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October 30, 2011

Cengiz Durmus

Francesco Ricci Bitti

Osman Tural

Ayda Uluc


AYDA ULUC: (Through translation.)
Welcome. So we have a very important guest here today, so he's a very special guest of us. He came just for us, and I know him for years. He's my friend, and besides our partnership he's a close friend of us.
So he is the president of ITF, International Tennis Federation. For this year he's elected for another four-year period and there is no opponent for him.
He is also International Olympic Committee member, and he is very, very important for us. He's a very important guest for us. You may have some questions maybe to him, because in Turkey we are maybe arranging just one tournament within WTA, but the most important international organization for us is the ITF organization, both in juniors and in professionals, both in professional tournaments.
So we have done nearly 74 10,000 and 25,000 ITF tournaments in Turkey, and also we have junior tournaments, and we're using all the quotas for Turkey. So for this reason, I think it's fruitful for us to have a conversation with him.
So now, Mr. Osman, would you like to say something related to this issue?
OSMAN TURAL: (Through translation.)
No. The most important thing is related to organization is we can assess ourselves so we can do this. This was very good, but we should hear this assessment from our foreign guests, so for these athletes and our foreign guests should assess.
Our guest here is the head of world tennis here, so he shared very good things for us. Let's not explain this ourselves, but he can tell it from the firsthand. So for this reason Francesco is here. So if you would like to ask any questions, please do not hesitate. Please don't hesitate to ask any questions.
You can ask any questions to him, so this is all I want to say. But of course the most important thing is to hear the good things from the foreign guests. I think it will please you as the Turkish press.
AYDA ULUC: (Through translation.): Mr. Cengiz, our deputy president, would you like to say something?
CENGIZ DURMUS: (Through translation.)
So I think we should give the floor to our guest. We shouldn't take his time. So thank you for being here and being here in our tournament Championships.
FRANCESCO RICCI BITTI: Obviously I would like to thank of these nice words, first of all, Ayda, thanks to Ayda, first of all, because she's the person that I gave confidence for the first time 15 years ago, more or less. I was still European president and she proved to be very successful.
She's the president now of Turkish Tennis Federation that is a growing federation, a lot of potential, I would say, in this country. Perhaps in Europe is top country in terms of potential.
I want to congratulate what you have done, all of you, for this tournament. I would say that is also very, very risky, very difficult to take charge of organization of a top event of the world like these WTA Championships, year-end Championships. That is a top test for all the organization.
And after one day, two days of being here, I would say, Bravo, as we say in Italian, very good. You have been outstanding as organization. The organization is like very experienced organization.
The attendance is very, very important to have a full stadium, and you have been able to fill with the fans of tennis from Turkey this great stadium. It's a great stadium.
And third, the players that I met many of them already yesterday, tonight, this morning, they are very happy.
So these are the three ingredients, so I would say that you pass this test very, very well, and I want to congratulate you. I'm sure you are ready to do even more in the future.
AYDA ULUC: Thank you, Francesco. Maybe we can take some questions if there are any questions.
If you have any questions, we would be glad to have them. Question regarding Davis Cup.

Q. I have a question regarding Davis Cup. Do you plan any format change of Davis Cup in the next few years?
FRANCESCO RICCI BITTI: I think it's very difficult to change something that is very successful. It is very successful. We are very happy.
We are going to have a final with 24,000 people for three days. And do you think it's wise to change something like that?

Q. Maybe.
FRANCESCO RICCI BITTI: Oh, it's your idea. We believe that it's very -- obviously there is a lot of press. That means a lot of discussion. That means that Davis Cup is successful. Otherwise you would not talk. If the events are not successful, you don't have so much discussion.
But I believe that we could discuss about that for one days, but basically, because we don't have the time here, but if you want, we can expend even personally. It's very, very bad to change something that is so successful.
I see Spain as a stadium, as building a stadium in a football stadium with 25,000 people in Seville, and they sold all the tickets in one hour. So that means that they could have sold 70,000.
So do you believe there is many tournaments like that? I think...

Q. I heard some tournament like that the attendance may be up and 50,000 people, tour events. Also, Davis Cup maybe needs some change to format.
FRANCESCO RICCI BITTI: As I said, changing for changing is very bad. Is not only a good principle in sport, also in politics and in many other activity. Changing should be something to follow the evolution.
I believe that in tennis there are some values that are represented by the Grand Slam and the Davis Cup that are strong in itself and represent the reference.
Everything else could copy this kind of activity. And obviously within the format that Davis Cup have, some changes been made. In the last three years, nobody know that we have changed three, four very important matters.
For instance, we change the surface rating to protect the organizer, the visiting nation, is very important. Hawk-Eye was introduced first by ITF, not by the tour, in Hopman Cup. We change many, many things. We change every year something if you want.
But the basic principle, there are four, and I want to repeat: Home and away, annual competition, the order of tennis, this principle cannot change because they are so successful, why we should change this? We could change within this frame.
AYDA ULUC: (Through translation.) Maybe related to the tournament you may ask some questions.

Q. (Through translation.) As a member of IOC, I don't know if you're authorized to give an answer to this question, but as you know, Istanbul is a candidate for 2020 Olympics, and also Rome is also a candidate. So as an Italian, Istanbul and Rome, or from just the perspective of Istanbul, what do you think about the candidateship of Istanbul? And do you think such organizations have an impact on such Olympic candidateships?
FRANCESCO RICCI BITTI: It's very clear. First of all, I can answer very neutrally, even if I'm Italian, because being Italian, I am by law member of the candidacy, because this is the law of the International Olympic Committee. But I am a member of the Olympic Committee as representative of international federation. So I'm very neutral on this.
I believe that Istanbul has a lot of possibility, is a country growing and is a country with a lot of potential in the future. And, as you know, when a member of the Olympic committee judge, this is a very important factor.
But apart from that, going to the competition today, again, I believe this is the best way to have probability. For a country, the best way is to show that you are good in organizing top events.
In tennis, this is a good way to show that you are ready to do the Olympic Games if you are ready to organize great events like the FIFA World Championships, the WTA Championship in tennis, and because the people that fought for the Olympics needs to be confident that puts their confidence in somebody that can do.
So the best I said already to your friend of the television, that the best way to go to the Olympics or to bid Olympics is to show that you are good in organizing great events.
AYDA ULUC: Thank you.

Q. (Through translation.) I would like to ask a simple question: About this tournament, what do you think? If you want to score from 0 to 10, compared to the other season final tournaments in the other countries, can you please compare what was different here? What was good here?
FRANCESCO RICCI BITTI: First of all, I remember many worse than this and very few better. So this surely is at the top. I would say that I would rank 9.5, so that means that you could do something better, but you do very well.
So for the first time, I believe you have done an exceptional job, an outstanding job. I want to congratulate Ayda, the team, and the people. The WTA Championships is one of the top competition.
It is not the most difficult in terms of logistics because the player are only eight but is surely very difficult in terms of promotion and in terms of what you have to prepare, because the level is very high and the demanding the organization.
But as I said, I would say 9.5 is my rating, because you have great organization, very professional organization. Attendance, you deserve already 10. Three things to judge the competition. And third is the satisfaction of the player. That is very high.
So I believe you start very well, is difficult to improve, but try to improve next year. You have two years more, and this is the best way to really improve and optimize your experience, because organizing is a first, then is the solidification, then is the experience.
So you have to create all this value in your people, and I think this is great to have here a championship like the WTA Championship.
AYDA ULUC: Thank you very much, Francesco.
FRANCESCO RICCI BITTI: It was my pleasure.

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