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ESPN's Bonnie Ford Interviews WTA Chairman And CEO Larry Scott: Indian Wells Issue Explored

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Editor's note:

WTA Chairman and CEO Larry Scott on Wednesday formally announced changes in the circuit's calendar and other rules and standards, including on-court coaching, the rankings system and mandatory player commitments. Many of the questions from reporters afterward concerned the Williams sisters' stance that they will not play at Indian Wells -- which will be one of four mandatory events in 2009 -- because of a racially tinged incident in the stands there in 2001. That's where ESPN.com writer Bonnie D. Ford decided to start when she had a chance to sit down one-on-one with the former player and ATP executive.

Bonnie D. Ford: You made this announcement Wednesday morning, you put all this work into these reforms, and yet much of the press conference was dominated by an incident that happened seven years ago, that involves two of your hundreds and hundreds of players, albeit two of the most important ones. How personally difficult and frustrating is it for you that you haven't been able to get closure on this?

Larry Scott: I'm disappointed that there's not an easy solution, but by the same token, I'm looking at moving on, the sport's moving on, the tour's moving on, and I don't think it's going to hold us back from making the type of progress we need to make. As I've dug into the issue, I've gotten heightened empathy for how Serena and Venus feel about the situation and I also feel empathy for the tournament. I've tried to do what I can to bridge gaps. You can only do so much. I respect where they're coming from.

Ford: Do you have any realistic hope that there's going to be movement on this between now and March?

Scott: Not for the 2009 tournament. I'm not expecting they're going to play; they've told me they're not planning on playing. If they do, it's a bonus. I think everyone's expectations are managed. I'd like to think that by the time both Venus and Serena's careers end, fans at Indian Wells will see them again, but I'm certainly not predicting that.

Ford: And the promotional activities players can do in lieu of attendance, they've agreed to do that, so you don't anticipate a suspension coming out of this?

Scott: No.

Full Interview Here

Posted by Shelia

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