BlackRock Tour of Champions

Mondays With Bob Greene: We might even choose to boycott the new tour

STARS

ATP

Igor Kunitsyn beat Marat Safin 7-6 (6) 6-7 (4) 6-3 to win the ATP Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Russia

David Nalbandian beat Robin Soderling 6-2 5-7 6-3 to win the Stockholm Open in Stockholm, Sweden

Philipp Petzschner upset Gael Monfils 6-4 6-4 to win the Bank Austria Tennis Trophy in Vienna, Austria

WTA TOUR

Jelena Jankovic won her third straight title, the Kremlin Cup, by beating Vera Zvonareva 6-2 6-4 in Moscow, Russia

SENIORS

Goran Ivanisevic beat Henri Leconte 7-6 (0) 6-3 to win the BlackRock Tour of Champions event in Budapest, Hungary

SAYINGS

“This is a perfect ending for me to win the doubles title in Stockholm in my last match in Sweden, with my family and friends, old coaches, watching me. The only person who was missing today was my son, Max, who is back in Monte Carlo at school.” – Jonas Bjorkman, who is retiring this year.

“I was hoping to win a couple of games and that’s it. I still don’t know how I was able to outplay Marat, but I guess it happens. I still don’t understand how I won.” – Igor Kunitsyn, who won the ATP Kremlin Cup by upsetting Marat Safin in the final.

“It’s amazing to have beaten my first Top 10 player (Stanislas Wawrinka), my first semifinal straight away, my first final, my first title, and also playing in the doubles final. There were so many new and amazing things that happened to me this week.” – Philipp Petzschner, after winning the Bank Austria Tennis Trophy, a tournament in which he originally planned to play only doubles.

“I’ve worked really hard in the last three weeks, winning three titles in a row. It’s not easy.” – Jelena Jankovic, after winning the Kremlin Cup.

“It seems she had an answer for everything I tried.” – Vera Zvonareva, after losing to Jelena Jankovic in the Kremlin Cup final.

“I played great all week, almost perfect every match here. I lost a set today but that’s part of the game.” – David Nalbandian, after winning the Stockholm Open.

“I’m at a good moment in my career. I think this is the best I have played in three years. I’m excited about the indoor season because I don’t have any points to defend and I think I can do very well in the next three tournaments I play: Madrid, Lyon and Paris.” – Robin Soderling, who lost the Stockholm Open final.

“If they (WTA) don’t listen to what we have to say we might even choose to boycott the new tour.” Dinara Safina, about the new rules for the women’s tour.

“It would be great to have another duel with Federer. If I play him it means I will be number one at the end of the year because I will have reached the final. I can only meet him there.” – Rafael Nadal, about playing Roger Federer at the Madrid Masters.

“I totally came here because I love winning. I have never won this title, but I just had a day where I could not control my game. She played well.” – Venus Williams, after her first-round loss to Flavia Pennetta at the Kremlin Cup.

“Sydney is a happy hunting ground for me. Some good hard matches in Sydney will certainly help me in my preparation for the 2009 Australian Open.” – Leyton Hewitt, who has been recuperating from a hip operation, saying he will return to tennis at the Sydney tournament.

“I am looking forward to renewing some great rivalries, particularly with Jim Courier, and getting my competitive juices flowing again at The Stanford Championships.” – Boris Becker, who will compete in a senior tournament in Dallas, Texas, this month.

STEAMED

Dina Safina says the top players could boycott next year’s WTA Tour if their questions about the changes to the schedule are left unanswered. Under the new rules, the top players will have to play designated tournaments while lower-ranked players will be able to play any tournament they choose. Under the so-called Road Map 2010, there will be 20 Premiere tournaments with players committed to play in at least 10. Any player qualifying for the top four tournaments – Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing – must play that event. The top-ranked players must also play in at least four of five other events – Canada, Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati and Tokyo. The WTA has committed to having at least seven of the world’s top 10 players at each of those events.

SURPRISE

When Germany’s Philipp Petzschner arrived in Vienna, he was planning on playing only in doubles. But he qualified for the main singles draw, then kept winning until he came away with the Bank Austria Tennis Trophy title. Petzschner, who have never made it past the quarterfinals in an ATP tournament before Vienna, beat top-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka, former world number one Carlos Moya and 2004 Bank Austria champion Feliciano Lopez before upsetting fourth-seeded Gael Monfils 6-4 6-4 in the title match.

SITE SWITCH?

Politicians in Sydney want to build a multi-million dollar tennis facility and take the Australian Open away from Melbourne. The Victorian capital has the rights to stage the year’s first Grand Slam tournament until 2016. According to news reports, the New South Wales state government, however, wants to build a tennis complex in Glebe, which is close to the Sydney city center, and try to get the Australian Open to move after its contract with Melbourne expires.

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STEADY WINNER

She’s number one in the world and continuing her winning ways. Since reaching her first Grand Slam tournament final at the US Open, Jelena Jankovic has won three straight titles in as many weeks. It wasn’t easy, as Jankovic was down a set and a break before beating Vera Dushevina, then rallied from 3-1 down in both sets to beat Flavia Pennetta. In the semifinals, she lost the first set at love to defending champion Elena Dementieva before winning 0-6 6-1 6-0. She easily beat Vera Zvonareva in the final, 6-2 6-4. It has been three years since a woman has won three tournaments in three weeks, the last to achieve the feat being Nicole Vaidisova.

SWEDE ENDING

Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman played the final singles match of his career at the Stockholm Open, losing to “lucky loser” Juan Monaco in the opening round. At Wimbledon in June, Bjorkman announced his retirement plans, saying “I feel it is time to begin the next chapter of my life.” Making his 16th appearance in Stockholm, where he has won the singles twice, Bjorkman went away a champion. He teamed with Kevin Ullyett to win the doubles, beating fellow Swedes Johan Brunstrom and Michael Ryderstedt 6-1 6-3. His victory in his 1,002nd career doubles match was his 700th match win and 53rd doubles title. He reached a career high singles ranking of number four in 1997, and in 2006 reached the semifinals at Wimbledon, losing to eventual champion Roger Federer.

SIDELINED

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina pulled out of his second-round match at the Vienna tournament with a toe injury. Del Potro, who won his first four ATP titles in a row in July and August, has been struggling with a broken nail on his right foot since the US Open.

SACRE SUCRE

The singles winners at the Australian Open in January will receive about USD $1.15 million each, based on current exchange rates. Tournament officials announced the prize money for the 2009 tournament winners will be increased 18 percent from this year’s event. The year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open will offer total prize money of USD $15.6 million. The upcoming tournament will feature the prospect of Roger Federer winning his 14th major title to equal the record of Pete Sampras. Federer lost in the semifinals at Melbourne in 2008 to eventual winner Novak Djokovic. Federer then lost to Rafael Nadal in the finals of both Roland Garros and Wimbledon before winning the US Open. Maria Sharapova is the defending Australian Open women’s champion.

SEEKING COURT REDRESS

The German Tennis Federation is planning to return to court and appeal the ATP downgrading of the men’s tournament in Hamburg. In August, a jury in Wilmington, Delaware, sided with the ATP’s planned tournament restructuring, a move that moved the Hamburg clay court event from May to July and eliminated it as a key tune-up for Roland Garros. The German federation said on its web site that it aims to maintain the Hamburg tournament’s status and ask for unspecified damages. The federation did not specify which court would hear the appeal or when it would be filed.

STEAMED

David Nalbandian is upset that the Davis Cup final will be played in Mar del Plata, Argentina, instead of his hometown of Cordoba. The Argentine Tennis Association wanted to play the final against Spain next month on a fast indoor court in Cordoba. But that site was not approved by the International Tennis Federation., which selected instead Mar del Plata. Both venues are smaller than the 12,000-seat capacity the ITF has said it wanted. But the ITF said its selection was made because there were “many factors to consider,” including the ability to expand seating at Mar del Plata. “It’s a very strange decision,” Nalbandian said. “The players and captain and the federation want to play in Cordoba. I don’t know why they chose the other place.”

SIGNED UP

Three of the world’s top women – Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams – have agreed to play a new World Team Challenge in Hong Kong next year as a warm-up event for the Australian Open. The tournament will feature four teams representing Europe, Russia, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. Each team will consist of three players competing in singles and doubles. Jankovic will lead Team Europe, Williams the Americas, Sharapova Team Russia and Sania Mirza of India the Asia-Pacific squad.

SYDNEY DATE

Leyton Hewitt will make the Sydney International tournament in January his first tournament since undergoing hip surgery. Hewitt underwent the operation after the Beijing Olympics and says his recovery is going well. Once ranked number one in the world, Hewitt has won the Sydney title four times, most recently in 2005.

SENIOR BORIS

Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker will make his Outback Champions Series debut at The Stanford Championships, to be played this month in Dallas, Texas. It will be the German’s first tournament in the United States since he competed in the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Florida, in 1999. Others scheduled to play in the seniors event will be Jim Courier, Wayne Ferreira, Mikael Pernfors, Mark Philippoussis, Todd Martin, Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias.

SET FOR THE BAR

Max Mirnyi is now ready for another court. The former world number one doubles player has received his diploma from Belarus State University, majoring in International Law with an emphasis on the international protection of children’s rights. The 31-year-old native of Minsk has been a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador and has taken part in the various national and international children’s programs in the framework of the ATP. He had been working on his law degree for the past five years.

SONY ERICSSON CHAMPIONS

Cara Black and Liezel Huber have clinched the top spot for 2008 in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Doubles Rankings. The pair won eight doubles titles this year, including the US Open, the duo’s fourth career Grand Slam tournament title. It is the second straight season that Black and Huber will finish as the joint top-ranked players in doubles. The two are only the second doubles team to finish a season as joint top-ranked players, and only the fourth doubles pair to jointly hold the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour number one doubles ranking since its inception in 1984. Black is a native of Zimbabwe, while Huber was born in South Africa but has become a naturalized American citizen.

SAFIN CONFUSED

When Marat Safin won his 400th career match, he didn’t know it. Safin broke Noam Okum in the 10th game of the final set, earning a 7-6 (5) 3-6 6-4 first-round victory at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The ATP website, however, said Safin mistakenly thought it was 6-5 and went to his chair to towel off during what he thought was a changeover. Chair umpire Carlos Bernardes leaned over and informed Safin the match was over. Safin ran his career match win total to 402 before losing in the final to Igor Kunitsyn 7-6 (6) 6-7 (4) 6-3.

STOPPED AT THE GATE

The ATP is out to stop 15 professional gamblers from attending tournaments. Gerard Tsobanian, tournament director of the Madrid Masters, said the men’s tennis tour sent the tournament a list of names and credit card numbers of 15 bettors who they want excluded. The 15 were apparently found placing bets on site to exploit a 20-second delay in scores being received by bookmakers. Tsobanian said it was “a very international list” and that some of the gamblers had tried to get into tournaments by posing as journalists.

SPECIAL DOUBLES

Anna Kournikova will compete in special mixed doubles matches at The Stanford Championships in Dallas, Texas, later this month. The former top ten player who still appears on magazine covers, will join members of the 2008 Outback Champions Series tennis circuit on the campus of Southern Methodist University for the tournament. Two of the players from the men’s tournament along with another female player will play compete in the mixed doubles.

SAD DAY

Hank Jungle, who coached Tim Gullikson and Johan Kriek, among others, has died at his Fort Myers, Florida, home. Jungle, who retired after serving 20 years in the military, met Gullikson when he was in the Air Force and living in Dayton, Ohio. A native of New Orleans, Jungle played tennis at Tulane University. He had been tennis director at Cypress Lake Country Club in recent years and had given lessons the day before he died.

SENIOR SURPRISE

Swedes Anders Jarryd and Mikael Pernfors complete the eight-player field who will compete in the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Championships in Surprise, Arizona, next month. Others in the field include feisty fan favorite John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Jimmy Arias, Wayne Ferreira, Todd Martin and Mark Philippoussis. Surprise has signed a three-year agreement with the Outback Champions Series.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Moscow (women): Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik 6-4 6-4

Moscow (men): Sergiy Stakhovsky and Potito Starace beat Stephen Huss and Ross Hutchins 7-6 (4) 2-6 10-6 (match tiebreak)

Stockholm: Jonas Bjorkman and Kevin Ullyet beat Johan Brunstrom and Michael Ryderstedt 6-1 6-3

Vienna: Max Mirnyi and Andy Ram beat Philipp Petzschner and Alexander Peya 6-1 7-5

SITES TO SURF

Madrid: www.mutuamad-mastersmadrid.com

Zurich: www.zurichopen.net

Ortisei: www.itfvalgardena.com

Budapest: www.tennisclassics.hu/

Linz: www.generali-ladies.at

Luxembourg: www.fortis-championships.lu

Seoul: www.kortennis.co.kr

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$2,450,000 Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid, Madrid, Spain, hard

$125,000 Tashkent, Uzbekistan

WTA TOUR

$600,000 Zurich Open, Zurich, Switzerland

$100,000 Internazionali Tennis Val Gardena, Ortisei, Italy, carpet

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$1,000,000 Davidoff Swiss Indoors, Basel, Switzerland, carpet

$1,000,000 St. Petersburg Open, St. Petersburg, Russia, hard

$800,000 Grand Prix de Tennis De Lyon, Lyon, France, carpet

$125,000 Samsung Securities Cup Challenger, Seoul, Korea, hard

WTA TOUR

$600,000 Generali Ladies Linz, Linz, Austria, hard

$225,000 FORTIS Championships Luxembourg

$100,000 Internationaux Feminins de la Vienne, Poitiers, France, hard

$100,000 2008 OEC Taipei Ladies Open, Taipei, Taiwan, carpet

SENIORS

Stanford Championships, Outback Champions, Dallas, Texas

Borg scares Goran in first ever match; Cash eclipses McEnroe in thriller

BORG SCARES GORAN IN FIRST EVER MATCH; CASH ECLIPSES MCENROE IN THRILLER

Bjorn Borg gave away 15 years to Goran Ivanisevic, but the great Swede had the Croatian worried throughout their first ever clash at the BlackRock Tour of Champions event in Budapest.

Ivanisevic eventually prevailed 7-6(5), 6-3, but not before Borg raced to a 4-1 first set lead. It was all that the Croatian could do to concentrate on the ball with such a legend on the opposite side of the net for the first time.

“First and foremost it was an honour to be able to play Bjorn because we have never played before,” said Ivanisevic, who currently tops the South African Airways Rankings.

“It was a tough match, very serious. I want to win every match badly and especially playing Bjorn. You don’t play Bjorn every day. I’ve watched him so many times on tv so to play him for the first time officially is a great honour. It’s great that I can say that I played him during my career.”

Borg was happy with his performance, and not hugely surprised to lose his early lead.

“Goran started to play really well,” said Borg, who will face John McEnroe on Friday.

Borg vs. McEnroe –

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“We had a long game when he broke me and he started to play better. In the beginning he started a bit slow and then he picked up his game and we had a really good first set. I had a few chances but in general it was a good match.”

Pat Cash was another man to stage an impressive comeback on day one. The Australian lost the first set 6-3 against McEnroe, who continued the form of two weeks earlier when he won the Luxembourg title. But Cash hung in, serving-and-volleying throughout the two-hour match, and ultimately edged the second set on a tie-break. In the Champions’ Tie-Break, the match was still there for McEnroe to win. He forced a 7-5 lead before losing the final five points of the match to an inspired Cash.

“I’m really pleased to have won that but really the difference was just a few points here and there,” said Cash.

“In the first set John was just serving too well and there was no way I could beat him. But then he dropped his level a bit and I picked mine up. It was a real struggle but I’m glad to have come through.”

McEnroe was predictably crestfallen.

“I gave my best but unfortunately I didn’t win the last point. He just played the big points better, but it was a good contest,” he said.

Elsewhere, Sergi Bruguera overcame Guillermo Vilas 6-3, 6-4 and Henri Leconte defeated Thomas Muster, also 6-3, 6-4.

Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.  After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday’s final.

Last week, Richard Krajicek beat Goran Ivanisevic in a thrilling final to win his first ever BlackRock Tour of Champions Title at the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven.

In the final event of the year, Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg will take on McEnroe and Ivanisevic in an eight-man field at the BlackRock Masters Tennis in London, December 2-7.

RESULTS – THURSDAY OCTOBER 9

Sergi Bruguera d. Guillermo Vilas 6-3, 6-4

Henri Leconte d. Thomas Muster 6-3, 6-4

Goran Ivanisevic d. Bjorn Borg 7-6(5), 6-3

Pat Cash d. John McEnroe 3-6, 7-6(6), 10-7 (Champions’ Tie-Break)

LATEST STANDINGS

GROUP A

Matches won/lost (sets)

Goran Ivanisevic                                                                  1-0 (2-0)

Pat Cash                                                                               1-0 (2-1)

John McEnroe                                                      0-1 (1-2)

Bjorn Borg                                                                             0-1 (0-2).

GROUP B

Sergi Bruguera                                                                    1-0 (2-0)

Henri Leconte                                                                      1-0 (2-0)

Thomas Muster                                                            0-1 (0-2)

Guillermo Vilas                                                                    0-1 (0-2)

SCHEDULE

Friday, 10th October, 2008

At 14:30

Henri Leconte vs. Guillermo Vilas

Thomas Muster vs. Sergi Bruguera

At 17:30

John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg

Goran Ivanisevic vs. Pat Cash

BLACKROCK TOUR OF CHAMPIONS POINTS ALLOCATION

Winner –                400 points

Finalist –                250 points

3rd place –            200 points

4th place –            125 points

5/6th place –  80 points

7/8th place –          60 points

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS 2008 TOUR OF CHAMPIONS RANKINGS (after eleven events)

POS.       PLAYER                                                PTS

1              Goran Ivanisevic             1220

2              Marcelo Rios                                        1130

3              Michael Stich                   980

4              Henri Leconte                      890

5              Sergi Bruguera                    810

6        Cedric Pioline                            740

7              Thomas Muster                    655

8              Anders Jarryd                        525

9        John McEnroe                     480

10=         Marc-Kevin Goellner (WC)                455

10=         Fernando Meligeni (WC)   455

12           Pat Cash                                                420

13=    Richard Krajicek                        400

13=         Patrick Rafter                         400

13=         Pete Sampras                       400

13=   Stefan Edberg                      400

17           Mikael Pernfors                    330

18           Chris Wilkinson (WC)          325

19=         Jaime Oncins (WC)                              200

19=    Johny Goudenbour             200

21           Bjorn Borg                                              185

22=   Guy Forget                           125

22=         Jeremy Bates (WC)                             125

22=         Albert Costa                                          125

22=         Michael Chang                    125

26=  Carl Uwe Steeb                           120

26= Guillermo Vilas                                            120

28=  Mats Wilander                        80

28=  Joao Cunha e Silva (WC)          80

28=         Magnus Larsson                   80

28=         Andrei Cherkasov                                80

28= Mansour Bahrami                  80

28= Paul Haarhuis                              80

34 Yevgeny Kafelnikov                      60

34=         Jaime Yzaga                                         60

34=         Alladin Karagoz (WC)          60

34=         Andrei Chesnokov                               60

WC denotes Wild Card.

The BlackRock Tour of Champions Calendar 2008

Belfast, Northern Ireland – February 21-24 (Tennis Legends)

Champion: Anders Jarryd; Runner-up: Mikael Pernfors

Barcelona, Spain – April 24-27 (Champions Cup ’08)

Champion: Marcelo Rios; Runner-up: Michael Stich

Rome, Italy – May 10-11

Champion: Thomas Muster; Runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic

Hamburg, Germany – May 14-17 (BlackRock Tennis Classic)

Champion: Michael Stich; Runner-up: Marc-Kevin Goellner

Sao Paulo, Brazil – June 19-22 (Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brasil)

Champion: Pete Sampras; Runner-up: Marcelo Rios

Istanbul, Turkey – July 17-20

Champion: Goran Ivanisevic; Runner-up: Fernando Meligeni

Graz, Austria – July 29-August 2 (s Tennis Masters)

Champion: Patrick Rafter; Runner-up: Michael Stich

Algarve, Portugal – August 5-8 (Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD)

Champion: Marcelo Rios ; Runner-up : Goran Ivanisevic

Paris, France – September 18-21 (5e Trophée Jean-Luc Lagardère)

Champion: Stefan Edberg; Runner-up: Sergi Bruguera

Luxembourg, Luxembourg – September 25-28

Champion: John McEnroe; Runner-up: Henri Leconte

Eindhoven, Netherlands – October 2-5 (AFAS Tennis Classics)

Champion: Richard Krajicek; Runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic

Budapest, Hungary – October 9-12

Macao, China – November 20 (Special Event)

London, UK – December 2-7 (BlackRock Masters Tennis)

OTHER INFO

About BlackRock

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At June 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.428 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,700 employees in 19 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.

South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.

For the Latest News, Features and Updates from the BlackRock Tour of Champions: www.blackrocktourofchampions.com

and for further information:

www.blackrockinternational.com/tourofchampions

Fever-pitch in Budapest as Borg/McEnroe arrive

As the BlackRock Tour of Champions rolls into Budapest this week for the city’s first ever Tennis Classics event, Bjorn Borg will get the chance to avenge his  defeat to long-time rival John McEnroe, who stole victory from under his nose when the pair met in Luxembourg only two weeks ago.

When the pair attended a press conference with Group A rivals Goran Ivanisevic, Pat Cash and the rest of the eight-man field in Budapest on Wednesday, 130 journalists and 30 photographers greeted them.

Borg/McEnroe rivalry –

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Staged in a lavish banquet hall with meals served from a silver platter, it was quite a spectacle. Anticipation ahead of the country’s first ever sight of McEnroe and Borg is at fever-pitch. The tournament has been organised by promoter and former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion Balazs Taroczy, and no stone has been left unturned. Taroczy and his team have promoted the event throughout the year and everywhere you go around the city of Budapest the Tennis Classics event is being talked about.

McEnroe and Borg have again been drawn into the same Group this week in Budapest so  on Friday evening the duo are scheduled to meet for the latest installment of the most famous rivalry in tennis history. At the first Vivium Victory Challenge in Luxembourg two weeks ago, Borg led by a set and 3-0 before a fired-up McEnroe came back to clinch the match in a Champions’ Tie-Break.

McEnroe and Borg are joined in Group A by former Wimbledon Champions Cash and Ivanisevic. On Sunday, Ivanisevic leap-frogged Marcelo Rios to take over the top spot in the South African Airways Rankings after collecting 250 points for finishing runner-up  in the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven last week. The Croatian will play Borg in his first match on Thursday, while Cash is due to meet McEnroe with whom he has enjoyed a fierce rivalry on the BlackRock Tour of Champions. The last time the two men met was at the 2007 BlackRock Masters Tennis in London where the American turned around a break deficit to edge an extremely closely fought encounter 7-5, 6-2.

Group B is comprised of former French Open champions Thomas Muster, Sergi Bruguera,  Guillermo Vilas and finalist Henri Leconte. Vilas will play his first match of the tournament on Thursday against Bruguera, while Muster and Leconte will also clash at the 4500 capacity Budapest Sportarena.

Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.  After all round-robin matches are complete, the top two players in each group will meet in Sunday’s final.

Last week, Richard Krajicek beat Goran Ivanisevic in a thrilling final to win his first ever BlackRock Tour of Champions Title at the AFAS Classics in Eindhoven.

In the final event of the year, Pete Sampras and Stefan Edberg will take on McEnroe and Ivanisevic in an eight-man field at the BlackRock Masters Tennis in London, December 2-7.

Mondays With Bob Greene: Doubles is like Marriage

STARS

Jelena Jankovic beat Nadia Petrova 6-4 6-3 to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany

Tomas Berdych won the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships men’s singles, defeating Juan Martin del Potro 6-1 6-4 in Tokyo, Japan

Caroline Wozniacki beat Kala Kanepi 6-2 3-6 6-1 to win the women’s singles at the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo, Japan

Sorana Cirstea defeated Sabine Lisicki 2-6 6-4 7-6 (4) to capture the Tashkent Open in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Dmitry Tursunov beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-6 (6) 1-6 6-4 to win the Open de Moselle in Metz, France

Teimuraz Gabashvili won the Ethias Trophy by beating Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4 6-4 in Mons, Belgium

Richard Krajicek beat Goran Ivanisevic 7-6 7-5 to win the AFAS Tennis Classics in Eindhoven, Netherlands

SAYINGS

“There are some days you wake up and you know it’s not going to be your day.” – Nadia Petrova, after losing to Jelena Jankovic in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final.

“Doubles is like marriage. It has to be good from the first day.” – Mischa Zverev, who teamed with Mikhail Youzhny to win the doubles at the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.

“She is having a great year and I knew it would be hard to beat her. But the game went according to plan.” – Venus Williams, after beating Dinara Safina 6-4 6-2.

“It feels great to be back at number one, but my goal is to finish the year as number one. I’m playing better and better, I am improving. I don’t feel any extra pressure.” – Jelena Jankovic, on her return to the top spot in the WTA Tour rankings.

“I feel fortunate to be healthy again, but I want to remain at the top of the game for many more years to come and go after the number one ranking again.” – Roger Federer, after pulling out of the Stockholm Open.

“I need to take a break now to get it back to 100 percent, which is why I have to regretfully take this decision and withdraw. I have played a lot this year and my body needs to recover.” – Serena Williams, after withdrawing from the Kremlin Cup with an ankle injury.

“After I lost the first set I checked the clock and saw it was only 20 minutes, so I told myself I had to make it at least an hour. Of course I’m very happy about my win today, and for both of my wins over the Williams sisters this year.” – Li Na, after beating Serena William 0-6 6-1 6-4 and knocking the US Open champion out of the number one ranking.

“I think I have to come to Germany more often.” – Victoria Azarenka, who has reached the semifinals in both tournaments she has played in Germany this year.

“People want to see me because I was once the number one in the world and won Grand Slam titles. People want to see the guys who they idolized. Now, as we get older, we’re really thankful that people want to see us. It’s really wonderful, and we’re going to try to give our best back.” – Yevgeny Kafelnikov, playing his first competitive tennis match in five years, the BlackRock Tour of Champions event in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

“I have played one match with her here and I have won. Not bad.” – Goran Ivanisevic, saying his 5-year-old daughter Amber, who was watching her father play for the first time, is his lucky charm.

“I still cannot fully realize that I’ve won. In the middle of the match I thought my chances of winning were about 40 percent.” – Ksenia Palkina, a teenager from Kyrgystan ranked 203rd in the world, after she upset second-seeded Olga Govortsova in the first round of the Tashkent Open.

“Our success in these junior team events against the world’s best competition is a good indication of where our players stand amongst their peers at this state. Of course there is a lot of work to be done for these kids to become world-class professionals. But, if these results are any indication, the future is very promising.” – Patrick McEnroe, on the United States sweep of the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup competitions.

STEPPING UP

In the game of musical chairs that is called the WTA Tour rankings, Jelena Jankovic is once again in the top spot. The Serb moved up to number one when Serena Williams was upset by China’s Li Na. Jankovic held the top ranking for one week in August. Since Justine Henin retired in May, four players have been number one: Williams, Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova. Williams held the top spot for four weeks after defeating Jankovic in the US Open final. Overall, Jankovic has won more matches than any other player on tour this year.

SURPRISE SEMIFINALIST

Adrian Mannarino had a ball in Metz, France. Ranked 181st in the world, the French qualifier didn’t lose a set in his run to the semifinals at the Open de Moselle. Then he ran into Paul-Henri Matheu, who barely escaped Mannarino 7-6 (8) 7-6 (1). The 20-year-old Mannarino had not won an ATP-level match before he upset sixth-seeded Andreas Seppi in the opening round at Metz.

STUMBLING BLOCKS

China’s top two players are making a lot of noise on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour this year. At Wimbledon, Zheng Jie became the first Chinese player to beat a reigning world number one when she shocked Ana Ivanovic on her way to the semifinals. At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, last week, Li Na matched that feat, knocking Serena Williams out of the tournament and the number one ranking, 0-6 6-1 6-4. It was Li’s 11th career win over a top 10 player but first over a number one.

SELA GROUNDED

An El Al plane carrying Israeli tennis star Dudi Sela had to make an emergency landing in Beijing when a bird flew into one of its engines. Sela was returning to Israel after losing in a tournament in Tokyo. While the plane was heading back to Beijing, Sela called his brother Ofer in Israel to let him know what was happening. El Al sent a replacement jet to fly the 150 passengers to Israel.

SERENA HURT

An ankle injury has forced Serena Williams to withdraw from the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The American withdrew two days after being upset by China’s Li Na in Stuttgart, Germany. The winner of four tournaments this year, Williams said her left ankle has been bothering her since the US Open last month, which she won.

SO DELIGHTED

Yevgeny Kafelnikov admits he is delighted to be back playing competitively after a five-year layoff. “It was quite exciting,” the Russian said after losing to Michael Chang in a BlackRock Tour of Champions match at Eindhoven, Netherlands. “I haven’t had this feeling in a long time.” Once he decided to play again, Kafelnikov worked hard to lose the weight he had gained after retiring. Then he asked to play in the AFAS Classics tournament in Eindhoven. He came away winless in his return, losing also to Paul Haarhuis and Goran Ivanisevic.

SUPER WIN

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became only the eighth player in the last 20 yeas to win his first ATP title by defeating a top-five opponent in the final, knocking off third-ranked Novak Djokovic to capture the Thailand Open in Bangkok. Greg Sharko, senior editor of ATPTennis.com, says Tsonga is the first to accomplish the feat since fellow Frenchman Michael Llorda did it four years ago when he beat Guillermo Coria, who was number three in the world at the time. In 1988, Mikael Pernfors won his first title in Los Angeles, beating fourth-ranked Andre Agassi. Jim Courier’s first title, in 1989 in Basel, Switzerland, came when he beat third-ranked Stefan Edberg. Others who beat top five players to capture their first tournament titles were Omar Camporese in 1991, Alberta Costa and Filip Dewulf in 1995, and Hyung-Taik Lee in 2003.

SET FOR KOOYONG

Two Swiss players – US Open champion Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka – will warm up for the 2009 Australian Open by playing at the invitational Kooyong Classic. Weakened by mononucleosis, Federer missed the tournament in 2008. Also scheduled to play in the event are Marat Safin, Fernando Gonzalez, Marcos Baghdatis, James Blake and Ernests Gulbis. The eighth spot for the tournament, which guarantees each player three matches on the same surface as that used at the Australian Open, will be named later.

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SKIPPING STOCKHOLM

Saying he needs a break, Roger Federer will not play in the upcoming Stockholm Open. Federer has not played since winning his fifth consecutive US Open last month. “(This) has been a tough year for me as I was always playing catch-up after being diagnosed with mononucleosis at the beginning of the year,” said Federer, who lost his number one ranking to Rafael Nadal in August after holding it for a record 237 consecutive weeks.

SWITCHING SPORTS?

Paradorn Srichaphan is thinking about switching sports, perhaps becoming a race car driver. Beset by injury for almost two years, Thailand’s best player has been busy promoting motorsports in his country. “I’ve been really bored and it would be huge challenge to move from one sport to the next,” Srichaphan said. “I’m involved in a racing team and my sponsors are interested in having me racing for them, but only when I retire from tennis. I still plan to return to the tour.”

SLIPPERY COURT

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has penalized Croatia for playing Davis Cup matches against Brazil on a court that was considered too fast. As part of the Davis Cup Committee’s ruling, Croatia will lose 2,000 points and pay an undisclosed fine. Marina Mihelic, head of the Croatian Tennis Federation, said she was “surprised and annoyed” by the decision. The ITF said Croatia violated the federation’s “court pace rating rule,” which assesses the speed of surfaces other than grass and clay. It’s the first such case involving the rule, which was implemented this year. The ITF rejected Brazil’s appeal to have Croatia disqualified, the victory awarded to Brazil and financial compensation paid to Brazil.

SWEEP

The United States Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup teams captured the 2008 World Finals without dropping a single match. The international team competition for players age 16 and under held in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, continued the American domination of junior events. The American boys’ and girls’ squads won the World Junior Tennis Championships for 14-and-under in August in Prostejoy, Czech Republic. It is the first time the same country has won all four titles in the same year. The American Junior Fed Cup team beat Colombia, Chinese Taipei, Serbia, Hungary and Great Britain. The American Junior Davis Cup squad beat Latvia, Chinese Taipei, Sweden, India and Argentina.

STENNING LAUDED

Mark L. Stenning has been awarded the prestigious Chairman’s Award by the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. The Chairman’s Award recognizes outstanding service by a Hall of Fame board member. Stenning joined the ITHOF in 1980 and currently holds the position of chief executive officer. He also currently serves on the Davis Cup and Fed Cup Committees of the United States Tennis Association.

SPONSOR

TENNIS.com is the new title sponsor of the Zurich Open, a stop on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The Tennis Company, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, calls itself the world’s leading website for tennis fans. Aside from TENNIS.com, the company publishes Tennis Magazine and Smash Magazine. The Tennis Company is also a managing partner in the Indian Springs, California, tournament. Among others, The Tennis Company’s partners include Chris Evert, Billie Jean King and Pete Sampras.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Stuttgart: Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Patty Schnyder beat Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs 6-2 6-4

Tokyo (men): Mikhail Youzhny and Mischa Zverev beat Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes 6-3 6-4

Tokyo (women): Jill Craybus and Marina Erakovic beat Ayumi Morita and Aiko Nakamura 4-6 7-5 10-6 (match tiebreak)

Tashkent: Ioana Raluca Olaru and Olga Savchuk beat Nina Bratchikova and Kathrin Woerle 5-7 7-5 10-7 (match tiebreak)

Metz: Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra beat Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 5-7 6-3 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Mons: Michal Mertinak and Lovro Zovko beat Yves Allegro and Horia Tecau 7-5 6-3

SITES TO SURF

Vienna: www.ba-ca-tennistrophy.at

Stockholm: www.stockholmopen.se

Moscow: www.kremlincup.ru

Madrid: www.mutuamad-mastersmadrid.com

Zurich: www.zurichopen.net

Ortisei: www.itfvalgardena.com

Budapest: www.tennisclassics.hu/

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$1,000,000 ATP Kremlin Cup, Moscow, Russia, carpet

$800,000 IF Stockholm Open, Stockholm, Sweden, hard

$755,000 Bank Austria TennisTrophy, Vienna, Austria, hard

WTA TOUR

$1,340,000 Kremlin Cup, Moscow, Russia, carpet

SENIORS

BlackRock Tour of Champions, Budapest, Hungary, carpet

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$2,450,000 Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid, Madrid, Spain, hard

$125,000 Tashkent, Uzbekistan

WTA TOUR

$600,000 Zurich Open, Zurich, Switzerland

$100,000 Internazionali Tennis Val Gardena, Ortisei, Italy, carpet

Edberg hits back to seize maiden BlackRock title

Stefan Edberg completed a miraculous comeback against Sergi Bruguera on Sunday to claim his first BlackRock Tour of Champions title at the Jean-Luc Lagardere Trophy in Paris. Edberg, was in trouble while down by a set and 4-2 , but he turned the match around in impressive fashion to triumph 3-6, 7-5, 10-5 (Champions Tie Break) in an hour and 20 minutes.

In tennis things can change pretty quickly, said Edberg. You just have to believe that you can do it one way or another. You need one or two points to get you going and make you feel like youre in with a chance and thats what he gave me, a few free points.

I thought I played very well today, he added. I found it a little bit difficult in the beginning because Sergi was playing well and with a lot of spin so I was having trouble getting the timing.  But I managed to get back in the match and I actually played very well in the end, which was necessary because Sergi is such a great clay court player.

The match was a tale of two halves. In the early stages Edberg looked overwhelmed by the vicious topspin of the Spaniard, making uncharacteristic errors and hitting few winners. Bruguera succeeded where previous opponents failed,  sending one passing shot after another past the bewildered Swede. But, after losing the first set and going a break down in the second to trail 2-4, Edberg suddenly began to turn the tide. After recuperating the break of serve to level the set at 4-4, and with the full weight of the crowds vocal support behind him, Edberg started to find his range. He went on to clinch the second set with a winning backhand volley and forced the decider that such a high quality match deserved. Edberg carried his momentum into the Champions Tie Break and at 9-5 down and facing 4 match points a dejected Bruguera dumped his second serve into the net to hand the match and the title to his opponent.

After such a successful run in Paris, Edberg said he would like to play more events on the BlackRock Tour of Champions in the coming year.

If I can make some kind of arrangement with my family so that we can travel a bit together then theres a good chance Ill be back in Paris next year as the defending champion, he said.

For now, Edberg, will now turn his attention to the BlackRock Masters Tennis  at the Royal Albert Hall in London, where he is due to play alongside fellow Wimbledon Champions Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Goran Ivanisevic.

Im really looking forward to playing in the BlackRock Masters Tennis in London, said Edberg. London is my second home because I lived there for a long time. Its a great event at the Albert Hall and theres usually lots of good matches there so that should be a really good week.

In third/fourth place play-off, Cedric Pioline defeated fellow Frenchman and Tournament Director of the Jean-Luc Lagardere Trophy, Guy Forget 7-5, 4-6, 10-5.

The Tour will now move on to Luxembourg for the first Vivium Victory Challenge (September 25-28), and then the AFAS Tennis Classics in Eindhoven (October 2-5). Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe will renew their rivalry in Luxembourg (for a taster, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUa2ltLC0hw).  In Eindhoven, former World No.1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang, and the 1996 Wimbledon finalist Malivai Washington will make the BlackRock Tour of Champions debuts.

RESULTS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2008
Cedric Pioline d. Guy Forget 7-5, 4-6, 10-5 (Champions Tie Break)
Stefan Edberg d. Sergi Bruguera 3-6, 7-5, 10-5 (Champions Tie Break)
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS
GROUP A
Matches won/lost (sets)
Stefan Edberg             3-0 (6-0)
Guy Forget        2-1 (4-2)
Henri Leconte              1-2 (2-4)
Thomas Muster            0-3 (0-6)
GROUP B
Matches won/lost (sets)
Sergi Bruguera 3-0 (6-0)
Cedric Pioline 2-1 (4-3)
Mats Wilander           1-2 (2-4)
Guillaume Raoux       0-2 (1-6)
BLACKROCK TOUR OF CHAMPIONS POINTS ALLOCATION
Winner   400 points
Finalist   250 points
3rd place   200 points
4th place   125 points
5/6th place   80 points
7/8th place   60 points
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS 2008 TOUR OF CHAMPIONS RANKINGS (after nine events)
POS. PLAYER PTS
1 Marcelo Rios 1130
2 Goran Ivanisevic          970
3 Michael Stich 900
4      Cedric Pioline          660
5 Thomas Muster         655
6 Sergi Bruguera         610
7 Henri Leconte          580
8 Anders Jarryd         525
9= Marc-Kevin Goellner (WC) 455
9= Fernando Meligeni (WC) 455
11 Pat Cash         420
12= Patrick Rafter         400
12= Pete Sampras         400
12=   Stefan Edberg                   400
15 Mikael Pernfors         330
16 Chris Wilkinson (WC) 325
17 Jaime Oncins (WC) 200
18=   Guy Forget                        125
18= Jeremy Bates (WC) 125
18= Albert Costa 125
21=  Mats Wilander                    80
21=    Joao Cunha e Silva (WC) 80
21= Magnus Larsson 80
21= John McEnroe         80
21= Andrei Cherkasov 80
26= Bjorn Borg 60
26= Carl Uwe Steeb         60
26= Jaime Yzaga 60
26= Alladin Karagoz (WC) 60
26= Andrei Chesnokov 60
26= Guillermo Vilas 60
WC denotes Wild Card.

The BlackRock Tour of Champions Calendar 2008
Belfast, Northern Ireland – February 21-24 (Tennis Legends)
Champion: Anders Jarryd; Runner-up: Mikael Pernfors
Barcelona, Spain – April 24-27 (Champions Cup ’08)
Champion: Marcelo Rios; Runner-up: Michael Stich
Rome, Italy – May 10-11
Champion: Thomas Muster; Runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic
Hamburg, Germany – May 14-17 (BlackRock Tennis Classic)
Champion: Michael Stich; Runner-up: Marc-Kevin Goellner
Sao Paulo, Brazil – June 19-22 (Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brasil)
Champion: Pete Sampras; Runner-up: Marcelo Rios
Istanbul, Turkey – July 17-20
Champion: Goran Ivanisevic; Runner-up: Fernando Meligeni
Graz, Austria – July 29-August 2 (s Tennis Masters)
Champion: Patrick Rafter; Runner-up: Michael Stich
Algarve, Portugal – August 5-8 (Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD)
Champion: Marcelo Rios ; Runner-up : Goran Ivanisevic
Paris, France – September 18-21 (5e Trophe Jean-Luc Lagardre)
Champion: Marcelo Rios ; Runner-up : Goran Ivanisevic
Luxembourg, Luxembourg – September 25-28
Eindhoven, Netherlands – October 2-5 (AFAS Tennis Classics)
Budapest, Hungary – October 9-12
Frankfurt, Germany – November 13-16 (klarmobil.de Champions Trophy)
Macao, China – November 20 (Special Event)
London, UK – December 2-7 (BlackRock Masters Tennis)
OTHER INFO
About BlackRock
BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At June 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.428 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,700 employees in 19 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.
South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.
For the Latest News, Features and Updates from the BlackRock Tour of Champions: www.blackrocktourofchampions.com
and for further information:

Edberg rolls on in Paris

Stefan Edbergs impressive return to professional tennis continued today as he notched up another straight sets win, this time 6-4, 7-6 against Tournament Director Guy Forget at the Trophee Jean-Luc Lagardere in Paris.
Despite the scoreline, Edberg was made to work hard for victory in only his second BlackRock Tour of Champions match. A stroke of luck for the Swede separated the two men in the first set, with Edberg clinching the decisive break of serve courtesy of a net cord. The second set was closer still with both players delighting the crowd with deft volleys and scintillating passing shots. Edberg deserved the victory though, fittingly clinching the match in the tie-break with a drop volley.
After the match, Edberg admitted that he had been pushed all the way by Forget.

I had to work really hard today he said. It was just a few points that made the difference. I thought Guy played really well and I had to hit a lot of good shots to be able to win.

I got a little bit tight out there, I have to admit that. Although I feel that my fitness it good, I havent played a lot of matches so its just getting used to that. Well see tomorrow how fit I really am, but for the moment I feel good.

On Saturday, Edberg will take on Henri Leconte who earlier put in an impressive performance to beat an out-of-sorts Thomas Muster 6-3, 6-4. The winner of that match is likely to progress to Sundays final.

Im really looking forward to that match, said Edberg. Henri is a great player and a great showman on the court so for me its always a pleasure to play him. He does so much for tennis and the spectators really love to watch him play so its just nice to be on the same court as him again. There is only one Henri Leconte!

In Group B, Sergi Bruguera continued his seven-match unbeaten run in Paris, proving he is still the man to beat on clay. The Spaniard raced past Mats Wilander in just under an hour for the loss of just 6 games and will now meet Guillaume Raoux on Saturday in the final round of matches in Group B.

In the last match of the day, Raoux, a replacement for the injured Mikael Pernfors, put in a valiant effort against Cedric Pioline before eventually losing 6-7, 6-4, 10-8 (Champions Tie Break) in a match which lasted over 2 hours and finished in the last moments of daylight.  Pernfors watched the days play on crutches after injuring his achilles tendon against Mats Wilander yesterday. Two years ago, Pernfors ruptured his achilles tendon, but doctors are hopeful that the injury is less serious this time.

Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.

All the players in each group will play each other over the first three days, and the players finishing top of each group will meet each other in the final. Those finishing second in each group will contest the 3rd/4th place play-off.

Last month in the Algarve (Portugal) Marcelo Rios won the Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD to overtake Michael Stich as No.1 player in the South African Airways Champions Tour Rankings.

After Paris, the Tour will move on to Luxembourg for the first Vivium Victory Challenge (September 25-28), and then the AFAS Tennis Classics in Eindhoven (October 2-5). Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe will renew their rivalry in Luxembourg (for a taster, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUa2ltLC0hw). In Eindhoven, former World No.1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang, and the 1996 Wimbledon finalist Malivai Washington will make the BlackRock Tour of Champions debuts.

tel: +44 7509023344
RESULTS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2008
GROUP A
Henri Leconte d. Thomas Muster 6-3, 6-4
Stefan Edberg d. Guy Forget 6-4, 7-6(3)
GROUP B
Sergi Bruguera d. Mats Wilander 6-4, 6-2
Cedric Pioline d. Guillaume Raoux 6-7(6), 6-4, 10-8 (Champions Tie-Break)
LATEST GROUP STANDINGS
GROUP A
Matches won/lost (sets)
Stefan Edberg             2-0 (4-0)
Guy Forget        1-1 (2-2)
Henri Leconte              1-1 (2-2)
Thomas Muster            0-2 (0-4)
GROUP B
Matches won/lost (sets)
Sergi Bruguera 2-0 (4-0)
Mats Wilander           1-1 (2-2)
Cedric Pioline 1-1 (2-3)
Guillaume Raoux       0-2 (0-4)
SCHEDULE SATURDAY 20 SEPTEMBER
13:00                                                   Sergi Bruguera/Guillaume Raoux
Not before 2:30pm                              Stefan Edberg / Henri Leconte
Followed by                                         Cedric Pioline/ Mats Wilander
Followed by                                         Guy Forget/Thomas Muster
BLACKROCK TOUR OF CHAMPIONS POINTS ALLOCATION
Winner   400 points
Finalist   250 points
3rd place   200 points
4th place   125 points
5/6th place   80 points
7/8th place   60 points
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS 2008 TOUR OF CHAMPIONS RANKINGS (after seven events)
POS. PLAYER PTS
1 Marcelo Rios 1130
2 Goran Ivanisevic          970
3 Michael Stich 900
4 Thomas Muster         595
5 Anders Jarryd         525
6 Henri Leconte          500
7 Cedric Pioline          460
8= Marc-Kevin Goellner (WC) 455
8= Fernando Meligeni (WC) 455
10 Pat Cash         420
11= Patrick Rafter         400
11= Pete Sampras         400
13 Sergi Bruguera         360
14 Mikael Pernfors         330
15= Chris Wilkinson (WC) 325
16= Jaime Oncins (WC) 200
17= Jeremy Bates (WC) 125
17= Albert Costa 125
19    Joao Cunha e Silva (WC) 80
20= Magnus Larsson 80
20= John McEnroe         80
20= Andrei Cherkasov 80
23= Bjorn Borg 60
23= Carl Uwe Steeb         60
23= Jaime Yzaga 60
23= Alladin Karagoz (WC) 60
23= Andrei Chesnokov 60
23= Guillermo Vilas 60
WC denotes Wild Card.
The BlackRock Tour of Champions Calendar 2008
Belfast, Northern Ireland – February 21-24 (Tennis Legends)
Champion: Anders Jarryd; Runner-up: Mikael Pernfors
Barcelona, Spain – April 24-27 (Champions Cup ’08)
Champion: Marcelo Rios; Runner-up: Michael Stich
Rome, Italy – May 10-11
Champion: Thomas Muster; Runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic
Hamburg, Germany – May 14-17 (BlackRock Tennis Classic)
Champion: Michael Stich; Runner-up: Marc-Kevin Goellner
Sao Paulo, Brazil – June 19-22 (Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brasil)
Champion: Pete Sampras; Runner-up: Marcelo Rios
Istanbul, Turkey – July 17-20
Champion: Goran Ivanisevic; Runner-up: Fernando Meligeni
Graz, Austria – July 29-August 2 (s Tennis Masters)
Champion: Patrick Rafter; Runner-up: Michael Stich
Algarve, Portugal – August 5-8 (Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD)
Champion: Marcelo Rios ; Runner-up : Goran Ivanisevic
Paris, France – September 18-21 (5e Trophe Jean-Luc Lagardre)
Luxembourg, Luxembourg – September 25-28
Eindhoven, Netherlands – October 2-5 (AFAS Tennis Classics)
Budapest, Hungary – October 9-12
Frankfurt, Germany – November 13-16 (klarmobil.de Champions Trophy)
Macao, China – November 20 (Special Event)
London, UK – December 2-7 (BlackRock Masters Tennis)
OTHER INFO
About BlackRock
BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At June 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.428 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,700 employees in 19 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.
South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.
For the Latest News, Features and Updates from the BlackRock Tour of Champions: www.blackrocktourofchampions.com
and for further information:

Edberg continues Muster dominance on BlackRock debut in Paris

BlackRock Tour of Champions debutant Stefan Edberg made an impressive start to his champions tennis career today as he swept past Thomas Muster 6-2, 6-1 in just 59 minutes.

Edberg, who held a 10-0 record against Muster during their ATP careers, continued where he left off against the Austrian 12 years ago. From the outset, Edberg appeared to be in control of the match, breaking early to secure a 3-1 lead in the first set. The second set was an equally comfortable affair as Muster dumped a forehand in the net to lose his serve and go 3-0 down. From then on the result never looked in doubt as the Swede overwhelmed his opponent with winners on both wings from every corner of the court.

After the match, Edberg was pleased with his performance.

“I actually felt really good on the court today,” he said. “I’ve prepared quite a bit over the last 3 or 4 months because I wanted to enjoy my tennis here in Paris. It’s one of the best feelings to have when you strike the ball well and today I did that.”

The 42-year-old Edberg seemed to abandon the classic serve and volley style which won him two Wimbledon titles and looked at home battling from the baseline against former French Open Champion Muster.

“I felt really comfortable on the clay out there today,” said Edberg. “It’s a lot easier on your body and it gives you a little bit of extra time on the ball and to prepare yourself for the shot.”

“Paris is a great city and the atmosphere here is really good. Playing against these guys and seeing all the old faces is a bit like turning the clock back. It really is nice to be back.”

Elsewhere, Mikael Pernfors was forced to retire against Mats Wilander after rupturing his achilles tendon at 1-1 in the second set.

The Swede had looked to be turning the match around after dropping the first set to his compatriot, Wilander, who accompanied his injured opponent to hospital after the match. Pernfors, who had stepped in at short notice to replace the injured Bjorn Borg in the Paris draw, will now be replaced in Group B by 38-year-old Frenchman Guillaume Raoux.

Earlier in the day, two-time defending Champion Sergi Bruguera edged past a below par Cedric Pioline, 7-6, 6-2 and Guy Forget, who doubles up as the tournament director in Paris, beat countryman Henri Leconte  7-5, 7-5.

Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions’ Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.

All the players in each group will play each other over the first three days, and the players finishing top of each group will meet each other in the final. Those finishing second in each group will contest the 3rd/4th place play-off.

Last month in the Algarve (Portugal) Marcelo Rios won the Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD to overtake Michael Stich as No.1 player in the South African Airways Champions Tour Rankings.

After Paris, the Tour will move on to Luxembourg for the first Vivium Victory Challenge (September 25-28), and then the AFAS Tennis Classics in Eindhoven (October 2-5). Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe will renew their rivalry in Luxembourg (for a taster, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUa2ltLC0hw). In Eindhoven, former World No.1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang, and the 1996 Wimbledon finalist Malivai Washington will make the BlackRock Tour of Champions debuts.

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RESULTS – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2008

GROUP A

Stefan Edberg d. Thomas Muster 6-2, 6-1

Guy Forget d. Henri Leconte 7-5, 7-5

GROUP B

Sergi Bruguera d. Cedric Pioline 7-6(4), 6-2

Mats Wilander d. Mikael Pernfors 6-4, 1-1 ret.

LATEST GROUP STANDINGS

GROUP A

Matches won/lost (sets)

Stefan Edberg                       1-0 (2-0)

Guy Forget                             1-0 (2-0)

Henri Leconte                       0-1 (0-2)

Thomas Muster                    0-1 (0-2)

GROUP B

Matches won/lost (sets)

Sergi Bruguera                    1-0 (2-0)

Mats Wilander                      1-0 (2-0)

Mikael Pernfors                   0-1 (0-2)

Cedric Pioline                      0-1 (0-2)

SCHEDULE – FRIDAY 19 SEPTEMBER

13:00                                                   Henri Leconte/Thomas Muster

Not before 14:30                              Stefan Edberg / Guy Forget

Followed by                                         Sergi Bruguera/ Mats Wilander

Followed by                                         Guillaume Raoux/ Cedric Pioline

BLACKROCK TOUR OF CHAMPIONS POINTS ALLOCATION

Winner –                400 points

Finalist –                250 points

3rd place –            200 points

4th place –            125 points

5/6th place –  80 points

7/8th place –         60 points

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS 2008 TOUR OF CHAMPIONS RANKINGS (after seven events)

POS.       PLAYER                                                PTS

1              Marcelo Rios                                        1130

2              Goran Ivanisevic          970

3              Michael Stich                                        900

4              Thomas Muster                           595

5              Anders Jarryd                              525

6              Henri Leconte                              500

7              Cedric Pioline                              460

8=           Marc-Kevin Goellner (WC)                455

8=           Fernando Meligeni (WC)   455

10           Pat Cash                                                      420

11=         Patrick Rafter                               400

11=         Pete Sampras                             400

13           Sergi Bruguera                           360

14           Mikael Pernfors                          330

15=         Chris Wilkinson (WC)         325

16=         Jaime Oncins (WC)                             200

17=         Jeremy Bates (WC)                             125

17=         Albert Costa                                          125

19    Joao Cunha e Silva (WC)         80

20=         Magnus Larsson                  80

20=         John McEnroe                             80

20=         Andrei Cherkasov                               80

23=         Bjorn Borg                                             60

23=         Carl Uwe Steeb                          60

23=         Jaime Yzaga                                        60

23=         Alladin Karagoz (WC)         60

23=         Andrei Chesnokov                              60

23= Guillermo Vilas                                            60

WC denotes Wild Card.

The BlackRock Tour of Champions Calendar 2008

Belfast, Northern Ireland    – February 21-24 (Tennis Legends)

Champion: Anders Jarryd; Runner-up: Mikael Pernfors

Barcelona, Spain                                 – April 24-27 (Champions Cup ’08)

Champion: Marcelo Rios; Runner-up: Michael Stich

Rome, Italy                                            – May 10-11

Champion: Thomas Muster; Runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic

Hamburg, Germany            – May 14-17 (BlackRock Tennis Classic)

Champion: Michael Stich; Runner-up: Marc-Kevin Goellner

Sao Paulo, Brazil                                 – June 19-22 (Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brasil)

Champion: Pete Sampras; Runner-up: Marcelo Rios

Istanbul, Turkey                   – July 17-20

Champion: Goran Ivanisevic; Runner-up: Fernando Meligeni

Graz, Austria                         – July 29-August 2 (s Tennis Masters)

Champion: Patrick Rafter; Runner-up: Michael Stich

Algarve, Portugal                                 – August 5-8 (Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD)

Champion: Marcelo Rios ; Runner-up : Goran Ivanisevic

Paris, France                        – September 18-21 (5e Trophée Jean-Luc Lagardère)

Luxembourg, Luxembourg – September 25-28

Eindhoven, Netherlands    – October 2-5 (AFAS Tennis Classics)

Budapest, Hungary                             – October 9-12

Frankfurt, Germany             – November 13-16 (klarmobil.de Champions Trophy)

Macao, China                       – November 20 (Special Event)

London, UK                          – December 2-7 (BlackRock Masters Tennis)

OTHER INFO

About BlackRock

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At June 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.428 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,700 employees in 19 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.

South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.

For the Latest News, Features and Updates from the BlackRock Tour of Champions: www.blackrocktourofchampions.com

and for further information:

www.blackrockinternational.com/tourofchampions

Rafter returns in style; Rios runs out of racquets just like Goran

Making his first ever appearance at a BlackRock Tour of Champions event, Pat Rafter raced to an impressive opening victory, beating Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-2 earlier today in Graz, Austria.
Rafter, who retired from professional tennis in 2003, took little time to settle into the Austrian clay courts, breaking Pioline in the opening game of the match. From then on the Australian held serve with ease and comfortably took the opener 6-4. The second set was an equally straightforward affair for Rafter, who dominated Pioline with the sharp volleys and soft hands that won him the 1997 and 1998 US Open titles. After racing to a 5-1 second-set lead, Rafter had opportunities to win the match on Piolines serve but the Frenchman held serve to force Rafter to serve out the match, which he did to love.
Overall, the returning Australian was happy with his performance.
Im a little bit surprised!” he said.
The ball felt really good off my racket and I served and returned well. I moved okay and the ball went where I wanted it to go so it was really nice.”
But, he admitted that he did feel some ring-rust after so long away from the sport.
“When it gets into tight situations you can forget what the correct play is,” he said.
“There can be two or three points turning a match and if you dont win those points sometimes you can lose those matches. I think that is probably the biggest thing. Im staying fit back home doing a lot of fitness work. Ive done a lot of running so my legs are ok. My heart is ok, Im feeling strong. But I will see how much fun it is when I wake up tomorrow – I think Im going to be sore!”
So, what were his first impressions of life on the BlackRock Tour of Champions?
“Its interesting,” he said.
“You want to put a good show on but people havent come to watch you stuff around. I think you have to play hard, do your best, and every now and then have a fun point. But you leave the jokes up to people like (Henri) Leconte, who are very funny naturally. Playing (Thomas) Muster will be a fun match because we will both go really hard at each other and run for everything. A lot of the guys are good friends so seeing them is fun! Im looking forward to catching up with Goran (Ivanisevic) when I see him.
Rafters next opponent is BlackRock Tour of Champions stalwart Leconte.
RIOS RUNS OUT OF RACQUETS JUST LIKE GORAN
Eight years ago, Goran Ivanisevic retired from a match in Brighton, England because he had smashed all of his racquets in anger. In Graz, Austria today, a similar fate nearly afflicted former World No.1 Marcelo Rios.
The Chilean ultimately went down 6-3, 6-4 against Michael Stich, but not before a bizarre turn of events at 4-4 in the second set.  The Chilean found himself raquet-less having broken the strings in the two racquets that he had brought onto the court. Rios asked permission to borrow a racquet from his German opponent in order to finish the match. Stich obliged but promptly broke the Rios serve to win the final two games and the set 6-4.
I think I was the better player overall and would have won anyway, said Stich afterwards. But I knew what I was doing when I gave him one of my racquets because I knew he wasnt going to put a ball in court with that racquet!
Stich now tops Group B and in Group A Thomas Muster is sharing the top spot along with Pat Rafter after a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Henri Leconte in the third match of the day.
RESULTS TUESDAY, 29 JULY, 2008
Michael Stich d Marcelo Rios 6-3, 6-4
Patrick Rafter d Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-2
Thomas Muster d Henri Leconte 6-3, 7-5
LATEST GROUP STANDINGS
GROUP A
Matches won/lost (sets)
Thomas Muster 1-0 (2-0)
Patrick Rafter 1-0 (2-0)
Cedric Pioline 0-1 (0-2)
Henri Leconte 0-1 (0-2)
GROUP B
Matches won/lost (sets)
Michael Stich 1-0 (2-0)
Goran Ivanisevic 0-0 (0-0)
Marc-Kevin Goellner 0-0 (0-0)
Marcelo Rios  0-1 (0-2)
SCHEDULE WEDNESDAY 30 JULY, 2008
14:00 Patrick Rafter vs Henri Leconte
fwd by Thomas Muster vs Cedric Pioline
fwd by Goran Ivanisevic vs Marc-Kevin Goellner
BLACKROCK TOUR OF CHAMPIONS POINTS ALLOCATION
Winner   400 points
Finalist   250 points
3rd place   200 points
4th place   125 points
5/6th place   80 points
7/8th place   60 points
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS 2008 TOUR OF CHAMPIONS RANKINGS (after six events)
POS.  PLAYER PTS
1 Goran Ivanisevic 660
2 Michael Stich 650
2= Marcelo Rios 650
4 Anders Jarryd 525
5 Thomas Muster 515
6 Pat Cash 420
7= Pete Sampras 400
7= Cedric Pioline 400
9 Fernando Meligeni 375
10= Mikael Pernfors 330
10= Marc-Kevin Goellner (WC) 330
12 Henri Leconte 240
13= Chris Wilkinson (WC) 200
13= Jaime Oncins 200
15 Sergi Bruguera 160
16= Jeremy Bates (WC) 125
16= Albert Costa 125
18= Magnus Larsson 80
18= John McEnroe 80
18= Andrei Cherkasov 80
21= Bjorn Borg 60
21= Carl Uwe Steeb 60
21= Jaime Yzaga 60
21= Alladin Karagoz (WC) 60
21= Andrei Chesnokov 60
WC denotes Wild Card.
The BlackRock Tour of Champions Calendar 2008
Belfast, Northern Ireland – February 21-24   (Tennis Legends) – Champions: Anders Jarryd; Runner-up: Mikael Pernfors
Barcelona, Spain – April 24-27 (Champions Cup ’08) – Champion: Marcelo Rios; runner-up: Michael Stich
Rome, Italy – May 10-11 – Champion: Thomas Muster; runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic
Hamburg, Germany – May 14-17 (BlackRock Tennis Classic)
Champion: Michael Stich; Runner-up: Marc-Kevin Goellner
Sao Paulo, Brazil – June 19-22 (Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brasil)
Champion: Pete Sampras; Runner-up: Marcelo Rios
Istanbul, Turkey – July 17-20
Champion: Goran Ivanisevic; Runner-up: Fernando Meligeni
Graz, Austria – July 29-August 2 (s Tennis Masters)
Algarve, Portugal – August 5-8 (Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD)
Paris, France – September 18-21 (5e Trophe Jean-Luc Lagardre)
Luxembourg, Luxembourg – September 25-28
Eindhoven, Netherlands – October 2-5 (AFAS Tennis Classics)
Budapest, Hungary – October 9-12
Frankfurt, Germany – November 13-16 (klarmobil.de Champions Trophy)
Macao, China – November 20 (The Venetian Macao Tennis
Showdown 2008)
London, UK – December 2-7 (BlackRock Masters Tennis)
OTHER INFO
About BlackRock
BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At June 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.428 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,700 employees in 19 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.
South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.
For the Latest News, Features and Updates from the BlackRock Tour of Champions: www.blackrocktourofchampions.com and for further information:  www.blackrockinternational.com/tourofchampions

Rafter to start with Pioline test in Graz

Patrick Rafter will face two-time Grand Slam finalist Cedric Pioline in his opening match on the BlackRock Tour of Champions in Graz on Tuesday.
Playing in his first event on the circuit of former World No.1s, Grand Slam singles champions and finalists, and Davis Cup winners, the Australian will also need to find a way past home favourite Thomas Muster and Henri Leconte. If he reaches the final, he could set up a possible repeat of the 2001 Wimbledon final against Goran Ivanisevic.
In Group B, Ivanisevic will take on fellow Wimbledon winner Michael Stich, former World No.1 Marcelo Rios and Carl-Uwe Steeb.
Its probably the first time since retirement that I have actually felt this way, said Rafter, when asked why he had decided to return to tennis after seven years away from the sport.
“This year I have decided to get fit again. I train about 5 days a week which is gym, running and some other interesting fitness techniques. I surf as much as I can as well.  I understand quite a few of the players play the tournaments (on the BlackRock Tour of Champions) so while it would be great to win in Graz, I just want to play well.”
All players in each group will play each other over the first three days, and the players finishing top of each group will meet each other in the final. Those finishing second in each group will contest the 3rd/4th place play-off.
Matches are played over the best of three sets, with a Champions Tie-break (first to 10 points with a clear advantage of two) to decide the winner.
Two weeks ago in Istanbul, Ivanisevic won the Turkcell Legends Cup to move to No.1 in the South African Airways Champions Tour Rankings.
After Graz, the Tour will move on to Algarve, Portugal for the Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD (August 5-8).
To go inside the Borg/McEnroe rivalry and watch an exclusive video, click here: http://www.blackrocktourofchampions.com
On-site contact: Martin Dagahs  [email protected] or +43 316 572 618
LATEST GROUP STANDINGS
GROUP A
Matches won/lost (sets)
Thomas Muster                  0-0 (0-0)
Patrick Rafter 0-0 (0-0)
Cedric Pioline                     0-0 (0-0)
Henri Leconte  0-0 (0-0)
GROUP B
Matches won/lost (sets)
Goran Ivanisevic 0-0 (0-0)
Marcelo Rios  0-0 (0-0)
Michael Stich 0-0 (0-0)
Marc-Kevin Goellner 0-0 (0-0)
SCHEDULE TUESDAY 29 JULY, 2008
14.00                                Marcelo Rios vs Michael Stich
Followed by                    Patrick Rafter vs Cedric Pioline
Followed by                    Thomas Muster vs Henri Leconte
BLACKROCK TOUR OF CHAMPIONS POINTS ALLOCATION
Winner   400 points
Finalist   250 points
3rd place   200 points
4th place   125 points
5/6th place 80 points
7/8th place 60 points
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS 2008 TOUR OF CHAMPIONS RANKINGS (after six events)
POS.  PLAYER PTS
1 Goran Ivanisevic 660
2 Michael Stich             650
2=     Marcelo Rios               650
4 Anders Jarryd 525
5 Thomas Muster 515
6  Pat Cash    420
7= Pete Sampras 400
7= Cedric Pioline              400
9 Fernando Meligeni 375
10= Mikael Pernfors 330
10= Marc-Kevin Goellner (WC) 330
12 Henri Leconte 240
13= Chris Wilkinson (WC) 200
13= Jaime Oncins 200
15 Sergi Bruguera            160
16= Jeremy Bates (WC)    125
16= Albert Costa                 125
18= Magnus Larsson              80
18=  John McEnroe 80
18= Andrei Cherkasov 80
21= Bjorn Borg    60
21=  Carl Uwe Steeb 60
21= Jaime Yzaga 60
21= Alladin Karagoz (WC)        60
21= Andrei Chesnokov 60
WC denotes Wild Card.
The BlackRock Tour of Champions Calendar 2008
Belfast, Northern Ireland – February 21-24   (Tennis Legends) – Champions: Anders Jarryd; Runner-up: Mikael Pernfors
Barcelona, Spain – April 24-27 (Champions Cup ’08) – Champion: Marcelo Rios; runner-up: Michael Stich
Rome, Italy – May 10-11 – Champion: Thomas Muster; runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic
Hamburg, Germany – May 14-17 (BlackRock Tennis Classic)
Champion: Michael Stich; Runner-up: Marc-Kevin Goellner
Sao Paulo, Brazil – June 19-22 (Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brasil)
Champion: Pete Sampras; Runner-up: Marcelo Rios
Istanbul, Turkey – July 17-20
Champion: Goran Ivanisevic; Runner-up: Fernando Meligeni
Graz, Austria – July 29-August 2 (s Tennis Masters)
Algarve, Portugal – August 5-8 (Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD)
Paris, France – September 18-21 (5e Trophe Jean-Luc Lagardre)
Luxembourg, Luxembourg – September 25-28
Eindhoven, Netherlands – October 2-5 (AFAS Tennis Classics)
Budapest, Hungary – October 9-12
Frankfurt, Germany – November 13-16 (klarmobil.de Champions Trophy)
Brussels, Belgium – November 20-23
London, UK – December 2-7 (BlackRock Masters Tennis)
OTHER INFO
About BlackRock
BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At June 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.428 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals
worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk
management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of June 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,700 employees in 19 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.
South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.
For the Latest News, Features and Updates from the BlackRock Tour of Champions: www.blackrocktourofchampions.com
and for further information:

Istanbul Title Catapults Ivanisevic To No.1

Goran Ivanisevic won the inaugural Turkcell Legends Cup in Istanbul, Turkey to take his first BlackRock Tour of Champions title of 2008 and jump to No.1 in the South African Airways Champions Tour Rankings.

A capacity crowd generated an electric atmosphere for the final, which Ivanisevic won 6-4, 6-4 against Fernando Meligeni of Brazil.

The match was closer than the scoreline suggested, but the Ivanisevic serve was the deciding factor.  In the first set, the two players exchanged breaks of serve before Ivanisevic took the decisive advantage at 4-4. Meligeni kept fighting in  the second set and made the match competitive, but again Ivanisevic broke the Meligeni serve and from then on the outcome was never in doubt.

“I played really good today and I really had a great time,” said Ivanisevic.

“It’s been such a well-organised tournament and everybody has been so welcoming and kind. I’m really grateful to play here and I hope the tournament exists next year and I hope to be here. I’m happy to be number one (in the rankings), that’s really nice. But there’s still a lot of tournaments and a lot of competition between now and then but if I play like this then it’s definitely possible (that I could finish the year No.1).”

Meligeni was disappointed to lose, but not surprised, having lost all of his three meetings with Ivanisevic on the ATP circuit.

“Always when I play Goran it’s very tough and he served unbelievably and put me under a lot of pressure,” said Meligeni.

“I think it was a good match and it was fun but I was under pressure all the time and he was definitely the deserving winner today, he played better. It’s an honour for me to be playing here and competing with these guys on the circuit.  This week has been unbelievable with great hospitality and a great welcome here in Istanbul. I would love to have the chance to come back.”

In the 3rd/4th place play-off, Cedric Pioline defeated Thomas Muster 4-6, 7-5, 11-9 (Champions’ Tie Break).

Next, the BlackRock Tour of Champions moves on to two of the most popular and long-standing tour-dates –  Graz, Austria for the s Tennis Masters (July 29 – August 2) and then Algarve, Portugal for the Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD (August 5-8).

These are exciting times for the Tour, with former World No.1’s Pete Sampras Sao Paulo, London),  Stefan Edberg (Paris, London) and Yevgeny Kafelnikov (Eindhoven) all joining the circuit for World No.1’s, Grand Slam finalists and Davis Cup winners in 2008.

The 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang  and 1996 Wimbledon finalist Malivai Washington also announced that they will join Kafelnikov at the AFAS Tennis Classics in Eindhoven, October 2-5.

Ivanisevic, Muster, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Pat Cash, Marcelo Rios and Michael Stich will also be back in action as the year progresses.

To go inside the Borg/McEnroe rivalry and watch an exclusive video, click here: http://www.blackrocktourofchampions.com

RESULTS – SUNDAY, 20 JULY, 2008

Cedric Pioline d. Thomas Muster 4-6, 7-5, 11-9 (Champions’ Tie Break)

Goran Ivanisevic d. Fernando Meligeni 6-4, 6-4

FINAL GROUP STANDINGS

GROUP A

Matches won/lost (sets)

Fernando Meligeni                              3-0 (6-0)

Cedric Pioline                     2-1 (5-3)

Sergi Bruguera                    1-2 (3-4)

Alladin Karagoz                   0-3 (0-6)

Matches won/lost (sets)

GROUP B

Goran Ivanisevic                  3-0 (6-1)

Thomas Muster                    2-1 (5-3)

Pat Cash                                               1-2 (2-5)

Andrei Chesnokov                              0-3 (2-6)

BLACKROCK TOUR OF CHAMPIONS POINTS ALLOCATION

Winner –                400 points

Finalist –                250 points

3rd place –            200 points

4th place –            125 points

5/6th place –         80 points

7/8th place –         60 points

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS 2008 TOUR OF CHAMPIONS RANKINGS (after six events)

POS.       PLAYER                                                PTS

1              Goran Ivanisevic                  660

2              Michael Stich                        650

2=           Marcelo Rios                        650

4              Anders Jarryd                       525

5              Thomas Muster                    515

6              Pat Cash                                               420

7=           Pete Sampras                      400

7=           Cedric Pioline                 400

9              Fernando Meligeni                              375

10=         Mikael Pernfors                   330

10=         Marc-Kevin Goellner (WC)                330

12           Henri Leconte                      240

13=         Chris Wilkinson (WC)         200

13=         Jaime Oncins                       200

15           Sergi Bruguera               160

16=         Jeremy Bates (WC)             125

16=         Albert Costa                          125

18=         Magnus Larsson                  80

18=         John McEnroe                      80

18=         Andrei Cherkasov                               80

21=         Bjorn Borg                                             60

21=         Carl Uwe Steeb                   60

21=         Jaime Yzaga                                        60

21=         Alladin Karagoz (WC)        60

21=         Andrei Chesnokov                              60

WC denotes Wild Card.

The BlackRock Tour of Champions Calendar 2008

Belfast, Northern Ireland – February 21-24   (Tennis Legends) – Champions: Anders Jarryd; Runner-up: Mikael Pernfors

Barcelona, Spain – April 24-27 (Champions Cup ’08) – Champion: Marcelo Rios; runner-up: Michael Stich

Rome, Italy – May 10-11 – Champion: Thomas Muster; runner-up: Goran Ivanisevic

Hamburg, Germany – May 14-17 (BlackRock Tennis Classic)

Champion: Michael Stich; Runner-up: Marc-Kevin Goellner

Sao Paulo, Brazil – June 19-22 (Nossa Caixa Grand Champions Brasil)

Champion: Pete Sampras; Runner-up: Marcelo Rios

Istanbul, Turkey – July 17-20

Champion: Goran Ivanisevic; Runner-up: Fernando Meligeni

Graz, Austria – July 29-August 2 (s Tennis Masters)

Algarve, Portugal – August 5-8 (Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD)

Paris, France – September 18-21 (5e Trophée Jean-Luc Lagardère)

Luxembourg, Luxembourg – September 25-28

Eindhoven, Netherlands – October 2-5 (AFAS Tennis Classics)

Budapest, Hungary – October 9-12

Frankfurt, Germany – November 13-16 (klarmobil.de Champions Trophy)

Brussels, Belgium – November 20-23

London, UK – December 2-7 (BlackRock Masters Tennis)

OTHER INFO

BlackRock is a premier provider of global investment management, riskmanagement and advisory services to clients around the world. The rebrand from the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions to the new BlackRock Tour of Champions,

stemmed from the merger between BlackRock and Merrill Lynch Investment Managers on the 29th September 2006. This merger united the predominantly US fixed income institutional heritage of BlackRock with that of Merrill Lynch

Investment Managers’ award-winning global retail equity franchise.

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At December 31, 2007, BlackRock’s assets under management (AUM) was US$1.357 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions(r) investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of December 31, 2007, the firm has approximately 5,500 employees in 19 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.

South Africa’s international flagship airline and the continent’s most awarded carrier, South African Airways is the official airline of the BlackRock Tour of Champions. Its modern fleet features a comfortable Economy Class cabin recently reconfigured for extra legroom and a Premium Business Class cabin featuring the airline’s award-winning, lie-flat seat. Complimentary South African wines, inspired cuisine and personal on-demand entertainment for all travellers make the trip to Africa fly by. Built on a venerable 72-year history of bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, the airline’s network is unsurpassed on the continent – connecting travellers to more than 20 destinations within South Africa and more than 20 cities across Africa. As a recent member to the worldwide Star Alliance, South African Airways is now able to offer its customers 852 destinations in 152 countries and more than 15,500 flights daily.

For the Latest News, Features and Updates from the BlackRock Tour of Champions: www.blackrocktourofchampions.com

and for further information:

www.blackrockinternational.com/tourofchampions