody else. To eliminate any other speculation mainly with unity within the tournaments particularly on the high level. Right now, we have possibilities as well as - we think and we feel - at least I feel that whatever happens, the technicalities and technique of the game should stay with the technical people. I mean, you sell advertising and television rights. You cannot sell the game. That is what the future is going to reserve us.

Z. FRANULOVIC: Thank you, Ion. On behalf of the ATP Tour, I am very happy to be able to congratulate our first members, partners and friends from Kitzbuhel on their great achievement, on their upgrading of Generali Open status from World Series to Championship Series. I can only say that it is a well deserved promotion. It is a well deserved moving forward. It is a well deserved upgrade of their event because since many years Kitzbuhel never stopped moving forward. They never stopped growing. They never stopped supporting the players, supporting the game and it was a matter of years or months that they got the category they deserve. But having said that, it doesn't mean that it becomes automatic. There are many good quality events in the Championship category in the world that were there before and I am glad that a door was opened a little bit this summer with the New Haven cancelling and retiring their membership and that Kitzbuhel was ready to step in on that little space that was open and immediately realize this was the opportunity, this was the right time for them to step in and to make this investment for the future. That doesn't mean that they haven't been making investments, but that what they have done in the past with improvement, great improvements of their facility, center court, stadiums, players areas, press areas, so on and so on, it brought them to this point where they are able to react immediately. The proof what I am saying in the past of their great contributions to the quality of their event, is that in 1997 they were elected as World Series event of the year in a very, very tough competition with more than 50 events and we have them under this for '98 for again in a very close -- with some other events to win another award on facility improvements. So it is very clear that sooner or later the event in Kitzbuhel was going to get to this status and again, as I said before, I'd like to congratulate them and wish them all the best in the future.

KLAUS LACKNER: Thank you, for your words and for the congratulations. I think Kitzbuhel has done everything to try to be sure to have also tournaments in the future and, therefore, also the good relationship with the ATP and our partner has been to this point that we can sit now here in Stuttgart and tell the press what are our future faults. Thank you very much.

Q. There are certain elements in the game that keep saying that you cannot get the big players to go back to play after Wimbledon. Stuttgart here in summer and your tournament Kitzbuhel seem to refute this. How do you explain the success on clay court event after Wimbledon when people say that that is not possible?

Z. FRANULOVIC: I can just respond quickly, then I will pass it to Ion. I mentioned shortly before, if you paid attention, that Kitzbuhel was a big supporter of the players and the game in general, so, Kitzbuhel always did something special for the players and I can be their spokesman because I used to play Kitzbuhel and go there for many years, so in supporting the players, the players give you back. I think that is one of the answers. Maybe Ion has some more.

ION TIRIAC: Richard, without driving circles around, there are Grand Slams and they respect the Grand Slams. They are tournaments like this one who by the way, I never saw anywhere in the Grand Slams or I am not going to see probably in the future another tournament that we can afford or present the top six players in the world on the same day, on the same court. But then again when you have a tournament like in Kitzbuhel where you sold out year after year the seats and the quality and the environment and so on, this is a category of a very good event. Now, am I going to bullshit you and tell you that I am a Grand Slam or anything else, no. It is a great tournament. And after Wimbledon, there are some players that say, no, I am not going to play, I go to vacation or not, but that can be here by the building of the calendar. It can be made so interesting that the players have to play. We don't have any marriage here. The players have to play this tournament so they have to play Bercy. So, in the summer they cannot take holidays forever and they have to play something. One of these something is going to be Kitzbuhel. As you know, it is a big fight between the players, how many clay, how many this, how many that, yes. Considering US Open and everything else, the idea is not new for years and years I say I move Kitzbuhel, though they would never agree probably and make it European hard court championship just before the United States - make sense. But then you have one less in clay. So this balance has to be kept. And who is the player - who is the best player? What is the total global player? It's a player that plays all over. In the future, particularly in my opinion, with the moving of the last event of the year, cannot call it Masters, cannot call it World Cup, which particular event is going to exist, World Championship with so many Grand Slams, so many Super whatever you call, those are the tournaments the grand World Championship. Then the last tournament of the year is going to play an important role, particularly if we finally have the guts, the intelligence and we go and move it around the globe and even on different surfaces then everybody is going to be more interested.

Q. (inaudible)

ION TIRIAC: Once again, I believe that you are going to have in 2000 a completely different picture of calendar tournaments, tennis and everything else. Of course a balance have to be and, of course, you have to think about the reality. And that is the reason that probably you might see in 2000, not the end of July, but even one week earlier, whatever is going to make sense is the reason you have a status. That is the reason the clay tournaments in Europe are played whenever they have to be played, though you have two double weeks in clay. Those are the biggest double weeks in clay right now. That is the Mercedes Cup and the Generali. So those are going to be placed probably back-to-back to make sense for a player to play back-to-back two tournaments. In order, if it is intelligence, Stuttgart and then Kitzbuhel because Kitzbuhel being so high and with the systems that you can do clay courts almost as fast as hard courts right now, and with the fast ball, it is as good as a preparation for US Open as it is playing somewhere in the United States with the 150% humidity and 55 degrees and dying after two days. So I don't have a problem with the date.

End of FastScripts….

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