After complaints by world No. 1 Roger Federer and other top players regarding back-to-back weeks of Masters Series events on the ATP calendar, there was a peculiar vote by player representatives to uphold the event’s calendar positions on the planned 2009 schedule.
At the ATP Player Council meeting this week during the French Open, ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers convinced Player Council members Ivan Ljubicic, James Blake, Thomas Johansson, Kevin Ullyett, Bob Bryan, Paul Goldstein, Riccardo Piatti, David Adams, and player representatives Iggy Jovanovic, Perry Rogers, Jacco Eltingh of the advantages of the back-to-back newly-christened “Masters 1000” events.
The ATP calendar currently has back-to-back Masters Series hardcourt events in March at Indian Wells and Miami, albeit with a few days rest for players before the Miami start, and back-to-back events without any rest on clay in May at Rome and Hamburg during the lead-up to the French Open.
In August the calendar has another set of back-to-back hardcourt events without a rest at Montreal/Toronto and Cincinnati.
There is also the current controversy on the men’s circuit as the ATP attempts to trim their Masters Series/Masters 1000 roster of the events in Monte Carlo and Hamburg, while at the same time many of the top players such as Federer and Rafael Nadal have rallied to protect the status of the storied events.
In defending the back-to-back events you have to believe de Villiers spun a smooth presentation of tennis’ media opportunities during the consecutive week events, and opportunities to possibly make some of the events co-ed to create Slam-like events.
Also discussed was allowing the Masters Series-Indian Wells event a Thursday start in the future, and the ongoing negotiations to grant ATP points for Davis Cup play.
Blowback from the OK-ing for continued back-to-back Masters Series events in 2009 will likely come only from the top, since at the moment only Federer or Nadal seem able to contest finals in consecutive weeks at the top events, while losses by other players gives them the necessary rest. Doubles players can revel in the fact that another Player Council meeting went by without their sport being further slashed.
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