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Discussion Starter #1
Indian Wells, 2000, a stain of the WTA, regardless of what you think the reasons are. The Tour Chamionship match. Another pull-out. THis time, they found a better way.

It's was Anke's last tournament. So they had HER play a set with Serena (which Serena won 8-6). I think that might prove to be a solution for the crowds. Designate certain players "not-as-lucky'- losers. They'd asked, for a fee, to stay an extra day after their first loss, to play an exhibition set if there's going to be a walkover.

The tournament could designate more than one player, keeping the higher ranking players for later. This is strictly exhibition. If the 'nal'-loser wins, they don't go on in the tournament. But the crowd gets a good consolation prize, and the 'nal'-loser gets the fee for playing the match.

At Sanex for example, Serena played Anke.

But if it's a California tournament, and Lindsay loses in the QF's, she might agree to stay around a day, just in case there's a walkover, in which case she would play in the exhibition match.

If the tournament is in Australia, wouldn't the crowd rather see a set of Alicia Molik vs say Serena, than nothing at all. And extra couple grand inthe pot for the player staying for the potential exhibition is all it would take.

If the tournament is in Spain, they might choose Conchi regardless of ranking. This is all voluntary by the players, of course. But it might be a solution for walkovers.
 

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Interesting idea. How would the fees be decided? Would the audience feel compensated by watching an exhibition though?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Not really. The idea would be to use players they had a reason to see. A local favorite, or a veteran star who plays the tournament every year, so the fans know them. Even retired vets who are commentating could do it. It's just a way of giving the fans SOMETHING in an unfortunate situation. Having Anke play Serena was a GREAT solution, given she was retiring and the tournament was in Germany. As for compensation, pay them the same as a 1st round win or so. The players should understand that this is to HELP the tour.
 

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I like it Vesuvius. <img src="wink.gif" border="0">
 

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A pretty good suggestion. Something is better than nothing. In an exo, the players could relax and play better tennis.

But this was the last match of the year. Would the players agree to it in the middle of a season, with the risk of injury?

I've had a proposal which gives the fans (and TV networks) a match that counts, where both players have something at stake. Whenever a player is unable to go, her place is taken by the player she beat in the previous round. If that player is no longer on site, then they'd go down the list of all of the players to lose in the previous round, in descending ranking order. If none of them are available, either go down the list of doubles players still around, in descending order of singles ranking, or any singles players hanging around, regardless of when they lost, with priority in ranking order.

Once a substitute is found, the payout must be determined. A couple of thousand could be put back for this "insurance". In fact, it could be part of a tournament insurance policy. This would be paid when the match is completed. Perhaps the highest ranked loser in the prior round could be put on "retainer" for this purpose, giving her enough money to more than cover the expense of staying an extra day (if she's not still in doubles).

Now, as to the match itself, it would be legit, just like any other match. The replacement player goes into the main draw in place of the injured player. From that point on, whatever additional ranking points and prize money are accumulated by the replacement are evenly split between her and the player she replaced. Why a split? The substitute deserves a reward for her efforts, and her helping out the tourney. The injured player deserves her half because her withdrawal gave the substitute a second chance. And if you don't offer something to the player who withdrew, she'll just go out on court, receive serve, then retire from the match. That's not really any better than a default. However, if the substitute doesn't win any matches, there's nothing to split. (The sub just gets the fee for playing the match.)

Winners: virtually everyone. The tournament, the tour, and TV have a match to show, and it's a real match with both players trying their best to win, and which will count in the rankings. The substitute and the injured player get an opportunity to gain points and money that wasn't there. The only one that loses out is the player who would have advanced via walkover, and now has to play her way to the next round. But that's not a big problem, because you go into tournaments expecting to have to play every round anyway.

A bonus incentive to the substitute could be that should she lose that first match, it won't count against her in the won/lost record. That would be up to the players to decide when such a rule is added. (However, if the sub wins a match, they all count.) So what would keep a player from thinking "I can't beat Jane Doe. I'll fake an injury so I can send someone else to play her." Nothing. But if a player would be going into a match thinking that she had no chance of winning, it would not likely be a good match anyway. You'd be better off with a sub.
 

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An intersting idea but would players be willing to saty another day to play an exhebition match if they have another tourney the next week i think they would rather rest!
 

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Well, a solution I heard on the radio, the other night, from Paul McNamee, which is pretty similar to that of brian's.. Infact, reading Brian's again, it is the same ...

Using the Lindsay event as an example.. well Kim (as she was the player to lose to Lindsay)would play Serena in the final, in a double or nothing situation.. If she wins she gets the pts for winning and the prizemoney, if she loses she just gets what she was oringinally going to get, semis money, and pts.. So atleast Kim knows she can get something out of it..

As for Lindsay she would still get, finalists pt and Prizemoney.. the only problem is that, if Kim does win the event, the tournament has to find the extra cash..<br />But atleast you will get a competitive match, well a match which means something..

The same would apply to any other incident in, which a player wins a match is unable to play the next rd..

This Idea has some merit IMO...

[ November 10, 2001: Message edited by: ajayares ]</p>
 

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Great idea-and it's been done before as well. When<br />Chris Evert got a walkover in a Florida final in 1974, the crowd got to see Chrissie play Althea Gibson. Althea was in her 50's-but what a treat! <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

While I doubt a Davenport would stick around-the local favorite and juniors are perfect.
 

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Great idea. Maybe the top players wouldn't be willing to stick around - injury risk etc. - but local favourites would definitely please the crowd, And, even better, what about promising up and coming players? Or even juniors, if there are any around? They get a crack at a top name, in front of a huge crowd, with no money or points pressure. They'll get at the very least some experience, the crowd will be exposed to a potential future star, and everyone benefits.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Brian - I like your idea a lot. In fact, I'd say it's the direction the tour should eventually go. But my is cheaper and easier and faster to to implement. Yours puts out a better product, no question.

BTW, I believe the players would agree to exos because the player who won still knows she's in the next round. And it's still less work than she would have had in a real match. Sure, Anna K. isn't hanging around for 1st round money. And a player well known locally would be a lot more likely to plan an extended stay anyway. Also the #1 player for every college team in the country would sign up for a chance. You could ADVERTISE the possibility that a local player might play a top tenner. That sort of thing makes money by selling tickets, as opposed to TV revenue. Important to local tournaments.

Like I said, yours puts out a better product. But I think mine's more do-able, for being less ambitious. The WTA knows they can do this. They've just successfully DONE it. It shouldn't challenge them too much to formalize the process.
 
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