View Full Version : Wimbledon in line for a switch in dates

Jul 9th, 2002, 02:37 PM
Daily Telegraph: London

Wimbledon is in line for a switch of dates
By John Parsons (Filed: 09/07/2002)

The extraordinary rash of seeding upsets at Wimbledon this year, when only 12 of the 32 seeds for the men's singles survived to the third round, may well revitalise efforts to provide a third week of grasscourt preparation between the French Open and The Championships.

While acknowledging that the increasing depth of quality in men's tennis was also a rewarding factor, at least one source close to the Grand Slam committee feels that the oft-discussed extra time for players to have match practice on grass is now overdue.

Seeding upsets are, to some extent, the lifeblood of the Grand Slams. The emergence, seemingly from nowhere, of Argentina's immensely personable David Nalbandian was an enormous boost for all those claycourt players who sometimes feel modest about their prospects on grass.

At the same time the regular defeat of too many top names could, in the long run, have a negative impact on crowds and, even more importantly from a commercial point of view, the attitude of some television companies.

Not that Wimbledon suffered any lack of support through the turnstiles or from BBC television this year.

The attendance of 469,514 was the second highest on record, while BBC viewing figures showed an increase of 22 per cent on the previous year.

Tim Phillips, chairman of the All England Club, reported that "more people watched the Tim Henman-Michel Kratochvil match in the fourth round than BBC's coverage of the World Cup final".

For some years the club have indicated they would be willing to give serious consideration to starting the tournament a week later - though only if the players, who are forever complaining that two weeks is not enough time to acclimatise from the clay in Paris, officially made it clear that was what they wanted.

That has not so far been the case, mainly, it seems, because American and South American players do not want to add another week on to the 11 many of them can already be away from home from mid-April.

It was also thought unlikely that the United States Tennis Association would welcome losing a week of their summer season leading into the US Open in New York.

On the other hand, with an increasing number of top and mid-range American players tending to fly home for a week after Paris, a fresh idea has started circulating.

The suggestion is that the grasscourt event in Newport, Rhode Island, which has traditionally been played in the week after Wimbledon, should be brought forward to the week immediately after the French.

That would not only maintain the tournament weeks of tennis in the United States but provide American players with a more worthwhile week of matchplay on grass and make it possible for Wimbledon to be pushed forward a week. If this gains enough support, it might even happen by 2005.

from BBC Online

Wimbledon could shift to a week later in the calendar in order to give players more time to practice on grass, according to a report.

Players have long complained that the two-week break between the French Open and Wimbledon does not give them enough time to prepare for the grass-court season.

But the Daily Telegraph claims a new proposal, which involves changing the date of an American grass-court event, could solve the problem.

The Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, has traditionally been played in the week after Wimbledon.

But it could be moved to the week after the French Open instead, which would enable Wimbledon to be moved back by seven days.

That would give players a three-week gap between the slow clay courts of the French Open and the quick grass of Wimbledon.

The paper claims the move could happen as early as 2005.

Home comforts

Wimbledon has indicated for several years that if the players made an official request they would seriously think about moving the tournament back.

That has not happened so far because of a number of reasons, the most significant being that players from North and South America do not want to add another week to the 11 they already spend away from home.

It was also thought that the United States Tennis Association would not be happy to lose a week of their season in the run-up to the US Open.

However, with an increasing number of American players flying back to the US in the week after the French Open, the plan to move the Newport grass-court tournament is receiving increasing support

Jul 9th, 2002, 02:40 PM
Not before 2005?? surely it could be placed in the schedule next year or at worst 2004...

Why would it take so long to make a small change to the schedule???

Jul 9th, 2002, 02:42 PM
how long have they been saying this? :rolleyes: :rolleyes: i'll believe it when it actually happens.

thanks for the articles Egg ;)

Jul 9th, 2002, 02:44 PM
because their British thats why...

The Crow
Jul 9th, 2002, 02:45 PM
I don't see the relation with top seeds going out early though :confused:

Ted of Teds Tennis
Jul 9th, 2002, 02:47 PM
Why should the USTA be worried about losing a week of the summer hardcourt season? There are currently two weeks with no WTA events between Wimbledon and the first American event (Stanford).

Jul 9th, 2002, 03:03 PM
Why don't they move Roland Garros forward a week? There's a huge gap between the Australian and RG.

Jul 9th, 2002, 04:14 PM
too many big clay events before RG

week after Wimbledon is the dead zone until US Hardcourt season starts

Jul 9th, 2002, 06:59 PM
The sooner 2005 because TV rights.

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Jul 9th, 2002, 07:58 PM
This is so stupid...last year they were saying it would happen in 2003.

Now they are saying 2005???? Get real.....it will never happen.

Jul 9th, 2002, 09:57 PM
I always thought the Rhode Island event would be good right afdter the french but I didn't think anyone else would go for it.

Jul 9th, 2002, 11:36 PM
Same old thing year after year!
Roof over centre court......
Not enough time between French open and Wimbledon!
All words and no action......eventually even if something does happen it will probably take 10 years!
That's how it always goes with these things!

Brian Stewart
Jul 9th, 2002, 11:41 PM
I've been hearing the same old song and dance for decades. I, too, will believe it when it happens. A telling point could be this paragraph from the first article:

"At the same time the regular defeat of too many top names could, in the long run, have a negative impact on crowds and, even more importantly from a commercial point of view, the attitude of some television companies."

NBC and TNT have offered Wimbledon less money than the recently-expired contract in renewal talks. And there aren't any other networks looking to rush in and outbid them. Money talks.

Jul 10th, 2002, 12:38 AM
They're praying. I was listening to Mary Carillo and John McEnroe and they pointed out a very simple fact. The top 200 men know how to hold serve. They're not 'unbreakable', but they don't give away their serves. Put Monica or Jen or Venus or Serena or Lindsay on one side of the net, and 8 times out of ten, if they're playing someone outside the top ten, it's a straight set victory. Because the players outside the top ten DON'T know how to hold serve. And the big returners destroy them. And extra week of prep won't change the fact that the clay court players on the men's side don't play as well on grass.

Wooden rackets would help.

Pamela Shriver
Jul 10th, 2002, 12:57 AM
As long as it doesn't clash with my wedding anniversary and does clash with my birthday (l love my birthday bashes with Sue Barker and Ginny!) I don't care when it is.

Jul 10th, 2002, 03:07 AM
I can't beleive it hasn't happened earlier.
It is such a good idea- I really can't see why the Us Open tournies would be upset- I don't think it would make a difference to them. If worst came to worst, Myabe one of the hardcourt events could be transferred to the end of year before Chase Chamionships, but I don't even think that would be needed

Jul 10th, 2002, 03:48 AM
The Newport tournament should definitely be the week after RG. Has it occurred to the people who make the ATP tourney schedule why Newport has consistently shit draws and why you didn't even need a ranking to enter the qualifying this year? Who is going to play in a grass tournament after Wimbledon unless

a)You're in desperate need of quick, cheap, and easy ranking points (this tourney is the Tashkent Open of the WTA)

b) You have a grass court fetish like Alexandra Stevenson

Playing in a grass court event after Wimbledon is really a waste of time. The Newport tournament is a lot of fun to go to, and could definitely attract some big names if they used smarter scheduling