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tennisIlove09
Mar 18th, 2003, 12:18 AM
Combined year-end tournament a possibility

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Reuters


LONDON -- A multi-million dollar year-end tournament, a longer off-season, a revamped calendar and a new series of elite events featuring the sport's top names are all in the pipeline following a summit of tennis chiefs.

The Grand Slam Committee, featuring the chairmen of Wimbledon and the French, Australian and U.S. Opens, met in Lausanne over the weekend to thrash out a number of issues following growing complaints by players.

They also appeared to open the way for the Australian Open to be moved from its slot in January -- seen as too early in the year for a major event -- to allow players "to build to a peak at the four Grand Slams."

The Grand Slams and the International Tennis Federation said on Monday they had met "to discuss how to generate meaningful change to ensure the long-term health and growth of tennis".

One of those "meaningful changes" is a bid to stave off fatigue -- for both players and fans.

The committee said on Monday it is committed to ensuring a player-friendly, rational and clear tennis calendar that offers "a longer off-season, not less than two months, for the benefit of both players and fans."

Currently, there is a window of just four weeks between the Davis Cup final and the opening tournament of the following season -- allowing top players only a handful of days rest before they begin preparations for the new campaign.

Earlier this year, former world No. 1 Marat Safin said: "We have the shortest vacations in any sport. In every other sport they have ... time to recover, vacations with their families and time to prepare themselves for the next season.

"We have nothing. This year I had two weeks of vacation so I mean there is nothing. If you want to fly somewhere to have vacations, you can spend like ten days.

"It's tough to play all the time."

Plans for a combined year-ender featuring both a men's and women's tournament along the lines of a Grand Slam would be a huge boost for the women's showpiece in particular.

Much has been made of the poor attendances at the women's championships in Los Angeles where the Staples Center was almost empty for many of the early matches last year.

The men's event, by contrast, saw fans flock to Shanghai to witness the biggest professional sports event held in China.

Men's tennis chief Mark Miles of the ATP said at last year's season-ender: "I think that all of us here share a view that combining events for a combined year-end finale is a concept that has a lot of merit. Together we expect to explore that possibility with the WTA."

The Grand Slam Committee said on Monday they would be inviting other "key constituents" -- namely the ATP and WTA -- to "participate in a possible new governance partnership."

The committee also reaffirmed its commitment to team competitions and said it would promote international team competition and representation "through calendar priority for Davis Cup, Fed Cup and the Olympics."

King Lindsay
Mar 18th, 2003, 12:50 AM
... the champion's race was born. :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :mad: :mad: :eek: :drool:

and seriously, only 4 weeks off? that's bullshit. first of all, most of the players are not participating in the davis cup final, and therefore most player's seasons end sooner than that. second of all, many of them do not choose to participate in the first two weeks of the season, which are the aussie open runup tourneys.

one thing i completely agree with. the year-end championships need to be given more importance by the players, fans and media. they should be the #5 event all year long. if combining them will do that, i say great. however, it will look like the WTA is crawling to the ATP to save them from their disasterous year-ender.

i also like the ATP's rotating location for their year end event. big crowds are practically guaranteed in places like shanghai which do not get many major sporting events. the one downside? the american media tunes out because it's not held on their soil.

let's talk about the women for a second. what has happened to their year-end event is a travesty. it was once the crown jewel of the tour. that is, when it was in MSG, NYC. Munich was a disaster. Los Angeles was another disaster (though there is potential there). philadelphia is back, why not just shift the championships back to their rightful home? can anybody tell me the length of the contract the WTA signed with the staples center? how long are they committed to be there?

the one good thing they have done. changed the format to top 8, round robin, like the ATP. if they do decide to combine the events, at least the format matches. and i mean, who isn't excited about the matches that we'll get from that top 8 format?

monster
Mar 18th, 2003, 01:55 AM
I'm all for shorter season, you can understand athletes need to give their bodies a break. However-all the players do is play exibitions anyways!
The WTA has shortened the season already by 2 weeks in the last 2 years. Do players have breaks? NO, they play more exibitions.
March is a great time of year in Oz, but our popluation is lower than the rest of the world so we may struggkle to get crowds-especially children as they will be at schoool.
They could still make the season shorter- ending it nini early OCt and keep the OZ Open oit can continue to grow

selesfan1
Mar 18th, 2003, 02:07 AM
I agree the need to rest but almost every tp 10 player played a few exhibitions during the off season. so obvioulsy they don't want a shorter season that bad. Maybe they want four day tournaments like golf?

King Lindsay
Mar 18th, 2003, 02:18 AM
were it possible to play four-day tournaents, i'm sure they would. unfortunately, it isn't.

King Lindsay
Mar 18th, 2003, 02:33 AM
although, selesfan, some top players at some tournaments really do get four day weeks. a bye, plus a Thursday start, make four days of work for the title.