Mr. von Arnim, on Sunday you are running for president of the world tennis association ITF against incumbent David Haggerty in Cancún. Why do you think a change at the top of the association is necessary?
When I was asked about a year ago whether I would like to run, I said: The ITF can do better. In the meantime I say: The ITF has to do better. There is growing dissatisfaction in countries regarding the lack of transparency at the world association. The national associations want to be better involved in the decision-making processes.
The biggest controversial topic recently was the failed reform of the Davis Cup. Was that also the dominant theme in your election campaign?
Just last weekend we saw again how busy and annoying the players are in the partially empty halls. The Davis Cup is also extremely important financially for the ITF. The deal with the event company Kosmos has imploded. The money, which was the main reason for approval, especially for the smaller nations, will not flow. Now they need an answer to the question: What do we do with the Davis Cup? What format do we want to play in in the future?
What is your suggestion?
Here we are back on the topic of transparency. As national associations, we have not yet had access to the contracts that the ITF has concluded. In this respect I can’t say what is even possible. But we have to think very carefully about how we can make the competition successful again. To do this – unlike last time – we also have to talk to the players.
What other topics are on your agenda?
Our goal is to make tennis more global and to promote it worldwide. To do this we have to ask ourselves what new sources of income we can find for the ITF. We have to talk to the Grand Slam nations and to the professional organizations ATP and WTA. The national associations must be given more tournaments again, for example they must be allowed to organize the tournaments of the smaller Challenger series themselves again.
Will ATP and WTA simply give these up and thus forgo money?
The first contacts with ATP and WTA were promising. It’s about putting the national associations in a financial position to better train talent. It’s about making the sport truly a global sport and thus attracting new sponsors and partners. When the overall pie gets bigger, everyone benefits. Then a smaller piece of it is also interesting.
What chances do you think you have in the election?
Of course, I was at the four Grand Slam tournaments and also at many other tennis events and also made many video and telephone calls. Even though I have not yet been a member of the ITF Executive Board, the response has been very positive and, based on all the feedback, it will be very exciting to see what the vote turns out to be. At the moment I feel a great tailwind.
What will happen to your position as President of the German Tennis Federation if you are elected?
There would be a conflict of interest, so unfortunately I would have to put it down.
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