“We are in a negotiating period with them right now to become a partner with us,” said Kevin O’Connor, president of Saddlebrook Properties to SBJ. “They are fully committed to doing it and understand it is a long-term play,” O’Connor said of Lagardère’s U.S. ambitions. “I certainly see Lagardère becoming part of the big three,” he added, meaning he expects the company to pass two of the four current leading agencies.“They are fully committed to doing it and understand it is a long-term play,” said Kevin O’Connor said of Lagardère’s U.S. ambitions. “I certainly see Lagardère becoming part of the big three,” he added, meaning he expects the company to pass two of the four current leading agencies.Lagardere CEO Arnaud Lagardère, who trains occasionally at Saddlebrook, said to SportsBusiness Journal last fall that he possibly could move his company’s headquarters to the United States.
* The USTA will host the USA vs. Italy 2010 Fed Cup final November 6-7. The USTA’s Jeff Ryan, the director of USA team competitions, is seeking sites for the series that would need to have a minimum requirement of 5,000-seats. The USTA is expected to announce the site in mid-June. Information about the bid process and an RFP can be found at www.usta.com/fedcup. Cities wishing to bid on the matches should submit a letter of intent by May 17 with the deadline for submitting a final bid being June 4.
* Staples is the new title sponsor of this week’s $150,000 Staples Champions Cup in Boston, the second event of the Champions Series tennis circuit run by Jim Courier and his company InsideOut Sports and Entertainment. The event kicks off Thursday at the Agganis Arena as Bjorn Borg plays his first event in the United States in 10 years.
* The USTA is hosting its French Open wild-card playoff at the Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, Fla. The winners will be awarded main draw wild cards into the French Open. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement where wild card entries into the main draw at the 2010 French Open and 2010 US Open are exchanged. The players who will compete for the women’s wild card are Julia Boserup, Beatrice Capra, Jamie Hampton, Christina McHale, Asia Muhammad, Alison Riske, Sloane Stephens, and CoCo Vandeweghe, while the players scheduled to compete for the men’s wild card are Bjorn Fratangelo, Ryan Harrison, Alex Kuznetsov, Jesse Levine, Tim Smyczek, Ryan Sweeting and Donald Young.
* Rome debuted its brand new 10,500-seat, $38.4 million tennis stadium at this week’s Italian Championships. The stadium was finished after many years of legal troubles between city officials and the Italian Olympic committee, the organization that runs the stadium. Next year, the site will host a combined men’s and women’s event. Tournament director Sergio Palmieri described the stadium as “the premier tennis stadium in the world in terms of visibility for fans.”
* Bode Miller revealed to the Wall Street Journal that the USTA is paying his charity for him to compete in the upcoming US Open National Playoffs in New Haven, Conn. “I’m only doing it because the USTA told me they’d donate $5,000 to my charity,” Miller said to WSJ. “To get in this way I’d have to win like 30 matches in a row.” Katerina Sevcikova and Nikita Kryvonos won the USTA Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the first of 16 Sectional Qualifying Tournaments that will comprise the US Open National Playoffs. Sevcikova, a 28-year-old from Yonkers, N.Y., defeated Nikola Hubnerova, 30, from Syosset, N.Y., 6-3, 5-2, ret., to win the women’s draw. Sevcikova, who was born in the Czech Republic and played collegiately at the University of Missouri, competed on the USTA Pro Circuit from 2008-09 and currently serves as a Senior Tennis Professional at the Grand Slam Health & Tennis Club in Bedford, N.Y. In the men’s draw, Nikita Kryvonos, 23, of Flushing, NY defeated Cliff Nguyen, 28, of Vienna, Virginia 6-0, 6-4. Kryvonos contracted a staph infection at age 16 following leg surgery, but recovered to become ranked as high as No. 389 in the world by playing on the USTA Pro Circuit. He won a USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Irvine, Calif., in 2007 and also competed in the 2007 US Open Qualifying Draw. From May 15-23, five more Sectional Qualifying Tournaments will be held across the country, as men’s and women’s events will be held in the Missouri Valley Section in Springfield, Mo., the SoCal Section in Claremont, Calif., the NorCal Section in Salinas, Calif., and the Mid-Atlantic Section in College Park, Md. Additionally, the New England section will conduct its men’s event in West Haven, Conn.

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