(October 17, 2012) --
‘Qlo-ing with Kindness? So which is Novak Djokovic more into: clothes or kids? The world No. 2’s clothing sponsor, UNIQLO, announced a major program on Tuesday that Nole (and a bunch of adorable little ones) is the faces of called Clothes for Smiles. The program is a $10 million fund that will be launched by UNIQLO sales this upcoming season of HEATTECH and Ultra Light Down items in stores worldwide.
Djokovic, fresh off his Asian double in Beijing and Shanghai, stuck in the region for the announcement, taking part in a press conference in Tokyo. The program will have two sub programs, each worth $5 million, the first, with its own dedicated website, will attract ideas on giving children a “better tomorrow” via online submissions while the second is an educational partnership with UNICEF and Fast Retailing (a Japanese retailer), aimed at enriching existing programs.
Submissions for Clothes for Smiles ideas at the above website will be taken through the end of the year, with a panel of judges including Djokovic, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, and architect Tadao Ando selecting the winners.
Watch the YouTube video of an intro to the program at the bottom of the post. Or see it here.
Game, Set, Splash? Tennis legends Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf aren’t just a tennis power couple. They’re a business power couple, too. In Las Vegas, Agassi’s hometown, the duo has brought in an Australian theme-park builder, Village Roadshow, to take on 51% of the American Wet’n’Wild development to construct a water park for the Vegas area, which has been without water sport fun for over eight years now. The park’s development has hit bumps along the way, a grand plan for an indoor park/ski hill/mega-do-everything site doomed by the flailing economy. The development is said to be worth $50 million and will open on Memorial Day with the name Wet’n’Wild Vegas attached to it, a year after it was originally slated to start gushing.
You stay, I’ll go: Seems as though Andy Roddick was quite the busy man on the day he announced his retirement at the US Open this summer. A release of documents from the Court of Arbitration for Sport shows that Roddick testified via phone on Aug. 30 for an appeal hearing for little-known Bulgarian player Dimitar Kutrovsky. Roddick gave testimony on Kutrovsky’s “character,” helping the 25-yea- old see his two-year suspension from the sport be reduced to 15 months. In February, Kutrovsky tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine at the SAP Open in San Jose, where Roddick was the No. 2 seed. Kutrovsky played college tennis at the University of Texas at Austin, Roddick’s hometown. The Bulgarian won 230 singles and doubles matches in his career there, making him the winningest Longhorn in the school’s history. He had reached a career high No. 312 the week following San Jose.
Just call it book money? The rules of college tennis have changed regarding players earning lumps of change. As junior tennis guru Colette Lewis revealed on ZooTennis Monday, the NCAA and ITA are now allowing collegiate players to earn up to $10,000 per year while keeping their eligibility to play. The decision was put into effect in late April. The rule states: A college player may earn “$10,000 per calendar year in prize money based on his or her place finish or performance in open athletics events (events that are not invitation only).”
Mentor me this: Seems as though no one has mentioned the WTA mentoring program since Pam Shriver trumpeted her relationship with Venus Williams constantly on TV in the early 2000s. But, it’s still alive and thriving, reveals Bobby Chintapalli in her weekly post on USA Today. Writes Chintapalli: “About five years ago the program [officially called Partners for Success] moved away from formal one-on-one pairings. Which is why you don't see younger players' WTA bios list mentors the way some veterans' bios did and still do.”
Itty bits: How big was Heather Watson’s win in Osaka last weekend? It’s the first time a British female has won a WTA title since 1988. On the back of Andy Murray’s breakthrough season and a surge from fellow youngster Laura Robson, British tennis can certainly say this is the best year for it… ever? | Nole the businessman? Not so much. “Luckily for me I have people that are qualified to do the business side of my career.” | Venus and Serena Williams are planning two stops -- Lagos and Johannesburg -- Oct. 30 and Nov. 2 in a business and entrepreneurship tour of Africa. | The Sony Ericsson Open wants to make a $50 million expansion at Crandon Park in Miami. The Chamber of Commerce is liking the idea. Why? It costs tax payers nothing. The move is up for a vote Nov. 6. | The U.S. Davis Cup team will play host to Brazil Feb. 1-3 at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. It’s the first time the Americans, who are 6-0 in Florida Davis Cup battles over the years, are playing at home since 2011 after playing three ties on the road in 2012. | The following week, the US women will travel to Italy to play the Italians on indoor red clay in Rimini in Fed Cup competition. | The saga of Andrea Collarini continues: the American-born Argentine has lived in that country since the age of three before coming to work with the USTA in the spring of 2010, prior to his run to the French Open junior finals. Now 20, Collarini, ranked No. 346, is back to playing under the Argentine flag. | Want a laugh? Watch Rafael Nadal’s appearance on the Spanish talk show, El Hormiguero.
WATCH: See the video promoting UNIQLO's new charitable programs, Clothes for Smiles:
(Photo Credit: screengrab via Yahoo! Tennis)