This article came out, and it's really interesting. There's talk about a rival tour against the WTA in the USA, since they want to demote alot of the current Tier II's III's, and even a few Tier I's in their new "Roadmap".
Dec. 4, 2006, 12:36AM
TENNIS NOTEBOO USTA finds itself 'at a crossroads'
WTA initiative might ultimately prompt rival tour
By DALE ROBERTSON
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
The future of its clay-court tournament isn't the only uncertainty facing the USTA as both pro circuits try to restructure themselves to enhance spectator interest and keep their stars on the court instead of in the infirmary.
With the decision by Jim and Linda McIngvale to stop hosting the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships at their Westside Tennis and Fitness Club after 2007, the USTA may not have an easy time finding a suitable new home for the event unless perhaps it were to get paired with one of the WTA's existing spring clay-court tournaments in Charleston or Amelia Island.
But it's the WTA and not the McIngvales that is causing the governing body of American tennis the most heartburn at present. The Tour's so-called "Roadmap" for remaking itself by 2010 could negatively impact the USTA's successful summer U.S. Open Series as well as the two Series tournaments, Los Angeles and New Haven, that it co-owns.
Based on what the WTA is proposing, the aforementioned tournament in Amelia Island also could find it difficult to draw the elite players and the one in Charleston would have to significantly increase its prize money to keep its niche.
Although the new format is intended to improve fields, some of them could be decimated and the costs associated with the changes will be prohibitive, the USTA charges. To quote in part from a letter it sent to the WTA that was obtained by the Tennis Reporters newsletter:
"Your plans put the TV package and the race for the U.S. Open bonus prize money in jeopardy and, intended or not, stand to damage this successful and highly praised initiative. How can the USTA stand by and allow this to take place? ... Please take this as a formal notice for the tournaments owned or partially owned by the USTA, we have no intention of participating in this plan as currently structured. ... We are at a crossroads. ... If the WTA is unwilling to re-evaluate the plan based on the concerns expressed in this letter, the USTA will have no option but to re-evaluate its existing relationship with the WTA and explore other alternatives."
The last part of that suggests the USTA might consider launching a rival U.S.-based tour, which could turn Jim McIngvale, a big believer in that concept, into a player again. He has said previously that would be the only way he'd consider bringing an annual tournament back to Westside in the future.