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View Full Version : Europe reacts to new tour within tour.....


arcus
Apr 24th, 2004, 07:10 PM
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..... :(

LiliaLee-Frazier
Apr 24th, 2004, 07:25 PM
Hey..thats where the money is at and most of the fans are at..good for the usta ... :woohoo:

alexusjonesfan
Apr 24th, 2004, 07:57 PM
I guess this is bone of contention mostly for the ATP. The only non American WTA tournaments taking place during that 'US Open series' are Palermo, Stockholm, Tijuana, Toronto/Montreal and Sopot. Toronto/Montreal is already part of the series and Sopot Palermo, Stockholm and Tijuana are Tier IV and V's and run the same weeks as bigger American tourneys. I don't see how they'd be opposed to this. Also thankfully 'the rankings' are still much more important than 'the race' on the WTA so there isn't that much confusion there. I do agree with arcus though that coverage has to better in quality as well as quantity. If 100 more hours of ESPN means 100 more hours of Andy and Andre ass kissing, they'll lose fans faster than they'll make any :p

SJW
Apr 24th, 2004, 08:06 PM
blah blah blah blah blah.......why have clay tournaments in July anyway? you don't see top players playing grass tournaments in November :rolleyes:

i think it's a good idea because of the promotion.....and tennis is a business anyway :shrug:

Seenus
Apr 24th, 2004, 08:19 PM
beware the ideas of March

tennisIlove09
Apr 24th, 2004, 09:19 PM
I never thought of it from this prospective though.

Seriously though, the lower tiers never got top players anyways. Anna Smashnova was the only top player I can think of that played last year.

Darop.
Apr 24th, 2004, 11:34 PM
Isnt US Open the 4th grand slam of the season? :o

Havok
Apr 24th, 2004, 11:37 PM
:yawn: you know they had to bitch at this new thing the USTA is doing. they're going frantic about stuff they dont even know will happen anwyays

JennyS
Apr 25th, 2004, 12:16 AM
I've never quite understood the point of having claycourt tournaments after Wimbledon either. There aren't any hardcourt events in North America during April or May, which would be the equivalent to having tournaments on Europe in clay in July.

While I understand why they might be concerned about losing a few name players, the only really big players I can think of that play on clay in July are Ferrero and Coria. Most of the other big names are going to be playing on hardcourts during that time.

Lynx
Apr 25th, 2004, 12:37 AM
beware the ideas of March
:haha: :lol:

Clever :D.

Martian Martin
Apr 25th, 2004, 12:43 AM
I don't understand why there has to be clay tourneys after Wimby either, it's not as if they are then building towards a main event. There is too many clay tourneys anyway and players can get a very solid ranking just by playing on it. Clay and grass are specialised surfaces but yet look at how much more is on clay.

Jarrett
Apr 25th, 2004, 01:17 AM
Eh, i don't get what they are getting so upset over. What top players play those events over the summer hardcourts anyway?

K-Dog
Apr 25th, 2004, 01:28 AM
Why are they getting so upset?

First of all, they are exposing more tennis to the masses. Second, this is a USTA thing, and they can whatever they want to do with their tournaments. Thirdly the USTA runs the US Open, so they can do this for the US Open. Fourthly, this idea sounds fresh and new and a smart thing to make tennis the sport that it was in the 1970's. This is a brilliant marketing plan for the USTA, and it makes the viewers at home happy because we get more coverage!! This will also show us players we might never have seen before! This'll show the public all of the talented players the two tours have to offer. They've been talking about joining the ATP and WTA in more events now anyway. I think these guys from Europe are just jealous from the fact that the USTA beat them to the punch and are trying to make more money. Nobody cares about those smaller clay tourney's anyway. Good good USTA!

CanadianBoy21
Apr 25th, 2004, 01:54 AM
Good marketing move by USTA, but I think what the Europeans are mad about is that they weren't let on about this happening. It is still an international institution, and as such should be dealt with internationally.
I think this will turn into a disaster if the coverage is ONLY Americans, which I fear it will be. There is some patriotic side that tells me that it will be an American show.
Is this related to WTA too????
I wish they would show these 5 players from each group the most, based on their ranking, entertainment value and popularity, game, etc...
ATP:
Federer
Agassi
Safin
Andy
& who is hot at that time

WTA
Venus
Serena
Justin
Kim &
Lindsay.

So they should promote players that are good on hardcourts and that get far in tournies. That way the American public will know few more players well and might be drawn into the game.

charmedRic
Apr 25th, 2004, 02:37 AM
Tennis needs this...it might hurt the clay euro tournaments. But I think Tennis needs to get tons of exposure to get its popularity back.

WtaTour4Ever
Apr 25th, 2004, 02:39 AM
I thought the deal was semi's and finals......so how would they restrict to Americans....unless your thinking they will pull out the tape??

Mr_Molik
Apr 25th, 2004, 05:10 AM
[COLOR=Navy]

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.




:rolleyes: that is one of the most ridiculous things i have ever heard

Mr_Molik
Apr 25th, 2004, 05:13 AM
they should push wimbledon a few weeks later and have a longer grass season

Volcana
Apr 25th, 2004, 05:35 AM
The USTA is doing this as part of an effort to build up the number of recreational tennis players in the USA. The tour directors of smaller clay events have a legit beef. Additional prize money could draw the one star they need to make their tournament successful overseas. Basically, this forces THEM to spend more money, while the American tournaments are not. The USTA is footing the bill for the extra prize money over here.

arcus
Apr 25th, 2004, 05:43 AM
Agree that the grass court season is too short

re Roddick, well, that is what he would have earned last year from the "USOPEN SERIES" if it had been in place then.

I suspect that a good deal of the enthusiasm for this promotion comes cos there is a good chance that an american GUY will take home the spoils. I doubt that the USTA would have set up this scheme the year after aussie Rafter won everything in sight on the US hard court season. So since roddick is currently the most likely beneficiary it wont help show that there are so many other great players that the US public are only dimly aware of, sa they never get shown them. Sad.

And anyway, the very top players are already cleaning up $-wise. How much more money do they need?
And how much more play on rough hard courts will their bodies endure. There will be egg on some faces if top players overdo it in a frenzy over the dollars and get injured in the process and miss the open....

This is cash that could go into game development, instead.

CanadianBoy21
Apr 25th, 2004, 05:52 AM
The problem with pushing Wimbledon later is that Bank of the West Classic is a week after Wimbledon. That means that EVERYTHING would have to be pushed book, which would result in a longer off season(not like they have one at all :rolleyes: )
I think Australian Open needs to be pushed back few weeks after. Take some evens out, give the players a rest, and increase the grass season by a week.

Andy T
Apr 25th, 2004, 06:37 AM
Agree that the grass court season is too short

re Roddick, well, that is what he would have earned last year from the "USOPEN SERIES" if it had been in place then.

I suspect that a good deal of the enthusiasm for this promotion comes cos there is a good chance that an american GUY will take home the spoils. I doubt that the USTA would have set up this scheme the year after aussie Rafter won everything in sight on the US hard court season. So since roddick is currently the most likely beneficiary it wont help show that there are so many other great players that the US public are only dimly aware of, sa they never get shown them. Sad.

And anyway, the very top players are already cleaning up $-wise. How much more money do they need?
And how much more play on rough hard courts will their bodies endure. There will be egg on some faces if top players overdo it in a frenzy over the dollars and get injured in the process and miss the open....

This is cash that could go into game development, instead.

I'm with you on this one, arcus. I don't quite get what they're trying to achieve with this mini-US tour. The odd thing is that instead of being a fresh idea, this sounds like a step back in time to the 60s and 70s when there used to be circuits of 5-6 tournaments leading up to a biggie:

oct-jan in Australia or indoor tourneys in Europe and the states,
jan-apr either in South Africa ("sugar circuit") or in the southern US/Caribbean ("the sunshine circuit"),
apr-jul in Britain-Italy-France leading up to RG and on to Wimbledon,
jul-sep either in middle Europe (clay) leading up to the German Open or in the states (clay + grass) leading up to the US Open
sep-oct in California (hard)

The plus was that in those periods when the players were in the region tennis had a very high profile but for the rest of the year there was nothing.

azza
Apr 25th, 2004, 07:11 AM
The Usa already has 14 tournies on wta why should they add more?

Mateo Mathieu
Apr 25th, 2004, 07:54 AM
The clay tournaments after Wimbledon should moved to May-June such as:

Warsaw, Budapest
Berlin, Palermo
Rome, Sopot
Strasbourg, Vienna

That's perfect, isn't it? Stockholm and Tijuana will be played hardcourts so, don't worry about them.