ATP d Hamburg in Landmark Jury Trial
On Tuesday a jury in Delaware cleared the ATP and rejected antitrust claims by the Masters Series-Hamburg event, which was attempting to avoid being demoted from Masters Series status.
Jurors deliberated about nine hours before upholding the ATP’s right to change its own calendar, moving the Hamburg event from its French Open run-up position in May until after the French in July.
Jurors ruled unanimously in favor of the ATP.
“The ATP is terrifically gratified with the decision,” said ATP attorney Bradley Ruskin, speaking to the AP. “ATP took the steps that it believed is right and is going to help improve the game of tennis.”
Robert MacGill, an attorney for the German federation, declined to comment.
The ATP plans to rename the Masters Series events either “1000″ or “Masters Series 1000,” and “500″ or “Masters Series 500″ for the second-tier events. The ATP was planning on using only numbers for the levels of events, which came under much ridicule.
Under the new calendar, Madrid and Rome will be the only claycourt Masters tournaments leading up to the French Open.
“This move to this time ruins us,” MacGill told jurors in closing arguments.
It is uncertain whether Hamburg will stay as a lower-tier event or take its tennis ball and go home. Hamburg has been a top-level event since its beginning in 1974, boasting former champions Guillermo Vilas, Yannick Noah, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Michael Stich, Marcelo Rios, Gustavo Kuerten, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Both Federer and Nadal were proponents of keeping Hamburg as a top-level Masters Series event.
Also Check Out:
Nadal, Federer Pass on Hamburg
Williams Trial Concludes; ATP, WTA Under Fire
Tennis-X Wrap: Murray, Safina Win; ATP in Trouble
Djokovic out for No. 2 Ranking; Nadal out for Blood in Hamburg
Nadal Captures First Hamburg Crown; Halts Federer German Dominance