MONACO (AFP) - European tennis chiefs lashed out at their American counterparts over controversial plans to create a new tour based in North America in the run-up to the US Open.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) wants to link 10 summer hardcourt tournaments leading up the third Grand Slam tournament of the season in New York in August and September.
The US Open Series will create a six-week season for ATP and WTA Tour professional tournaments in North America and involve TV coverage of all events with the promotion worth an estimated two-three million dollars.
Players competing will also be battling for bonus prizemoney at the US Open.
Organisers estimated that Andy Roddick, the reigning US Open champion, would have won about two million-dollars if the series were in place last year.
However, directors of European tournaments are furious over the threat posed by the new series believing that their own events will be stripped of top names lured over to the Atlantic to compete for the new cash prizes.
During the build-up to the US Open, there are also tour events in Europe in Stuttgart, Amersfoot, Kitzbuhel, Umag and Sopot.
"I had on the phone 25 out of 32 of the tournament directors for three reasons," said Patrice Dominguez, the co-director of the Monte Carlo Masters here.
"First, to protect the integrity of the clay court tournaments in Europe in July. We have a swing and we want to keep its as strong as possible. We think that the creation of this series could be a threat for the tournaments in Europe in July.
"The second point is the integrity of the Masters Series has to be protected for the tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati.
"We do not accept the fact that there would be confusion between some tournaments who belong to the Tour and the other tournaments. We don't want a Tour inside the Tour.
"The last point is we do not want the creation of a bonus inside the Tour necessarily attached to a new ranking. We have enough problems having two rankings today (Champions Race and Direct Entry), not to have a third one for six tournaments during the year.
"We want to have a global vision, not a regional tour.
Dominguez said that further talks are planned with ATP chief Mark Miles on Tuesday in a bid to resolve the fallout.
"He went to the negotiating table without telling us anything," claimed Dominguez....."
Personally, im not in favor. Its just seems like a marketing trick to drag the focus of the biggest tennis market in the world to only one phase of the tour calender, and one slam, and only a couple of players. Like nothing else happens on tour, like there are no other surfaces, no other stars.
Every article that I have read talks about roddick, and how much he could win on his favorite surface, and implying that somehow that will save the game. It wont. Will new fans stay in firday night for that, I doubt it.
The problem with tennis is not that Roddick doesn't have enough publicity, but that other talents are under-exposed.
Tennis' hey-day was not one of single over-exposed stars, but great RIVALRIES, Borg-McEnroe, Evert -Nav, Etc. Thats what he game needs.
New fans will respond to new rivalries and contrasts among players. Its insulting to think that fans (who know way more than the networks think) will be taken in by more saturation coverage of the latest pin-up american.....