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Infiniti2001
Jul 12th, 2005, 08:09 PM
Williams pops in at meeting of tournament and tour officials and expresses concern about an extra day of play and the lack of equal pay.

By Lisa Dillman, Times Staff Writer


WIMBLEDON, England — There was a surprise guest at a meeting between members of the Grand Slam Committee and Larry Scott, WTA Tour chief executive, on Friday at the All England Club.

It was none other than Venus Williams dropping by for a few words one day before her scheduled Wimbledon final against Lindsay Davenport. Her presence in the room tempered the rhetoric from the committee, according to Franklin Johnson, president of the U.S. Tennis Assn. That is, until she left the meeting.



At issue is a proposal to add an extra day to the French Open in 2006, starting on Sunday instead of the usual Monday, and possibly doing the same at the U.S. Open and Australian Open. The extra day of play would generate more tickets sales and better television ratings.

Johnson told The Times that Williams expressed concern about the impact on lead-in tournaments, such as New Haven, Conn., and that players were already injury-prone from competing so frequently.

He also noted, with a smile, she got in a salvo about the lack of equal prize money in two of the four Slams, the French Open and Wimbledon. The Grand Slam Committee is responsible, among other things, for the rules and management at the four Slams of tennis.

It seemed as though the USTA, which runs the U.S. Open, was poised to move forward, following the French Open's lead. But Williams' comments in the meeting, as well as ones from other players earlier this week in a Reuters report, may have changed the association's approach to the issue.

"It gave us pause," Johnson said in an interview during one of Friday's rain delays. "My main concern is the players. We need to explain to them that it's good for the sport."

To that end, he plans on speaking with Williams and Davenport at the upcoming Fed Cup matches between the United States and Russia in Moscow. The ATP was also involved in meetings on Friday and Johnson thought members of the men's tour were "much more amenable to it."

The Grand Slam Committee put out a polite statement about the players' reported comments on Thursday, saying discussions had been going on with the WTA Tour and ATP since the Australian Open. A day later, Johnson was more pointed about the WTA: "It bothers me how this was handled. I thought it was bad form on their part."

Another USTA official said several concepts were under consideration, not just a Sunday start.

Johnson said he thought if there were an early start on Sunday, it could be limited to a day session at the U.S. Open, perhaps featuring three matches on the main show court at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

But he also sought to allay the fears that this was the start of a slippery slope, saying: "We'd be happy to contractually agree not to go to Saturday…. The other issues are non-issues. Anybody playing on Friday or Saturday [elsewhere] would not be playing [the U.S. Open] on Sunday. There would be the same number of days of protection."

Scott said the dialogue in the meeting was "constructive," adding, "but nothing was resolved, and there are going to be future conversations."

http://www.latimes.com/sports/tennis/la-sp-slams2jul02,1,2988360.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-tennis&ctrack=1&cset=true

Paneru
Jul 12th, 2005, 08:19 PM
Speak it Venus! :cool:

Rocketta
Jul 12th, 2005, 09:00 PM
Johnson said he thought if there were an early start on Sunday, it could be limited to a day session at the U.S. Open, perhaps featuring three matches on the main show court at Arthur Ashe Stadium.


so in other words it is just to make more money. :rolleyes:

slydevil6142
Jul 12th, 2005, 09:08 PM
so in other words it is just to make more money. :rolleyes:

Exactly.... to be honest neither tour really cares about the health/fourtunes of ALL the players. Granted the top players get alot more concerned thrown their way but those barely making it have virtually no voice. If either tour REALLY cared about the players they would take that extra money they make by adding an extra day and giving out larger cash prizes to ALL the participants.

Pureracket
Jul 12th, 2005, 09:26 PM
He also noted, with a smile, she got in a salvo about the lack of equal prize money in two of the four Slams, the French Open and Wimbledon. The Grand Slam Committee is responsible, among other things, for the rules and management at the four Slams of tennis.

NICE!!!!!

vwfan
Jul 12th, 2005, 09:31 PM
She's a leader.

Jericho
Jul 12th, 2005, 09:31 PM
damnit...when i read the title of this thread I thought it would be about Vee saying something like "I'm gonna win all the damn majors!" ;)

oh well this was pretty good too :p

Pureracket
Jul 12th, 2005, 09:32 PM
damnit...when i read the title of this thread I thought it would be about Vee saying something like "I'm gonna win all the damn majors!" ;)

oh well this was pretty good too :pLOL!!!!!

Veenut
Jul 12th, 2005, 11:07 PM
They all sound like a bunch of greedy bastards to me. They should also be concerned about the interest of the players also. I hope Venus and Lindsay can join forces and let them focus more on the players than their pockets.

Sam L
Jul 12th, 2005, 11:13 PM
damnit...when i read the title of this thread I thought it would be about Vee saying something like "I'm gonna win all the damn majors!" ;)

oh well this was pretty good too :p
That's what I was thinking too. :haha:

*Karen*
Jul 12th, 2005, 11:17 PM
The WTA and ATP really don't give a fuck about the players interest it's all about $$$$$$$$$$$. As for the prize money thing it should be equal. There was only about 4% difference between Venus' prize money and Federers prize money. The only real point in that was sexism.

FaceyFacem
Jul 13th, 2005, 12:58 AM
give me a break ITF!!! maybe, you could make the grand slams one month events instead? that way the casual fan pays exactly 0 attention to it because nothing ever would happen, or maybe you could fix matches so only the top players would be left at the end?
don't tamper with the tennis !! venus is right, although i firmly believe in equal prize money, i'm convinced that will come in a few years naturally, patience will work there, but starting on sunday is just stupid, the us open 1st rd is long enough already

Ryan
Jul 13th, 2005, 01:44 PM
It sounds to me that the members of the Grand Slam Committee act as if they are part of an elite "men's club" and lounge around all day in velvet house coats, slippers, and smoke pipes. :rolleyes:

Volcana
Jul 13th, 2005, 02:16 PM
It's about time for one of the younger to start to step up politically, and Venus is the logical candidate. With the tournament directors now being part of the WTA, the players voice is diluted. Davenport has been the political voice of the tour behind the scenes, for the most part. She's smart and up on the issues, but there's only one of her and she's closing in retirement. Certainly Venus is seen as a more serious and businesslike type than Serena or Jen Capriati.

It would better if there was some committed political representation among the players from all parts of the world though. Europe, Russia, China, the rest of Asia, South America....

Myskina's an obvious choice, even though one gets the idea she doesn't much care for Venus, which might make working together a little tight.

As for a European, I dunno. Mauresmo and Henin-Hardenna both strike me as people who wouldn't be interested in that role. Both pretty quiet people. Maybe Clijsters? I don't see it, but maybe.

The China situation has to wrok itself out. Their players have some separate political issues. I think Molik, if she gains a bit more prestige would be great. She'd cut right through some of the crap. Don't know that she's interested though. I'm sure she's focused on winning OZ next year to the exclusion of almost everything.

sartrista7
Jul 13th, 2005, 02:57 PM
Myskina's an obvious choice, even though one gets the idea she doesn't much care for Venus, which might make working together a little tight.

Where do you get this idea from? I've never seen anything to support it. It's pretty well known that Nastya and Serena get on well, at any rate.

It's really good to see Venus step up to the plate on some of these political issues, anyway. She's a strong, influential voice.