Karl Budge: Former ASB Classic boss on Naomi Osaka's French Open decision
Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive
Serena Williams says she can identify with anxiety regarding news conference scrutiny, and has experienced it frequently after matches."Many of them I've been into where I've been -- very difficult to walk in in those moments," she said. "But you know, it made me stronger."Williams made her comments in a post-match news conference following her first-round victory Monday at the French Open. She spoke hours after four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the tournament, saying in a statement that she has dealt with long bouts of depression since winning a tumultuous final against Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open.Last week Osaka said she would not participate in the standard post-match news conferences during Roland Garros, citing her decision as a mental health matter because media questions can create self-doubt."I feel for Naomi," Williams said. "Not everyone is the same. I'm thick. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently."You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to and the best way she thinks she can. That's the only thing I can say: I think she is doing the best she can."Few athletes have been under the media spotlight like Williams, 39, who is chasing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. When the glare becomes too intense, she said, it's important to reach out for support."You really have to step forward and make an effort, just as in anything, and say, 'I need help with A, B, C and D,' and talk to someone. I think that's so important to have a sounding board, whether it's someone at the WTA, or someone in your life, or maybe it's someone you talk to on a weekly basis."I've been in that position too, and I've definitely had opportunities to talk to people and just get things off my chest that I can't necessarily talk about to anyone in my family or anyone I know."There were moments of anxiety for Williams even in a first-round victory that will be quickly forgotten. She took a spill on the clay and saved two set points before eliminating Irina-Camelia Begu 7-6 (6), 6-2 under the lights during the first scheduled night session in tournament history.Williams struggled with her serve but played aggressively, such as when she raced forward facing a set point to hit a risky swinging volley for a winner."I did not want to lose that first set," she said.Williams improved to 77-1 in first-round Slam matches. The loss came in Paris in 2012.
Karl Budge oversaw the ASB Classic from 2012, building it into one of the best on the pro circuit and bringing some of the greatest athletes in the world to New Zealand. During his career he’s held senior roles for some of the World’s highest profile rights holders and brands. And has just been announced as event director of the much-anticipated SailGP series, with the NZ Grand Prix being held in Christchurch next year. He was Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford's guest for this week's Six and a Song.LISTEN ABOVE
Karl Budge: ASB Classic director on Australian Open players facing strict quarantine
Kerre McIvor Mornings Podcast
Sympathy from a New Zealand tennis tournament director, for the Australian Open tennis players facing quarantine across the ditch.Seventy-two players are now in hard quarantine and unable to train outside their hotel rooms for 14 days, after positive Covid-19 tests on tournament charter flights.Authorities have ruled out giving them an exemption from the strict isolation rules.But Karl Budge, the director of Auckland's ASB Tennis Tournament, told Kerre McIvor they're in a different situation from other incoming travellers."Players are right to be concerned about going from two weeks confined in their hotel room, to playing a five-hour match in 40-plus temperatures."This year's ASB Classic in Auckland was cancelled, due to the uncertainty around Covid 19.Budge says he doesn't regret cancelling the tournament."The volume of uncertainty, with the new strains would have made lot extremely challenging, along with not having the revenue of a Grand Slam tournament."LISTEN ABOVE
Karl Budge: ASB Classic director adjusting to starting the year without the tournament
A very unfamiliar start to 2021 for ASB Classic director Karl Budge.This time of year typically marks the start of the women's draw at the tennis tournament, and a week before the men's one gets underway.But in October - due to Covid-related concerns - the event had to be cancelled for 2021, ridding New Zealand of its premier tennis event.Budge admitted to Elliot Smith it hurts."It's obviously been a tough year for a lot of people in our industry. A lot of great events weren't able to go ahead, but we've been really buoyed by the support we've had."LISTEN ABOVE
Karl Budge: ASB Classic tournament director yet to hear from Government for approval as D-day nears
Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive
New Zealand could be days away from losing its "highest-profile international sporting event" should the Government not approve plans for the ASB Classic tennis tournament in January.According to ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge, organisers have been in talks with the Government for three months but remain in the dark after submitting their "robust" Covid-19 isolation arrangements for the event."We're still waiting to hear back on our plan; we've been in conversation for the last three months. We are waiting for approval, really some feedback on what it is we need to adhere to," Budge told Newstalk ZB's Heather du Plessis-Allan.With the leading tennis tours around the globe about to confirm their calendars for 2021, Classic organisers are running out of time, Budge said."It is days, not weeks. We are certainly at SOS stage. We are a matter of days away from missing our cut."While Budge is confident of landing the likes of tennis superstars Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu for the 2021 event, he says he cannot lock them in without sign-off from the Government.Budge's plea came only hours after New Zealand Cricket confirmed their summer schedule after receiving approval from the Government to host international matches — and shortly before Netball New Zealand announced a three-game home series against England starting next month.America's Cup syndicates have also received approval to arrive ahead of the event set to start in February 2021, with American Magic team members recently completing their 14-day managed isolation and some members of Challenger of Record Luna Rossa halfway through theirs.Budge told Du Plessis-Allan their plan is to have international players isolate for three days, take the necessary Covid-19 tests which — if they come back negative — will allow players to compete while remaining in their bubble."We've got a plan we think is pretty robust, that not only is commercially viable and highly appealing both domestically and internationally, but importantly, it's one we think we can keep everyone involved safe."Budge said he was confident players would follow strict isolation rules in a similar way they had during the recent US Open."We need to give them [the players] certainty as well; I mean, this is their job," he said."If we don't get some signed-off plans in a hurry, we are at risk of losing what has become our highest-profile international sporting event."We've won best international event five of the past seven years on the WTA Tour. We know we can run a great show; we get the sold-out sign."Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday ended hopes of All Blacks receiving quarantine exemptions when returning to New Zealand from the Rugby Championship.The tournament will take place in Australia over the course of six weeks, with the All Blacks' final game scheduled for December 12 — a decision that was taken by governing body Sanzaar without New Zealand Rugby's approval.Based on current rules, players will need to self-isolate away from families until December 27 — with some expected to opt out of playing in the tournament.Ardern, however, said the Government needed to be consistent."We are asking people to go into managed isolation, and many will be in there over the Christmas period," she said."The easiest way to solve the issue the All Blacks are facing is if we stick to the existing game dates that concluded on the sixth of December."Sanzaar remain confident the tournament will go ahead despite NZR's outrage at the schedule.
Karl Budge: Why Covid-19 means we need to rethink how sports is delivered
Sportstalk with D'Arcy Waldegrave
ASB Classic director Karl Budge has called for sporting institutions to use Covid-19 as an opportunity to reconsider how sports is delivered to the public.Writing in the NZ Herald, he says that the virus "has highlighted the flaws that have existed for some time within the sports sector"."That model was turned upside down during this time, and if we don't 'pivot', no government relief package will change the fact it remains a fundamentally flawed and volatile business model coming out of Covid-19. It is broken."Budge joined D'Arcy Waldegrave to discuss what can be done differently and his solutions to fix the broken model.LISTEN ABOVE
Karl Budge is a strategic sports leader who has played a key role building the ASB Classic, WTA, Australian Open and FIFA brands globally.Karl is about to bring one of the most exciting surf events New Zealand has ever had, the Corona Piha Pro.I know you will enjoy this interview, so be sure to subscribe and share this podcast with your network.Stay awesomeEli SmitFounder & HostGround Breaking Podcast See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.