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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

Tour Tackles Withdrawal Issue

15 November 2006

Adding to momentum behind Roadmap 2010 plan, Tour passes new rule changes and standards for 2007 to ensure consistent delivery of top players to fans and tournaments and to improve player health

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – At its year-end Board meeting held yesterday at the Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid, and just one month after the release of new data showing that top player withdrawals had reached an all-time high, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Board passed a series of rule changes and new standards for 2007 designed to
ensure better delivery of top players to the Tour’s most important events, and to alleviate player injury and fatigue.

The Tour also announced that testing of on-court coaching will continue at all top level Tour tournaments following the Australian Open and up until Roland Garros in 2007, among other innovations for the New Year.

2007 REFORMS TO PROTECT PLAYER HEALTH & ENSURE MORE STARS/RIVALRIES FEATURED ON COURT

The package of 2007 rule changes and new standards is an important interim step in support of the Tour’s Roadmap 2010 long-term plan. Today’s announcement follows calls by Tour CEO Larry Scott in mid-October to take immediate action to improve the player withdrawal situation. The reforms include the following:

• Reduction of top player minimum tournament commitment requirement from 13 to 12 events, including two events to be chosen by the Tour for each player
• New standards that will mandate that all Tour fall season events shall utilize the same surface and same ball
• Doubling of player late withdrawal fines, up to a maximum of $40,000 for third and subsequent late withdrawal offenses
• Reduction of minimum player tournament commitment requirement for players who have been on the Tour for 12 years or more by one tournament
• Option for players aged 30 years old or more (as of January 1 of the Tour year) to have their minimum
tournament commitment consist of only four Tier I events

The passing of the new surface and ball standards for the Tour’s fall events follows new data drawing a link between player health and frequent change in surface and ball type. Over the course of the coming months, the Tour Board will evaluate and determine which surface and ball to use.

"Today’s package of reforms is an important step forward to ensure that we are able to deliver to fans and tournaments the players that they want and deserve to see on the court, and to protect the health of our players," said Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. “The data on player withdrawals caused by injury and fatigue is undeniable, and the solutions are equally clear to our players, tournaments and partners - a shorter season, more breaks for players and reduced requirements on top players."

In addition to the new rules and standards, the Tour has also decided, based upon very positive feedback from fans, broadcasters, players and other key stakeholders, to continue testing of on-court coaching at all Tier I and Tier II Tour tournaments taking place following the Australian Open and up until Roland Garros in 2007. In light of the positive feedback from fans, broadcasters and others, and in recognition of the difficulty in policing coaching from the stands, the Tour also intends to put forth a proposal in the coming months to legalize coaching from the stands, subject to important parameters that would ensure no disruption or interference with play.

The Tour will also continue testing of various new doubles scoring formats designed to enhance and better promote the doubles game. Such format testing will include, among other formats, the testing of no-ad scoring with a 10-point "Super-Tiebreak" in lieu of a third set, to be trialed at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells and the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, among other tournaments, in 2007. The format to be tested in Indian Wells and Miami will enable the Tour to test the same format as currently utilized by the ATP, and allow the Tour to explore the benefits of uniformity in doubles format for fans.

Other fan friendly innovations, including electronic line calling, pre-match player interviews, interviews with coaches during matches and enhanced microphones on court, will also continue in 2007.

"Sport lives or dies by the fan experience, and I am very excited that 2007 will bring our fans more excitement and accessibility than ever before," added Scott. "Our on-court coaching test this past fall showed us that fans and broadcasters like the added drama that live coaching brings to the game. These past months have also showed us that coaching from the stands is simply too difficult to police, and we intend to address this through a forthcoming proposal to legalize coaching."

[ROADMAP 2010]

In addition to today's announced rule changes, Scott previously confirmed on October 13 the need for the Tour’s Roadmap 2010 plan to be accelerated by one year, to 2009. The Roadmap 2010 is the Tour’s tennis calendar reform plan designed to ensure better and more reliable delivery of top players to top tournaments through a healthier schedule.

Elements of Roadmap 2010 Plan:

• Shortened season, ending in October
• Periodization – more breaks for top players after Grand Slams
• Reduction in number of Tour tournaments top players must play from 13 to 11
• Creation of four combined mandatory events with ATP
• Simplified ranking system
• Streamlined top level of tournaments with top players competing against each other more often

Source:

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...?ContentID=998

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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

Comments:

Clumsy phrasing:

Quote:
ensure consistent delivery of top players to fans
I'm all for this. In fact, you may start by delivering Maria and Lena D. to me and instruct them to do whatever I tell them to.

Quote:
to improve player health
Even clumsier. One would think the WTA would be giving away free medicine or something.

Quote:
The Tour also announced that testing of on-court coaching will continue at all top level Tour tournaments following the Australian Open and up until Roland Garros in 2007
My feeling is that it's mostly the fans who are also amateur/recreational tennis players who are horrified by on-court coaching. The casual fans probably don't care about it - at least this is what the feedback I've got from them indicates.

But this is decidedly being a bit too candid:

Quote:
in recognition of the difficulty in policing coaching from the stands
So if you can't crack down on a particular kind of crime, you surrender and go on to legalize it? I mean, we know this is the only reason behind it, but you could at least pretend it wasn't.

Quote:
New standards that will mandate that all Tour fall season events shall utilize the same surface and same ball
This is interesting. The reasoning behind it is stated later on the same press release:

Quote:
The passing of the new surface and ball standards for the Tour’s fall events follows new data drawing a link between player health and frequent change in surface and ball type.
If they are going to standardise surface type, I hope they pick Spuckturf TS-5 or some other wickedly fast carpet. Certainly not hardcourts - particularly if the reason for this is to minimize the risk of injuries.

Quote:
Option for players aged 30 years old or more (as of January 1 of the Tour year) to have their minimum
tournament commitment consist of only four Tier I events
Appeasement with Davenport - wise decision.

Quote:
Creation of four combined mandatory events with ATP
I.e. the WTA and ATP can't control the Slams, and this makes the desperately needed reshuffling of the tournament schedule extremely difficult to do; for instance, Tennis Australia's refusal to move back the AO is one of the main reasons why the tournament schedule is so unbalanced. So the ATP and WTA attempt to create a parallel circuit of "majors", instead of building clusters of tournaments, grouped by continent/region, around the pre-existent Grand Slams like they should do. The end result will probably be a complete mess.

Quote:
Streamlined top level of tournaments with top players competing against each other more often
I have no idea what this would entail (and I suspect the WTA has no idea either), but it sounds scary. Mr. Disney's brilliant ideas are probably due to be implemented on the WTA as well.

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Last edited by Corswandt; Nov 15th, 2006 at 10:25 PM.
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 10:19 PM
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

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Originally Posted by Corswandt View Post
Comments:

I.e. the WTA and ATP can't control the Slams, and this makes the desperately needed reshuffling of the tournament schedule extremely difficult to do; for instance, Tennis Australia's refusal to move back the AO is one of the main reasons why the tournament schedule is so unbalanced. So the ATP and WTA attempt to create a parallel circuit of "majors", instead of building clusters of tournaments around the pre-existent Grand Slams. The end result will probably be a complete mess.
Good read. But I heard it wasnt the Aus Opens refusal to move it was the traditional Slams of he French and Wimbledons refusal. Just think, those two slams are seperated by two weeks. The players go from a super slow surface to a moderate to fast surface. It would be best to move the Frech three weeks forward and Wimbledon a week back. The slams need spacing, this I believe makes the US and AO so much better and the players seem more fresh.

However, I doubt the AO would mind, because it has changed its dates in the past for the construction on the new arenas. Whilst I think they'd argue, they'd be most open mind about moving out of all the slams.
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

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Originally Posted by MyskinaManiac View Post
But I heard it wasnt the Aus Opens refusal to move it was the traditional Slams of he French and Wimbledons refusal. Just think, those two slams are seperated by two weeks. The players go from a super slow surface to a moderate to fast surface. It would be best to move the Frech three weeks forward and Wimbledon a week back. The slams need spacing, this I believe makes the US and AO so much better and the players seem more fresh.
At least one more week between RG and Wimbledon is something everyone agrees on, and has been discussed in here countless times before.

But RG can't be moved forward as it would greatly increase the chances of it running into bad weather. Wimbledon on the other hand could easily be moved back at least one week.

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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 10:39 PM
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

Yeah, they may actually avoid that dreaded weather they're so famous for. Also, when are they going to finish that roof they're building? Or is that some sort of a rumour?
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

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Originally Posted by MyskinaManiac View Post
Yeah, they may actually avoid that dreaded weather they're so famous for. Also, when are they going to finish that roof they're building? Or is that some sort of a rumour?
Not a rumour:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/3371835.stm

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/about...gtermplan.html

To be finished in 2009 - work has already begun.

The Slams can be very progressive when they're in the mood for it.

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Last edited by Corswandt; Nov 15th, 2006 at 10:56 PM.
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 10:54 PM
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

it's a lot of corporate gobbledygook. The WTA is pretty much powerless in the face of the schedule problems. They have too many tournaments and not enough star players to support them, and it doesn't matter how you tinker with the order of the calendar, that issue is not going away. I believe in market economics and that if there really are too many events, then eventually there will be a natural correction of that. But for now, if sponsors want to keep putting up money even though they are not guaranteed marquee names, well that's a beautiful thing for about 50 or 60 very talented and hard-working women tennis pros who aren't international stars and who are always ready to step in and pick up the slack.
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 10:55 PM
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

• Reduction of top player minimum tournament commitment requirement from 13 to 12 events, including two events to be chosen by the Tour for each player

So the tour let's them drop one whole tournament but they can now chose two for them. Larry just wants to control the players and where they play. I don't think it's fair or going to help the problem. Would the players be able to at least advise when they want to play and when they want some off time?
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 10:56 PM
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

If the Australian Open moves from Jan to March it wouldnt work. School Holidays are January ans thats when ost people go on holidays, the crouds would be greatly reduced if it was forced to move to march.
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

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Originally Posted by Corswandt View Post

Wimbledon on the other hand could easily be moved back at least one week.

especially as the two weeks currently following Wimby are a complete dead spot right in the middle of the tennis calendar.

The AO will never move to March (because of domestic Australian factors), but they could certainly stand to go later by a week or two.
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

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Originally Posted by MightyMashaFan View Post
If the Australian Open moves from Jan to March it wouldnt work. School Holidays are January ans thats when ost people go on holidays, the crouds would be greatly reduced if it was forced to move to march.
I agree. And plus, the tournaments are in the best part of summer. Moving the event would mean taking away from what encapsulates the AO.
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 11:15 PM
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

Streamlined top level of tournaments with top players competing against each other more often

They had this all year. The semis of the AO, Wimbledon, and YEC had the same 4 players. And 3 of them in NYC
That's not the problem.

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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

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Streamlined top level of tournaments with top players competing against each other more often

They had this all year. The semis of the AO, Wimbledon, and YEC had the same 4 players. And 3 of them in NYC
That's not the problem.
They probably mean "players competing against each other more often in tournaments that we control", "we" being the TD's who effectively run the ATP and the WTA.

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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 11:32 PM
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Thumbs up Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corswandt View Post
Tour Tackles Withdrawal Issue

15 November 2006

[• Reduction of minimum player tournament commitment requirement for players who have been on the Tour for 12 years or more by one tournament
• Option for players aged 30 years old or more (as of January 1 of the Tour year) to have their minimum
tournament commitment consist of only four Tier I events



Source:

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1...?ContentID=998
That will be great for Amy if she decides to play another year or two
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old Nov 15th, 2006, 11:33 PM
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Re: WTA Tour - changes for 2007 and Roadmap 2010

They had some big names in the IW and Miami semis and final. Big deal.
They need pre-tournament buzz.

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Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there
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