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Corswandt
Nov 15th, 2006, 09:14 PM
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/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=998

Corswandt
Nov 15th, 2006, 10:12 PM
Comments:

Clumsy phrasing:

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.

to improve player health

Even clumsier. One would think the WTA would be giving away free medicine or something.

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:

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.

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:

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. :devil: Certainly not hardcourts - particularly if the reason for this is to minimize the risk of injuries.

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.

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.

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. :scared: Mr. Disney's brilliant ideas are probably due to be implemented on the WTA as well.

MyskinaManiac
Nov 15th, 2006, 10:19 PM
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.

Corswandt
Nov 15th, 2006, 10:23 PM
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.

MyskinaManiac
Nov 15th, 2006, 10:39 PM
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?

Corswandt
Nov 15th, 2006, 10:49 PM
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/guide/longtermplan.html

To be finished in 2009 - work has already begun.

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

vogus
Nov 15th, 2006, 10:54 PM
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.

go hingis
Nov 15th, 2006, 10:55 PM
• 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?

Andy.
Nov 15th, 2006, 10:56 PM
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.

vogus
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:00 PM
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.

MyskinaManiac
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:07 PM
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.

goldenlox
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:15 PM
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.

Corswandt
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:29 PM
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.

CrossCourt~Rally
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:32 PM
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/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=998

That will be great for Amy if she decides to play another year or two :lol: :p

goldenlox
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:33 PM
They had some big names in the IW and Miami semis and final. Big deal.
They need pre-tournament buzz.

Corswandt
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:37 PM
They had some big names in the IW and Miami semis and final. Big deal.
They need pre-tournament buzz.

Judging by what I read in the US media, neither Lena D. nor Kuznetsova qualify as "big names" for them.

goldenlox
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:40 PM
The YEC had some big names, and 3 players had a chance to end the year at #1.
Yet nobody watched it. I don't know if there was any US tennis media in Madrid.
The US announcers were in NY, watching a feed on a monitor.
When that's happening at your championship event, you got some problems.

Corswandt
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:53 PM
The YEC had some big names, and 3 players had a chance to end the year at #1.
Yet nobody watched it. I don't know if there was any US tennis media in Madrid.
The US announcers were in NY, watching a feed on a monitor.
When that's happening at your championship event, you got some problems.

The Tour will have to survive without the US. The sooner the Tour management realizes this, the better.

goldenlox
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:55 PM
The Tour will have to survive without the US. The sooner the Tour management realizes this, the better.I want this too, but there's too much money in the US to ignore it

GoDominique
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:56 PM
Again, the ATP Masters Series is working so why not adopt it?

And the WTA could do away with the scheduling issues right away (Rome, Hamburg back-to-back etc). Have 6 or 7 Masters events that are mandatory.

Also, I wonder what "simplified ranking system" means. :scared:

goldenlox
Nov 15th, 2006, 11:58 PM
That's what the roadmap is, 4 Masters events for women. With the ATP

GoDominique
Nov 16th, 2006, 12:01 AM
That's what the roadmap is, 4 Masters events for women. With the ATP
They wouldn't need the ATP for this.

And 4 is too small a number.

goldenlox
Nov 16th, 2006, 12:03 AM
They are working with the ATP to build events like Miami.
Try to put them where they will get received well.

Corswandt
Nov 16th, 2006, 12:07 AM
Also, I wonder what "simplified ranking system" means. :scared:

Probably that the rankings will be decided by televoting.

"Vote for your favourites! If you want Justine to be #1, dial 555001. If you want Maria to be #1, dial 555002. If you want..."

goldenlox
Nov 17th, 2006, 02:08 PM
This is Matthew Cronin -

The Sony Ericson WTA's changes are not done yet. Next week there will be some clarification as to what will happen with the re-designation of tournaments into "A" and "B" categories. Hold on to your hats; it could much more dramatic than the on court coaching and doubles announcements. BTW: There's been a tremendous amount of discussion of my Inside Tennis article on the subject on wtaworld.com. The article had a California-US slant because IT is based in California, but all those global fans who wrote that the US has too many tournaments anyway should realize that every Tier II is at risk, not just those in the states

Corswandt
Nov 17th, 2006, 02:32 PM
This is Matthew Cronin -

all those global fans who wrote that the US has too many tournaments anyway should realize that every Tier II is at risk, not just those in the states

:lol:

The US media spends the whole year whining about how the absence of "Ree", "Vee" and "Jen" (and the "lack of rivalries") is killing the game in the US, about how the ratings are sinking because nobody wants to watch those boring ur-peens, about how the fields of once big tournaments are now piss poor because only unglamourous Russian scrubs bother to show up and play them, about how women's tennis is "in crisis" when the women's YEC had much better attendance overall than the men's (90% empty stands in Shanghai for most matches), and so on and so forth.

And then they act all shocked - SHOCKED! - when there's talk of scrapping US-based tournaments.

You reap what you sow.

goldenlox
Nov 17th, 2006, 02:47 PM
I can't wait to see how they set up A and B tournaments.

They need to make all the Tier I's important.
Sydney is a Tier II, and has a better field than almost every Tier I.

crazillo
Nov 17th, 2006, 02:54 PM
I don't like the fact that carpet will be completely elimianted after that.

goldenlox
Nov 17th, 2006, 02:58 PM
The problem with IW and Miami is that the first few days come up very weak.
To make these 2 week tournaments work, they need 128 and no byes.

Paneru
Nov 17th, 2006, 03:14 PM
• 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?

I tell you right now, woe to him if he thinks he's
gonna tell the top stars ala WSx2, Sharapova, JHH,
Davenport, & Clijsters to name a few what they'll
play and when they play it. :tape:

Corswandt
Nov 17th, 2006, 03:17 PM
Sydney is a Tier II, and has a better field than almost every Tier I.

Eastbourne is the same. It's the consequence of the anomalous situation of having two Slams (AO and Wimbledon) with only two weeks worth of lead-up events.

rrfnpump
Nov 17th, 2006, 03:52 PM
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.

wow, glad WTA takes feedback from the fans :D ... uhm, wait ... :o

goldenlox
Nov 17th, 2006, 04:32 PM
Sydney and Eastbourne should be A tournaments.
If they don't pay the players, they don't deserve that kind of field.

SpankMe
Nov 17th, 2006, 06:45 PM
Originally Posted by Corswandt http://imgsrv2.tennisuniverse.com/wtaworld/images/buttons/blue/viewpost.gif (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?p=9494655#post9494655)
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.

wow, glad WTA takes feedback from the fans :D ... uhm, wait ... :o
What fans, where? :shrug: US TV audiences? How can we find out? :help:

goldenlox
Nov 17th, 2006, 07:06 PM
Larry Scott is supposed to make an announcement next week.
Then we will know more about A and B tournaments.

SpankMe
Nov 17th, 2006, 07:13 PM
Larry Scott is supposed to make an announcement next week.
Then we will know more about A and B tournaments.
Thanks for the reply Goldenlox.:wavey:
Does anyone know if we can contact Larry Scott in the meantime?:confused:

goldenlox
Nov 17th, 2006, 07:20 PM
Does anyone know if we can contact Larry Scott in the meantime?:confused:I would suggest you start a "dear Larry Scott" thread.
If you ran a company, you would look to see what your customers are commenting on.
He probably checks out this message board.