April 20, 2002
FRANCIS TRUCHI: The tournament is an important event this year. The International Tennis Club of Monaco decided to organize an IC week. On my right-hand side is Mr. Alain Manigley, General Secretary of the Club and of the Monegasque Tennis Federation. On my left is Mr. Marco Gilardelli, who played the tournament a few years ago here in the final draw. Therefore, he's a very good player. He's now a member of the Steering Committee of the International Club, which includes 34 countries in the world and has a fair play and friendly tradition. We participated in the last IC week in 1999, when we were celebrating the 75th year of the Great Britain IC. On this occasion, the managers - and among them Marco - came to see us with Alain to say, "You need to do something in Monaco because it's a beautiful place." Right away, we said, "Okay," and we are proud to have accepted this mission. Twenty four nations, therefore, are going to come. The furthest country is Australia; the closest countries are Italy and France. Monaco will participate. We have two countries on the waiting list and 18 nations who are coming for the ladies' cup called Mercelis. I will now give the floor to Alain Manigley, who will explain what an IC week is.
ALAIN MANIGLEY: The International Club is a creation from the English who did many things in sport. In 1924 Wallis Mayeur, a journalist, and former Prime Minister in Great Britain Waltor Balfour decided to have the champions meet to "fight" in a fair play spirit after the disastrous wars we had. Since then the movement developed, and the former Davis Cup players were pleased to participate in these competitions. Each year every club in every country of the world, in fact, composed of an ILTC, meet bilaterally or by three. But it is a major event. It's an IC week which lasts four or five days and includes the greatest number of countries possible. It's quite important because among the 18 events which took place since the first one in 1948, we can find teams including winners belonging to the history of tennis. I will quote - Franck Sedgeman, Budge Patty, who is with us today, and also in 1961 Rod Laver, Neale Fraser, who I believe is also here, as a winner of the competition. I can also quote the name of Aaron Krickstein who participated on the United States team in 1982 who won the IC week in Florida, as well as Tom Okker. Up to today I haven't seen the composition of all the teams, but there are rumors saying that with the Australian team will come McNamara.
MARCO GILARDELLI: You forgot Borg.
ALAIN MANIGLEY: Yes. He won for Sweden.
We are happy to welcome all those teams in a very special format. Every nation is composed of two players more than 45 years old and two players less than 45 years old. Therefore, they play four singles, and in each one of their own categories they create a doubles team.
Q. There are two doubles teams?
ALAIN MANIGLEY: Yes - one less than 45 years old, and one more than 45 years old. Everybody tries to win the Windemill Trophy which was created in Holland.
MARCO GILARDELLI: In 1948.
Q. Do women play also?
ALAIN MANIGLEY: Yes, twice. One more than 40 years old, and one less than 40 years old. And the doubles team is made up of both players.
MARCO GILARDELLI: For Italy there will be Laura Golarsa concerning the Italian veterans. There will also be Giani Ocleppo. And today I will speak with Ricardo Piatti because we are trying to have junior Italian champions and one player who is still competing.
Q. A junior?
MARCO GILARDELLI: Yes. In the IC we try to invite young players because they have to get to know the spirit of the International Club. France and England have been doing that for 20 years. Each time there is a match between France and England - it happens twice a year - a junior is always playing.
Q. For 20 years?
MARCO GILARDELLI: For France and England, yes. They played more than 150 matches, which means two matches every year in May and October.
ALAIN MANIGLEY: This will take place from the 11th to the 16th of June this year.
MARCO GILARDELLI: It's just one week after the French Open, the week during the Dusseldorf tournament.
Q. And for France?
FRANCIS TRUCHI: We don't know yet who will be playing on each team. For Australia we talked about famous players. This year it's a French junior player who won the juniors Grand Slam and who lost in the finals against a young Australian. Tob Reid will be present in the tournament and will play for Australia. That tells you the quality of tennis you will have during those five days. We also scheduled many parties. We have to thank the Monegasque State, particularly the Finances and Economy Minister, who, with the Ministry of Tourism, are supporting us in this operation because the budget is very high. With 24 nations for men - let's say 23 because we (Monaco) are at home and we, therefore, are not going to be in a hotel - multiplied by five people for each nation, plus 18 nations for women multiplied by three, this means many people. There will be accommodations in the Hotel Meridien, a four-star luxury hotel. The parties will take place almost every evening. The Town Hall of Monaco will welcome us one of those evenings. After, we will go to one of the best places of the Principality, the Grimaldi Forum. It's interesting for people who are coming for the first time or who are coming back to Monaco to let them discover those beautiful places which have been claimed from the sea, with beautiful rooms. This is part of the rediscovery of the Principality - at least for the older ones - and part of a first discovery for the new ones in this environment you know well. There will be less stands because we need more courts, and we even asked our members to be patient during those days because they will have problems finding a court to play on. The teachers will be off. I would like to indicate that this tradition will be directed by Jacques Dorfman, former referee of the French Open, assisted by someone who is retired in this region, Dr. Christian Casado, assistant referee in this competition.
ALAIN MANIGLEY: Among the 253 people who will cohabitate during this week in the Country Club.
Q. Is it the first time in Monaco that we have women's competitions?
MARCO GILARDELLI: We already had two competitions with women; this one is the third one. The first one was in Belgium, the second one in Wimbledon.
Q. But in Monaco?
ALAIN MANIGLEY: It's the first IC week rendezvous. There will be men and women together.
FRANCIS TRUCHI: There will be a sponsor. When we were accepted by the Council in 1979, our sponsors were France and they supported us. Since 1979 we organized several competitions here with the idea of doing exchanges, of being friendly, of meeting together around a table for a good dinner or a good drink. But the competitions such as we are going to organize them will be the first ones, because organizing an IC week with a number of nations as we talked about is an honor for us. We were very sensitive to the request of President Barry Weatherill. For us, it was extra motivation to try to do the best possible in any case, as well as for the tournament. Because we are always trying to organize whatever event with all our heart to be at the top level and in order to help the participants to feel as happy as possible.
Q. It's a good idea.
FRANCIS TRUCHI: Thank you. Do you have any questions?
Q. The Mercelis Cup was named after Christiane Mercelis?
MARCO GILARDELLI: Yes, and she will be there. The competition was played for the first time in Belgium, and Christiane this time will give the Cup.
Q. I will be very happy to see her again.
FRANCIS TRUCHI: So, therefore, it's from the 11th to the 16th of June. You can broadcast the information. Because with Alain, this fair play and friendly atmosphere is very close to our hearts.
ALAIN MANIGLEY: In these events almost no one ever protests for a call. This is the state of mind as it has been designed for this competition and revealed by the English, if we talk about history. It's beautiful to keep that flame alive. And, most of all, this flame is carried by people who have represented their own country and often had great wins. We have to keep that flame alive.
Q. The winners will receive a trophy?
ALAIN MANIGLEY: Yes, the Windemill Trophy.
MARCO GILARDELLI: It is silver, and it was offered by the King of Holland.
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.