View Full Version : Co-Ed Tournaments: A Great Idea Or Asking For WTA Trouble?

Sep 8th, 2007, 09:32 AM
As you might have heard, a lot of the top events are gearing up to feature the men and the women together in the near future. The ATP's new version of the Masters Series plans to eventually have co-ed fields at Madrid, Rome, Cincinnati, and also possibly in China, in addition to Indian Wells and Miami, which have co-ed fields already. In addition, a lot of other lower-level (but still notable) tournaments have gone co-ed in recent years, including New Haven and Moscow. And there are rumors that Charleston is going to have a concurrent men's tournament pretty soon.

I know that many people think it's a great idea, as fans can appreciate men's and women's tennis at the same venue, and the events can generate more attention from both fans and the media.

Personally though, I think the WTA is in danger of becoming too dependent on the ATP and putting itself in danger. Why? Well, WTA has worked hard to make their events successful and lucrative without any support from the men for many, many years. However, several of those long-running events have been jettisoned in order to latch onto ATP events. The hugely successful event in San Diego is gone, replaced by the new to-be-co-ed event in Cincinnati. Amelia Island has been downgraded on the new Roadmap plan.

If the current trend continues, there may be very few WTA-only top events left. That could have serious ramifications in the future. What would happen if the ATP suddenly went back to viewing the women with contempt, or if sponsorship dollars started going down for whatever reason? It's very conceivable that the ATP and the tournament directors might drop the women from the co-ed events. That would leave the women would almost nothing, as the previously faithful communities such as San Diego would understandably be reluctant to go back in business with the same WTA that dropped them in the first place.

Also, I have already noticed that the TV coverage in co-ed events has been dominated by coverage for the men. On the Tennis Channel, you would think that the New Haven event was a men's only event, as they showed one James Blake match after another, ignoring the women pretty much altogether (even though it was the women who really made that event successful in the first place). The WTA needs TV coverage to show the public there are other players besides Sharapova and the Williams sisters. It will become even tougher to do that if all the coverage gets taken by the men.

So personally, I think the WTA needs to secure its independence and future by not going overboard with the ATP partnership. What do you guys think about the trend?

Sep 8th, 2007, 09:34 AM
The ATP wants the WTA to be dependent on them. That's why Larry Scott was hired by the WTA in the first place. He is the one that is supposed to merge the two leagues together.

Sep 8th, 2007, 10:02 AM
if the event in Sandiego was so "hugely successful" then why did it get dropped by the sponsors? The event had many problems, it came at a bad space on the calandar.

The womens Tier 1 events in Rome and Berlin are always poorly attended and in danger of surviving and its a natural solution to combine them with stronger mens events, like they did around 7-8 years ago with Kremlin Cup.

Charleston is a good event for the women and it would be stupid idea to bring in a mens tournament IMO.

Sep 8th, 2007, 11:36 AM
I don't have a problem with "co-ed" tourneys. I don't go to the mens matches much anyway, but most WTA tourneys I've been to have been "co-ed" (Aussie Open, Rosmalen, RG, Wimby...Hopman Cup - ok not exactly WTA but still). ;) In fact I think Hobart's the only non co-ed I've been to (other than challengers) - but I like Hobart too.

I don't think that the WTA will be totally dependant on the ATP tour by doing this. They are making some marquee non GS events to market tennis as a whole, which may not be a bad thing. It sucks that they are screwing with the schedule alot, and losing some nice events, but I don't have a problem with the joined tourneys per se.

Sep 8th, 2007, 11:39 AM
Separate events do not produce the same kind of revenue and star power as joint events.

Sep 8th, 2007, 12:38 PM
I did like the idea at first but now I don't.

For instance the Canadian Open (men's and women's) will be run in exactly the same week now (1 in Toronto and the other in Montreal). They say they will switch between the 2 venues with the tv coverage, but what's the betting most of the time there will be an interesting men's match going on. Nevermind there are quite a few people that like to go to both event, and this situation makes that difficult.

Also with Madrid, with all the male Spanish claycourters and other South American/European claycourters, I just can't see Madrid putting female players on Centre Court there when they have so many male 'favourites'.

They obviously are going down this route and nothing in the forseeable future is going to change but imo they have demand for everything to be 50-50. The same amount of male to female matches on Centre Court, same amount of matches to be shown. But this won't happen, the WTA just always play second best to the ATP when it needs to stand on it's own 2 feet. This is why the WTA happened in the 70's to give women equal status and now it is going backwards.

Why are there so many *injuries*? Why are top players playing fewer tournaments? The players just aren't happy at all and the changes the WTA are making in 2009 are going to make things worse.

One thing I found funny was reading the ATP chief saying about the tour championships move to London. He said it was great as lots of people could and that the time zone is really good in relation to the tv coverage. He is right, but what are the WTA doing with Doha?

Also you could have a Belgian, Serbian and maybe a Pole in the top 10 in 2009 and none of the players will have a home tournament? Makes so much sense.

Sep 8th, 2007, 01:11 PM
I am hoping for the best but am expecting the worst in relation to TV coverage

Sep 8th, 2007, 01:28 PM
The ATP Tournament system is straight out boring
Wta's old system with Quality Points was the best

Sep 8th, 2007, 03:04 PM
I think it's a great idea, and the WTA asking for trouble. It will give more attention to 3-4 WTA tournaments throughout the year, but then again, more attention will probably be given to the mens matches. I think it would be a great idea though.