Djokovic Captures Masters Cup, Then Suffers Injury While Celebrating
by Sean Randall | November 17th, 2008, 5:14 pm
  • 139 Comments

Just when I thought Novak Djokovic had turned the corner, he goes back to his usual ways. Moments after capturing the second biggest title of his career (behind the Australian Open), Djokovic, the same guy who I thought was over the injury routine after the US Open, calls for the trainer during the post-match, on-court ceremonies.

Before you get on me for hating on Novak, he really did injure himself. I can’t make that up.

First, credit to Djokovic for hammering on Nikolay Davydenko like a rusty nail 6-1, 7-5 to become the first player since who knows when to drop a bagel set and still end up with Masters Cup title (and maybe the first guy to win the year-end event w/o defeating a former Slam champion along the way).

Djokovic has now closed to within 10 points of No. 2 Roger Federer and he could still overtake by the end of the year if he would only follow the lead of everyone else on the tour by playing more tournaments (more on that below).

Since I live in the U.S. and I try to keep normal sleeping times I was unable to see any of the final – excellent job by organizers in securing a U.S. cable channel, Fox Sports Net, that would show the final tape delayed at 2am Monday morning. Whose brilliant idea was that? Why not just have FSN televise it at 4am or even 5am? Hell, why bother showing it at all?

But let’s back to the main topic: Djokovic calling for the trainer because he hurt himself AFTER he won the title. How very Novak of him. Here’s what he said:

Q. I saw that the trainer came in after the match. Did you hurt yourself a little bit while celebrating your victory?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I hurt myself. I made a pretty big cut on my hand when I was celebrating with my team (smiling). I was bleeding during the ceremony. I didn’t know what to do, you know. I called the trainer a couple of times. I wanted to retire (laughter).
No, no. This is just a slight cut. But you don’t feel the pain in the moments of happiness.

Well, credit to Novak for not withdrawing from the ceremony, but next time he needs to be more careful when he goes up into the stands especially after beating a Russian with alleged ties to gambling and the mafia as some in the tennis world want us to believe.

So Novak starts the year on a high note and finishes on a high note, and with Rafael Nadal ailing and Federer focusing on the Slams in his elder years, Novak can really make a run at No. 1 next year. Will he get it? I don’t think so, but with this win he’s firmly back in the conversation.

As for the tour season, with the injuries to Nadal, Federer and even Andy Roddick top players and fans are again talking about the length of the calendar. Well, someone forget to tell about 90% of the tour that there’s this problem because just about all of them are still playing.

Just check out the Challenger Circuit on the ATP site.

Did you know that Fabrice Santoro (guess he’s not retiring) just won a title over Victor Hanescu in the Ukraine where Dmitry Tursunov was the top seed (guess that explains why he didn’t want to be a Shanghai alternate!)? Guillermo Canas, Igor Kunitsyn, Stefan Koubek were also at the event.

Vince Spadea was the top seed at last week’s Champaign Challenger which was won by Las Vegas-titlist Kevin Anderson.

In Columbia, Nicolas Lapentti and Nicolas Massu both surfaced for the $35,000 Medellin Challenger. Leonardo Mayer beat Sergio Roitman in that final. Both Lapentti and Massu lost second round collecting a total of $1200! That’s right, they each got a whopping $600. See, they really play for the love of the game.

And at the Jersey Challenger in England, Andreas Beck was upset by Andrian Mannarino in the final. Chris Guiccione was the top seed in that field which also featured Dominik Hrbaty, Simon Greul and George “I Beat Pete” Bastl.

And the tour rolls on this week.

In Finland seven of the top eight seeds are ranked in the Top 100 including three in the Top 50 with Turusnov, Jarrko Nieminen and Kunitsyn.

In Knoxville, top-seeded Spadea is joined by Frank Dancevic, Wayne Odesnik, Bobby Reynolds and Ramon Delgado.

So if you thought the season was over, think again. And if you are of the belief that the season is too long, maybe it’s too short…


Also Check Out:
Foot Pain Forces Serena Williams Out of Linz
Andy Murray Admits: “I Swear On Court Regularly”
Federer Locks Up No. 1 A Little Longer, Faces Cilic Friday; Djokovic, Murray Charge Ahead In Shanghai
Nadal Captures First Hamburg Crown; Halts Federer German Dominance
Injured Serena Takes the Money and Limps Home at WTA Marbella

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139 Comments for Djokovic Captures Masters Cup, Then Suffers Injury While Celebrating

gulu Says:

Is the injury going to affect Nole’s play anyway next year? I hope it doesn’t !


zola Says:

Sean,
this was funny! and you seem not to be able to get the fact that players get injuired “when they play”!
90% of the players do not play 93 matches per year!

If the number of injuries of top 10 players doesn’t mean anything to sportswriters, I don’t know what will!


hannah Says:

In fact, Sean, I loved this. It was funny. And the Djoker does have a good chance next year……


Danica Says:

“As for the tour season, with the injuries to Nadal, Federer and even Andy Roddick top players and fans are again talking about the length of the calendar. Well, someone forget to tell about 90% of the tour that there’s this problem because just about all of them are still playing.”

Well, 90% of the players do not play that many matches. They may enter as many tournaments but they exit in the first rounds thus not having to play almost evey day. Rafa’s clay season this year was just crazy.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“..which was won by Las Vegas-titlist Kevin Anderson.”

Wasn’t Sam the winner of the Vegas title this year? Let’s not deprive Sam of his only title.

Kudos for pounding your head against some of the brick walls, but I say ATP should keep the calendar and those players who don’t like it are in the minority. As Mr. Spock said: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, and in the case of the calendar, we should insert the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, two or maybe 3. The top ranked have already made their big bucks, (perhaps a trip back in time would refresh their memories of their days of struggle where a fex extra buks made a difference) so let’s afford the little peons the opportunity to make some bucks without the top candidates grabbing it all. Share the spoils, live and let others live.

Again, it all revolves around choices — if an athlete doesn’t need the cash, take a vacation; if he’s injured remain in bed; and if he’s bogged down in his mind by the schedule, which is only hectic because busyness is a state of mind, then take up needlepoint. Choices, choices, and more choices; you name them, they’ve got em, and some pretty darn good ones at that. I wish i had someone bring me a towel each time i wanted to wipe my face/hands. I’m positive even the Queen of England can find her way to the towel rack. LOL


sheila Says:

all i can say is i hope roger wins @ least 2 slams in 2009 because i want 2c him break sampras’ record. i don’t think people are writing djokovic off for #1 spot. it seems federer is being written off. i watched the match btwn roger and murray in shanghai and if federer was not playing @ 100% he sure played great. so imagine if he is playing @ 100% in 2009. actually i think federer is becoming the underdog to murray, nadal & djokovic in 2009. i hope he proves them wrong and wins some slams and takes the #1 ranking back. that would make my year!!!!!


zola Says:

Danica,
lovely post at 7:25 pm.Thanks.

It is telling when even Federer gets injured! The 90% who are out before the QF can play even up to 33 tournamnents. Rafa played 93 matches in 20 tournaments!

It is some logic to say: we don’t care about the top 10! they simply can choose not to play!
Well, those 10% bring the money to the tour. On top of that, ATP fines them with ranking points and money if they do not play.
I am glad to see Rafa, Federer, Roddick, Murray and Blake ( incidently all in that 10%) voice their concern about the long season, of course up to now to deaf ears!


gulu Says:

And mine too Sheila !!! :-)


Von Says:

This calendar situation and mandatory tournaments has become drastically devoid of reason. On one hand people are saying it’s ATP’s fault for players becoming injured due to a lengthy season, comprising of 8 MS and 4 GS, which can be the end of a player’s season if they so choose. And on the other hand, we have the players, of their own free will playing in non-mandatory tournaments, even though injured to gain points. It is rumored that Federer and Murray will play in Doha and Djokovic will play in Bribane, prior to the AO. How so? When did ATP make Doha and Brisbane compulsory? And if participation in these two non-mandatory tourneys is not adding to the players already packed schedule then what is? The same players who are complaining, are the ones adding tournaments to their schedule. I suppose there must be a method to their madness because I don’t see such. How can ATP listen to the players who complain about the calendar, when they contradict themselves by their own actions. I’m befuddled. i think it’s the players who are thinking irrationally, and not ATP.


zola Says:

hey gulu dear,
Fed should be proud to have so many faithful fans. Let’s hope they all get over their injuries and come back 100% in 2009. It will be a very exciting year.

Hope to see more Rafa-Fed slam finals in 2009.


Ezorra Says:

gulu:

Are you from India? You know what, I love Hindustan movies so much! :P Kabhi Kushi Khabi Gham, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Vivaah, Maan son on and so forth… Very entertaining and touching as well!
- Kajol is one of the best Indian actresses ever! Love her so much! Hehehe :P


gulu Says:

Thanks dear Zola & I’m dying to see some more Fed-Rafa matches at slams next year with the only thing being that I want Fed to win ! ;-) Whatever happens in the future, I can take heart from the fact,you’d be with me in moments of agony & ecstacy ! :-)


gulu Says:

Where are you from Ezorra ? I’m surprised that you watch Hindi movies! I thought none cares about them ! May be you are loving the family pictures !
Unfortunately today’s Hindi movies are bent on destroying our Indian, particularly Hindu social fabric !


gulu Says:

Ezorra, I’m proud to say that though,we Indians don’t have the $$$, our family bonding,which is the world’s best, gives us utmost peace & happiness ! Life’s a joy only when you are assured of the greatest care & love from your family,nothing’s better !


gulu Says:

Ezorra ,I must say I’m stunned to hear names of Indian movies from you! Where are you from? I see that you are probably inclined towards the Indian family movies ! Have you seen Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge,you’d like it very much I guess ! ;-)


Twocents Says:

Danica,

Federer played two more matches than Nadal in 2008 clay season (in Roma when Nadal was bumped out 1st round).

Zola,

Don’t you think there’d be no top 10 if there’s no other 90% ATP players? Their interest is every bit of importance to pro tennis as top 10, imo. I certainly go with Von on calendar “issue”: it’s not ATP’s problem.

On 2008 TMC,

Some fans complained about Shanghai crowd not applausd Murray enough at the end of the fed-murray match. Valid point. Takes two to finish a close and thrilling match. From my own attendence at Shanghai TMC, howeer, people there actually always cheer for underdog, even though they are pro fed. In 2007, Gozo receied a full house roaring cheering when he sealed match point, making some fed fans sick :-)). This year, Giles Simon became an instant star in Shanghai the minute he defeated Fed. So I don’t see fans in Shanghai any differnt from other places. Local fans described their sadness that night on Fed’s loss as ” loss of faith”. Which strikes me of David Foster’s “religious experience”. Very few people in China have read Foster’s piece on Fed (back in 2006?) However, they come up with such similar thing! It’s a small world indeed. Just like New York crowd this year was so pro fed, Shanghai crowd too wished to have Fed longer in the last TMC there. Thus the deafening silence upon end of the match…


jane Says:

I like Devdas, Rang de Basanti, Main Hoon Na, and Jodhaa Akbar to name a few – Bollywood films rule!

Are there any with tennis players? ;-) !


Ezorra Says:

gulu;

I’m from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and as Malaysian, we love Indian movies (especially hindustan movies) so much. For your info, there are 3 major races in my country – Malay, Indian and Chinese. I am Malay but many of my friends are Indian. I like Indian food too (especially chicken curry, tosai, dhal and many more!).

I’ve to admit that I am very admiring the relationship of Indian family in my country. I think it’s amazing to see how close you’re towards each other! Yes, we do need money for our lives but its nothing to be compared with family bonding, right?

Ps: Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge? Are you kidding? It’s definitely one of my favourites! Shah Rukh Khan + Kajol…. What can I say? They are legend man, LEGEND!


zola Says:

Twocents,
You are right. every player is important. The top 10 won’t be there if there isn’t a tour. and a tour can’t make money of there are not top players.

This is a problem. when 5 out of 10 of the best players in the world complain about something, thre must be some merit into it. These are the guys who play QF, SF and the finals and then have to pack and fly to another city or continent to do the same. Someone who has lost in the first round, has a week to recover after two hours of play. Someone who played the final has two days to recover ( and fly) after at least 14 hours of play.

This is just one issue. The surfaces, the way the calendar is designed ( two months between AO and IW and then two weeks betwen FO and wimbledon), among many other things, do contribute to the injuries.

well, some people’s rational comes from personal issues, others look at the broader picture. All I can say is that I like to see these players for as long as possible. It is unfortunate to lose players to injury. Again, it should be very telling when someone like Federer gets injured. His game is perfect for the hard courts, he is as careful about his fitness as can be and has played 19 tournaments ( 20 with Shanghai).


zola Says:

oh, I don’t know any Bollywood movies, but I know this lady: Aishwariya Rai!
Isn’t she just gorgeous?

http://www.hollywood-celebrity-pictures.com/Celebrities/Aishwarya-Rai/Aishwarya-Rai-2.JPG


gulu Says:

Jane, again a surprise for me to know that you have seen and like Jodha Akbar !
Well, the hero in that movie-Hritik :-) was looking awful by his standards ! See his movie ‘Kaho Na Pyar Hai’ & you’d know how handsome he really is,he’s my favourite!!! :-)


gulu Says:

However all of you’d not be glad to know that I hate to call the Hindi film industry by the name of bollywood,sounds damn odd-like a pirated form of Hollywood,actually it is to an extent ! Bollywood? Huh !


gulu Says:

Hi Zola dear ! :-) Can you tell me which country you are from ? Are you from Spain ?


jane Says:

gulu, no offense meant by the Bollywood name – that’s just how some Hindi films have come to be known in the US and Canada. I know that India has an excellent, long and unique film history – and culture! with great food! – so no slight was meant. I’ll check out that other film you’ve mentioned. I also liked Kuch Kuch Hota Hai!


RG Says:

jane – fyi. I did respond to you on the previous thread about Novak. Cheers!


gulu Says:

Oh come on dear Jane,I know you don’t mean any offense to hindi movies !
It’s the stupid Indians who always pronounce this name for their film industry,thereby failing to realize,it sucks to sound like a fake and hollow version of the Great Hollywood !


gulu Says:

Dear Jane,never ever think that I’d doubt your intentions ! You have become one of my best friends and I truly respect you and love you too ! It’s my good fortune that now I have a friend like you ! Many cheers for our friendship !!! :-) :-o :-o :-)


Von Says:

Twocents:

Glad to know that there’s someone else who possess some logical thinking and realize that the ATP/calendar cannot be blamed for a player’s injuries. The players are responsible for their schedules and have to look out for themelves.

Federer being thrown into this injury situtation is just a means to strengthen an argument on another’s behalf. Federer emphatically stated in Paris that his back problem is nothing new and should not cause alarm, as he’s had this problem before in the past. Thus, enlarging upon Fed’s injury is kind of moot and makes for a baseless argument.

The big brou-hah-ha over the clay season, is just a lot of nonsense. If one were to realistically look at the portion of the calendar that’s the cause of the problem, it’s obvious that the clay season that’s crazy for Nadal is mainly his doing. Arguments are made with respect to penalities of fines and points, but this need not be so. For instance, IW and Miami are a 96 player draw as opposed to Rome and Hamburg (now Madrid) which are 56 player draws. Since this is the case, shouldn’t IW and Miami be allotted more time for both tournaments, due to Miami being dubbed the “5th slam”? Why should IW and Miami be moved and or shortened because some feel these tournaments are of lesser importance with respect to surface, and find lame excuses, vis-a-vis, that hardcourts cause more injuries? Or is it because they are hard courts, the clay court specialists find it difficult to collect more points?

It is claimed that the clay season is too compact and the other tournaments should be moved around to accommodate same, due to clay’s importance. However, if we were to realistically look at the clay tournaments, their imoportance and the ramifications involved if a player were to not play in the mandatory tournaments, it would seem that the arguments set forth are infinitesimal. To begin with, (going by this year’s calendar) Monte Carlo, a non-mandatory tourney begins April 20, which is followed by Rome on May 5th and Hamburg on May 11th, and then RG/FO on May 25th. Hence from April 20th through May 25th there really are only THREE (3) mandatory tournaments. Two (2) MS, Rome and Hamburg, back to back, with a one week break to RG/FO. How crazy a schedule is that? Barcelona which is wedged between Monte Carlo and Rome is a non-mandatory tournament. In essence what we have are two non-mandatoery/ optional tournaments Monte Carlo and Barcelona, back to back, followed by two mandatorY MS tourneys back to back, and a GS.

Nadal played in Monte Carlo, singlles and doubles, and Barcelona, of his own free will, even though he was experiencing blisters. How could this be ATP’s fault or problem? I’m sorry I don’t see the correlation or the logic.

The other players who are being cited with respect to speaking up concerning the calendar and the season’s length, are merely incidental. Roddick has suddenly become important, but he has in the past stated that he’d like to see the calendar shortenened, but then he has qualified that statement by stating he realizes that he’s responsible for his own schedule and has taken the necessary precautions not to over play and cause physical burn out. Blake and Murray don’t really have much of an excuse, because no one forced them to play as many tournaments. It’s more a matter of unificaion than an inconvenience. If they really wanted down time they could cut back their schedules to just the 8 MS and 4 GS, and they certainly would not be playing in exhos. Murray stated he would like the season to end after the uSO, then apart from the two MS tourneys, mMdrid and Paris, why did he play in St. Ppetersburg? He’ll also be playing in Doha at the end of December. Blake will be playing in the Asian exhos with Fed.

It’s a shame Nadal has suffered some injuries and this has upset his fans, but by no means is it any fault of the ATP’s. Both Nadal and Federer have reached a point in their careers that they can be choosy as to which tournments they play. However, there are other players who do not have that luxury and should be afforded the opportunity to play in as many tournaments as they necessarily see fit to earn a decent living. To look at the situation from a selfish vantage point of not wanting one player to be injured while the majority have to suffer is unfair.


gretchen Says:

None of the players who want to be in the top positions are just going to play the 9 Masters Series (there were 9 this year at least) and 4 Grand Slams and call it quits. They’re going to play those International Series in order to bump up their scores for the rankings. It’s a decision they make, yes, but if they want to be at the top, that’s what they need to do to be competitive. Period. And I don’t think they’re crazy for thinking an 11-month season is a bit long. What exactly can be done about it? I’m not sure, but I don’t think it’s fair to be like “shut up and get over it” when we have no idea what it’s like to be on the tour. If anything I think the fact that the ATP is sort of pushing the players’ opinions to the side is what is pissing the players off more than anything else. They feel like they’re not being listened to – how would that not irritate you?

It’s apparent you have a specific problem with Nadal, but many players at the top have talked about the length of the season being a source of contention. And I don’t think it’s just the “clay court specialists” (I assume Rafa is not being lumped into this category, as I would hardly categorize him as such) who find the calendar troubling. I don’t know what’s wrong with the players voicing their concerns. I’d be pissed off to if I felt I was being ignored – especially by the “suits” who don’t have to play a single match!!

Anyways, that’s my 2 cents on the manner.


jane Says:

Thanks gulu – I am happy to know all is okay. Many Smiles :-)


Von Says:

“It’s apparent you have a specific problem with Nadal, but many players at the top have talked about the length of the season being a source of contention.”

I don’t have a problem with any one specific player, especially Nadal. My point is simple. Nadal is the player that’s injured at the present time and a few of his fans are claiming that the calendar is to be blamed for his injuries. My argument, is how could the calendar be responsible for a player’s injuries. It’s up to the players to do what’s best for them. If they feel that they are injured, then don’t play. You can’t have it both ways. If a player decides to play while being injured, then don’t complain about it. To ask ATP to rearrange the calendar because of a few players is unfair. What about the lower ranked players, don’t they have feelings too?

There are players on the council, why don’t they put forth their suggestions to ATP. Playing an extensive schedule is not going to receive ATP’s attention — they’ll just think that the players are complaining for the sake of so doing.

I doubt whether you’ll see my point of view because from your statement “It’s apparent you have a specific problem with Nadal”, tells me you are not looking at the whole picture and feel I’m just speaking because I have some problem or the other with Nadal. If that’s the way you feel about anyone’s opinion on the matter of nadal’s injuries, then it’s obvious you’re not going to see the situation for what it is. why is it when people airtheir views it’s automaticlly deemed that they dislike/hate/ and/or have a problem with the player? Isn’t objectivity a factor?


gretchen Says:

I do see your point of view and I am simply disagreeing with it. I do think it’s apparent that you have a problem with Nadal, he was the main focus of your post. A lot of players have problems with the calendar, so I would think the ATP would take that into consideration. The WTA is experiencing similar problems. The players feel nobody is listening to them and now they have more required tournaments and bigger penalties for not playing. I maintain my opinion that I see no problem with the any of the players voicing their concerns. But their voices have fallen on deaf ears, even those of the players on the council. That’s what people are pissed about. That’s the whole deal. What’s the point of having a players council if nobody gives a damn what they think?


redux Says:

Hi, gretchen.

If I may interject, I’ve read Von’s post and it is fairly clear that it does not express any specific problem with Rafa Nadal. The post is citing Rafa as an example of players at the very top who suffer some type of injury and then complain about the schedule, and then Von argues that they themselves can help prevent these situations by not overplaying (example: Rafa in ’08 playing five clay tournaments in six weeks, including doubles!). It is not only about clay, either. The top players (examples: Rafa, Fed) are in a position where they can choose to occasionally skip the lower-tier tournaments for their own season-longevity benefits (occasional examples: Barcelona, Estoril, Basel, Stuttgart, Tokyo, Bangkok). From one season to the next, they should choose carefully what to play and what to avoid. Playing everything is a bad idea if it continues year after year.


redux Says:

also, top players can voice their concerns rightfully about the calendar, but regular tour players (majority) will be voicing their concerns when their season is cut short, thereby depriving them of many tournaments upon which they depend to carry on their careers. If regular tour players didn’t exist, there would be no Tour, no sport. The MS events and Slams are almost exclusively won by top-ten players.


gretchen Says:

I think this may be a case where we can agree to disagree, which is fine! The players may indeed end up being choosier about what events to play and what to skip, and as a result we’ll see a lot more withdrawals from tourneys, sparse draws, ticked off tournament directors and disappointed fans. Oh well.

As far as the 5 clay tournaments Rafa played over a period of 6 weeks, 4 of those were mandatory (3 MS and 1 GS). Barcelona is something special to him, one of the ATP’s stops in Spain and something he’s won 4 years in row. You can hardly fault him for being loyal to them. It’s like Basel for Federer or Valencia for Ferrer or Moscow for Safin, you get the idea. I mean, come on. It’s special, it means something. And yeah, maybe they just say “sorry, can’t” this year. I don’t know. I’m not saying there’s an easy solution. But I respect that those kinds of decisions aren’t easy to make. And it can’t feel any better when the Tour says “mmm don’t care.”


redux Says:

I understand you, gretchen.
Remember 2006 when both Federer and Nadal skipped Hamburg to recover in time for Roland Garros? They have the option of skipping one (or is it two?) of the MS events during the season. Is this no longer possible? Federer routinely skipped MS Paris until last year. Rafa did this, too.


lucy Says:

I agree %100 percent with you Gretchen. I believe 2009 season all 9 MS are mandatory.


redux Says:

If all 9 MS events are mandatory starting in 2009, then the top players will wisely eliminate certain prospective Intl.-Series tournaments from their schedules to make up for the busy calendar they will already have. Those who lose in earlier rounds will probably opt to play extra tournaments.


grendel Says:

As a parting shot, so to speak, couldn’t resist posting this link:http://www.atptennis.com/en/mercedesbenz/archive_2008.asp

Check out the Santoro one in July. I’d bet my house that no one’s ever seen THIS shot before. Good old Santoro.


Sean Randall Says:

Redux (or anyone else), can you define what “mandatory” means in the tennis world. What’s the penalty for not playing (besides losing out on points)?

My point is, if there’s no real penalty of consequence then how is it mandatory.


Sean Randall Says:

And to add, my understanding was that the top players all played in Paris and Madrid so they could collect on their hefty bonus pool money. They didn’t have to play, but they didn’t want to miss out on another payday.


Sean Randall Says:

grendal, if and when Fabrice does retire (he did just win a title a few days ago!) he will be sorely missed!


Von Says:

gretchen:

“As far as the 5 clay tournaments Rafa played over a period of 6 weeks, 4 of those were mandatory (3 MS and 1 GS).”

Only TWO (2) MS tourneys were mandatory. Monte Carlo has not, as far as know, been a mandatory MS. Nadal plays Monte Carlo to keep up his points. Most people are under the impression that Monte Carlo is mandatory — it’s NOT.

The players aren’t going to miss out on playing the 9 mandatory MS tourneys, why would they? There’s a lot of points and money to be had/made. That would be like cutting off your nose to spoil your face. Well, if they don’t play, then one of the lower-ranked players will win something for a change, which is a good thing. The players live to play those tournaments. And, even though Monte Carlo is NOT a mandadatory MS, Nadal will, play it year after year, because of the points.

This year Nadal didn’t only play singles in Monte Carlo, he played doubles as well. How hard could the season have been, gretchen.

The fines they will lose if they don’t play is coffee money to them. They’ll make it up down the road by upping their appearance fee. They never come out as a loser. I’m sure they won’t give you or I the time of day if we were to lose an hour’s pay. Don’t sweat the samll stuff over them, they’re doing fine and the fans are the least thought on their minds before they go to sleep at night. Sorry, but that’s the way I see it.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“Mandatory” = “mandates”. A contract by which one party agrees to perform services for another without payment. Except in the case of the players they are paid and very well too, if I might add.

Out of curiosity, I just wonder how many players DIDN’T sign their contracts. I’d hazard a guess “0″.


gretchen Says:

redux:
yeah that sucked when both Fed and Rafa had to skip Hamburg after that wonderful final in Rome! I believe that’s what it was. Anyways, completely understandable that they needed a break, just really unfortunate they had to miss out on a Masters Series event because of their success the week before. Wah waaaaah…

lucy: thanks! :)

Sean:
I know what you’re getting at. No, the players won’t be kicked off the tour, banned for life, never to hold a racket again. However, I did find this very interesting:

The rule is as follows, ATP spokesperson Kris Dent told ESPN.com: “It is planned that next season players who withdraw from any of the eight mandatory ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, without fulfilling promotional activities or fulfilling requirements for an on-site withdrawal, will be suspended from a subsequent Masters 1000 event where the player earned the most points in the previous 12 months.”

Read the whole article here:
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/columns/story?columnist=kamakshi_tandon&id=3684481

To your point about so-called penalties, I would think that for most of the top players, losing out on points is a BIG penalty! There was a lot of drama this year at the end of the season, as far as points and rankings were concerned. Just think about what Tsonga achieved. Talk about right down to the wire! He wouldn’t have gone to TMC if he didn’t participate in – I mean WIN – Paris. Pretty incredible. I guess I’d like to think that the majority of the players simply love to compete! They want to be in the draws and they want to go deep into the tournaments. Sure there’s lots of money involved, and maybe I’m being really naive (sad!) but hopefully that’s not their only reason for showing up. Or maybe it is. Maybe they’re all shallow athletes who don’t give a crap about being the best tennis player they can be.


gretchen Says:

Von:

Monte Carlo has only just come off the mandatory list for the upcoming 2009 season. It was part of the 13 mandatory tournaments from previous seasons.


Von Says:

gretchen:

I’m positive Monte Carlo was NEVER a mandatory MS.

I’m not trying to be arbitrary about the top players, but from my years of working in corporations, believe me there’s always a loop-hole, and the players will find a way around the ATP mandates. I’m sure you know the saying: “The wiser the governemnt, the smarter the population”, and regardless of how nice and sweet a person may appear, money talks.

I’d like to see a fairer system in tennis where everything doesn’t revolve around the higher-ranked players and the lower-ranked players are not so poorly compensated and/or treated. You mentioned no-shows by the top players, just picture what a tournament would be like with no-shows from the lower-ranked players? They’re very important to the draw and more consideration should be given to them. The higher-ranked players can play in everything, e.g., GS, MS, AND the smaller tournaments. The lower-ranked players don’t have that prerogative; they’re confined to playing in their little tournaments, some of which are in the boonies, Timbuktu and/or off the beaten track. Cutting short the season hurts them monetarily in a huge way. How hurtful is it for the higher-ranked players to have a shorter season? Not a problem, just more vacation time to play exhos — isn’t that what some of them will be doing in the off-season? Hence, why should they care if the last 4 months of the year is filled up with small tournaments? The top ranked players should be concerned with their own schedule, which translates to 13 mandatory events, that’s all. No one will be breaking their arms to play more than that, hence, there shouldn’t be any problems, should ther?. They need to concentrate on their jobs, which is playing high quality tennis, and leave ATP to do its job. As opposed to the 80s era, the present day high-ranked players play less sets per tournament, are more highly remunerated and complain the most. Agassi won 17 MS shields playing 5 set finals. Sampras and past champions, also Fed, won their TMC trophies playing 5 sets. We now have only 3 sets. I think the real losers apart from the lower=ranked players are the fans who spend a ton of money to be entertained for approx. 90 minutes. That’s a shame, and still the players want more. Incredible. I want to hear them sing “i work hard for m money,” per tina Turner. :P


gretchen Says:

Von:

If Monte Carlo hasn’t been mandatory then the ATP’s website has been lying to me for years! :) They deem all 4 slams and all 9 (now 8) Masters Series as mandatory.

I understand what you’re saying about the gulf between higher-ranked players and lower-ranked players, and the lopsidedness of it all, but isn’t that sort of how the cookie crumbles? Either you’re up there, or you’re not. You’re down there, or you’re not. As long as there’s a ranking system, there will be this distinction between the players. I don’t see any way around that.

“The top ranked players should be concerned with their own schedule, which translates to 13 mandatory events, that’s all. No one will be breaking their arms to play more than that, hence, there shouldn’t be any problems, should there?”

Oh man could you imagine if the top 10 or even the top 20 only played the 13 mandatory events? If I were the likes of Marin Cilic or even Feliciano Lopez I’d be all over that! Hello sweet ranking points! They’d eat that up! And then you’d have a whole new set of top players. So I think these are the sort of things that the players have been/need to think about: Do you say screw it, I’m just focusing on the big events (which Fed has been quoted as saying, even citing winning another Wimbledon title as his main goal, above all other things for the year to come) or do you say I really wanna be a top 10, top 5, top 3 player? The number one player? So I think a lot of players at this point are just like, “Crap. What do I do?”

Oh and also I’m a little confused about the money sitch you speak of: “Cutting short the season hurts them [lower-ranked players] monetarily in a huge way.” Yeah the big names make the big bucks, but I don’t think anybody on that tour is hurting for cash. Even the “little guys.” I’m positive they make more money in a single paycheck than most people could ever dream of.

Anyways, it’s good to have this back and forth with other tennis fans. Thanks for your view point.


gretchen Says:

P.S. I don’t know where that sun-shade smiley face came from…that’s supposed to be a number 8. Apologies.


redux Says:

trivia:

Who is the only player ever to win Monte Carlo, Rome, and Hamburg in the same year?


tennismonger Says:

Muster? Vilas? Just guessing off the top of my head…


gretchen Says:

Nobody?


redux Says:

Jaroslav Drobny (1950)


Jack Says:

Oh man another injured player. How dull will 2009′s ATP matches be?


Von Says:

redux:

FYI – I know how much you love your Fed. Thanks for your input on the injuries/tournament/season discussion. Enjoy. :P

http://tennisplanet.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/federer-blake-exho-report-from-c-thanks/


redux Says:

Hey, Von, thanks for that link. The story is on the TennisNews site as well. btw, TP is the most Fedcentric site ever, more so than Fed’s official site! It’s insane, but I’m sure it’s heaven for Federer fans: Fed laughing, Fed crying, Fed goes out to dinner, Fed ties his shoes, Fed and Mirka… It’s funny! One other problem Federer has at the moment is his own crappy website. It could use some redesigning.

Von, have you found any recent info on next year’s opening-round Davis Cup meeting between USA and Switzerland? More specifically where it will be held? I think I read somewhere that it may be in San Antonio TX, Birmingham AL, Las Vegas NV, or Charlotte NC. What’s the story? One must imagine Roddick is going to relish this opportunity to take down his nemesis in front of a home crowd!


Twocents Says:

Zola,

Frankly, I don’t see any real conflicting here: as long as there is a pro tour, there will be topguns taking the best of the crops (deservingly). But if there is no pro tour (like China :-)), there’ll be no quality topguns, thus no worry whatsoever. Tour should outwieghs topguns, not the other way around. As Sean pointed out, while topguns are enjoying rest right now, field soliders are still plowing on, and I’m sure lots of them playing with jnjuries too.

ATP calendar was not, is not, and will never be perfect. Room for improvement as always. Players did/do/will complain. The argument I just can not buy is that beecoz Rafa Nadal was complaining about clay schedule, he got sidelined since Paris, he skipped TMC 08 and DC showdown, so ATP really should fix schedule. As Von pointd, Fed has been thrown in just as a supporting evidence, same as Roddick, Blake, etc…Fact is, none of top guns complained as often as Nadal. Thruout spring and summer, I heard Fed acknowledged this year’s calndar was tough due to Olympics. And when he puuld from Stockholm, he mentioned fatigue from demanding tour — just stating a fact. I don’t remember he complained anything about schedule in Paris and Shanghai. True, Nadal played the most matches, thus more tired. But he didn’t complain about winning FO &WO & Olympics & securing no.1, did he? There’s no free lunch. You can’t have cakes and eat them as well. Something got to give.

I respect Rafa’s decision to pull out TMC and DC. It’s a smart decision giving that it’ll enhance his AO chance greatly. I’m ok with complains from him and Uncle Toni too. They have every rights. That doesn’t mean I buy all their complains. It’d be super that Nadal went on winning Paris Indoor, TMC08, DC final, AO09, with no fatigue/injury, right? This is pro sports we talk about, not Hollywood/Bollywood :-)). Roddick took the hits when he dropped Olympics. Fed took the hits when he dropped DC. Fed always said he wanted Olympic Gold and he went for it again and again. When Rafa played Olympics, we heard tons of schedule issues. When Rafa dropped out of DC, we heard again it’s ATP’s fault…

I do respect more the old way of commitment and responsibility proud of topguns. Fed saved TMC05 on one leg, ending his own various winning streak. He told fans in Shanghai that the game is bigger than any super star. TMC08 was for the first time without no.1. But all attending players were doing their best to make it as success. Roddick notified Step about his pulling out the minute he twistd his ankle, just to make sure Step had time (to find socks, racquets, lenses) to get ready. Had he indulged in his own misfortune of missing a good win over Fed, Step/Kiefer might fail to step on court. YEC/ATP/ITF would hav suffered big credit downgrading, which can’t be good for pro tennis. The insiders revealed later that Fed was too weak on Tuesday to even tie his shoelaces. Thus all the rumours of his retirement from the tournament. But he stepped on court facing Step on Wednesday. Murray played his gut out in a match that he didn’t have to win. Smart? not really. But tennis the sports is honored!

Lots of bashings on fed’s exhibitions in Asia. While I don’t think it’s smart, I do see it goes with Fed’s huge inner respect to the game and its history. Remeber Sampras, Borg, Mac the past greats want to do these exh’s, why not give these past greats limelight and cash when possible? They, even though contributed so much to the game, are not as easy to get attention as when they were at the top. And by gentleman’s code: if you commit something, stick to it. besides, they’re just exh’s… Again, I don’t think it’s smart. But Fed makes his choices, and he’s not blaming ATP for it.


redux Says:

The initial impression of the Asia exhibition with Borg-J.Mac-Blake was that it would not take much out of Federer, and Fed must have felt certain of this. Excellent decision by him to avoid exhibitions in ’09. Everybody, I hope, gets to decompress, recuperate, and come back fresh “dan undah” in January.


JJFAN Says:

Von says:

This calendar situation and mandatory tournaments has become drastically devoid of reason. It is rumored that Federer and Murray will play in Doha and Djokovic will play in Bribane, prior to the AO. How so? When did ATP make Doha and Brisbane compulsory?

JJFAN says:

Last year Doha had prize money more than twice that of the typical Int’l series tournament. Murray won that one, but guess what?…with the physical demands of that tournament and traveling to get from Qatar to Australia Murray goes out of the AO early.

By “Brisbane”, I believe you must mean Adelaide or Sydney, held in the weeks before the AO in Melbourne. Otherwise, I’m not following you. To play a warm up tourney in Australia a week before the Open is hardly controversial. It’s as if there is something wrong with going early to England and playing on grass as a tune up for Wimbledon.


JJFAN Says:

The top players who make the semifinals or higher in most tournaments are playing many more matches with fewer days rest between tournaments than any of the others. They also wind up playing more grueling, competitive, sometimes long matches with zero days rest between them as they approach the finals level. These are the guys that are taking the real pounding. At a minimum, they should face no back to back mandatory appearances nor any fines for dropping a date immediately after a finals appearance. If they cannot manage their schedules, they cannot manage their injuries.


Red Says:

I so enjoyed your take on Tennis – hilarious and refreshingly real. Nojoke (as I prefer to call him) is as big a crybaby as Yankovicz … are Serbs notorious for crying like Montel during sweeps week?


zola Says:

Two cents

***The argument I just can not buy is that beecoz Rafa Nadal was complaining about clay schedule, he got sidelined since Paris, he skipped TMC 08 and DC showdown, so ATP really should fix schedule.***

Did I invent Fed’s or Roddick’s injury or Blake’s comments? It is not me.It is them! the players who are talking. But I think your bias against Nadal prevents you from seeing the big picture. I am sorry!

I agree, the ATP calendar will never be perfect, but it can be tweaked and improved. The players are not happy with the ATP management. It is not just RAfa. But as the No 2 and now no 1, he has always been vocal. This is something to appreciate not to bash.
why did ET leave ATP management? and why none of the players objected that? Why did almost all top 20 players asked for someone else to be appointed? Because they think their voice is not heard.

Injuries are now so common that it hearing about different surgeries on shoulders, knees, back is now ordinary news. Don’t tell me no one other than Rafa has been injured this year!

Anyway, the best is for ATP to hear the players’ opinions and make decisions. It is their life on tour and should be their decisoon.


zola Says:

gretchen,
you are right. Monte Carlo has always been mandatory. But from 2009, it will not be.

Thanks for your insightful comments. I am glad to see a voice of reason here. What I see here is that the objections do not come from an objective view, but from hostility and bias against one player (Rafa) and that is really unfortunate.

I think tennis has gone to a higher physical and perhaps technical level. Watch old matches. They are like slow motion compared to what even lower ranked players do these days. ATP has to adjust to this new generation, to make sure the players play their maximum years not minimum.

The least the ATP can do is to listen to the players and present everyone’s arguments with possible solutions. I don’t think it is asking for too much to listened too.


zola Says:

Sean

Come on, you seriously think master series are not mandatory? You are a tennis critic. MAybe it will be good if you look at the ATP rules and tell us if it is the case.


zola Says:

JJfan,
I think Adelaide is now transferred to Brisbane. But I totally agree. It is a great preparation for AO. Considering the jetlag and the diference in weather, althitude, surface , etc.

redux,
wow! 58 years and no one has been able to win Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg in one year! Great trivia , thanks!

btw,seems the exhibitions were yesterday. Fed beat Blake in a tie breaker, McEnroe Beat Borg in another tie breaker ( 13-11!) and JMac/Blake won Federer/Borg.

last year Fed-sampras exhibition was on USTA’s website. Was this one anywhere on the internet?


JoshDragon Says:

Good article. I liked your back handed remark on Djokovic, “first person to win the Masters Cup and still get bageled,” hahaha.

I can’t believe that Djokovic, got injured during the ceremony at the end, he definitely deserved to win.


Sean Randall Says:

Zola, they say it’s “mandatory”, but what’s really the difference in missing say Hamburg vs. Barcelona?


Skorocel Says:

To grendel:

Try this one from Mary Pierce :)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=WBZTYi-oNyM&feature=related


MMT Says:

Sean: why the tacit qualification of Djokovic’s win in Shanghai? Can he help it if Nadal withdrew and Federer and Roddick were on the other sides of the draw? No matter their GS pedigree, they were the 8 of the best 9 players in the world this year, full stop.


Von Says:

JJFAN:

“By “Brisbane”, I believe you must mean Adelaide or Sydney, held in the weeks before the AO in Melbourne. Otherwise, I’m not following you. To play a warm up tourney in Australia a week before the Open is hardly controversial. It’s as if there is something wrong with going early to England and playing on grass as a tune up for Wimbledon.”

Yes, Adelaide has now become Brisbane.

You are correct that it makes sense to play a warm-up tournament prior to a GS. My point concerns the situation with respect to the calendar. If the players are complaining that the season is too lengthy, then does it make sense under the circumstances to begin their season so early by playing warm-up tournaments in areas that are half-way across the world?

Murray played Doha and was knocked out early at the AO, and he’s going to repeat the same scenario in ’09 prior to the AO? Would you say that’s logical thinking? I don’t. Considering the players’ bone of contention is a too packed calendar, which in turn they claim is responsible for their injuries, wouldn’t it be wise for them to eliminate as many non-mandatory tournaments as possible, in order to prevent injuries? If Murray wants to play a warm-up tourney, why not play it in the same geographical area as the GS, instead of going to the other side of the world?

Djokovic playing Brisbane makes sense, since it’s in the same part of the world, and in conjunction with playing, he’ll become acclimated to the change in time zones, etc. That makes sense to me.

“The top players who make the semifinals or higher in most tournaments are playing many more matches with fewer days rest between tournaments than any of the others. They also wind up playing more grueling, competitive, sometimes long matches with zero days rest between them as they approach the finals level. These are the guys that are taking the real pounding. At a minimum, they should face no back to back mandatory appearances nor any fines for dropping a date immediately after a finals appearance. If they cannot manage their schedules, they cannot manage their injuries.”

Yes, the players who go deep into the tournaments are the ones getting the pounding, but just remember, they are rewarded by ranking points and huge pay checks. I don’t believe their matches are any more gruelling than the matches of the previous champions who had to play 5 set finals at MS tourneys. Also, they receive a bye at the beginning of the next tournament and are accommodated by late starts, e.g., as late as Wednesday. This translates to 2-3 days off = rest. This year was an exception to the rule and ’09 calendar will be better in terms of scheduling. It would be interesting to see which players will play in what tournaments other than those that are deemed “mandatory”. Bearing in mind, “mandatory” does not mean carved in store or written in indellible ink. Players are free to withdraw but there will be a price to pay. And, wouldn’t paying a fine or losing points, be more beneficial to their health/bodies than pushing themselves to play when not feeling up to par. There are choices.
_____________
With respect to the injuries of Messrs. Federer and Roddick, none of these players stated the calendar or schedule was responsible for their injuries. To reiterate, Federer stated his back problem has happenend before, and Roddick stated he didn’t like the lengthy season but has learnt to work around his schedule. Blake took it upon himself to mention that the top players are being injured due to the calendar, but nowhere in his statement did he state, the top players made those statements to him personally. We need to be wary about taking statements out of context to strengthen our positions when we are discussing a problem, or pulling other people into the equation; we could be held culpable.

Throughout the ’09 season, there will be eight (8) MS tournaments as follows:

IW – 3/9/ – 3/16
MIAMI – 3/23 – 3/30
ROME 4/27
MADRID 5/11
MONTREAL 8/10
CINCINNATI 8/17
SHANGHAI 10/12
PARIS 11/9

From the foregoing, the only two (2) back to back MS are during the NA Hardcourt season, Montreal and Cincinnati. Hence there shouldn’t be any complaints and/or problems with respect to withdrawing, too compressed a schedule and injuries. There’s a 2 week break between Madrid and the FO and another two week break between the FO and Wimby.

I believe I’ve answered your questions.

I’d like to state that discussions on forums are great but it becomes a laborious task when some people view what’s said without objectivity. To state that those who comment are being hostile is ludicrous. Where’s the hostitlity? I don’t see any name calling, antagonism and/or enmity. Listed below is the meanining of hostility:

“Hostitlity”: a hostile state, condition, or attitude; enmity; antagonism; unfriendliness.

Just because posters are speaking up and discussing what they perceive to be the players’ problems with regard to the calendar, does not make them hostile or being in a state of hostility. The problem lies with those who don’t like to hear the truth of the situation due to most of the problems surrounding their favorite player.


Von Says:

redux:

I’m sorry I don’t have any information on the upcoming Davis Cup, US v. Switzerland match in the US. I’d assume they would be choosing a warm city, and could very well be one of those you’ve mentioned. Nevada is somewhat blustery at that time of the year. I’d hazard a guess and say San Antonio, Texas, but that’s just because I like San Antonio.

Yeah, it would be sumpn else, if A-Rod were to beat his nemesis/albatross in front of his home crowd. I’ll be celebrating for sure. :P

____________
Sean Randall:

Do you have any information reference the above? If so, pray tell. thanks.


Von Says:

FYI: The Tennis Channel will be broadcasting one of the Asian Exhos tomorrow at 4:00 pm.


jane Says:

MMT – Kudos to you! I agree with your 4:20 post muchly.


redux Says:

Von,
San Antonio Express publication stated (posted on Tennis.com ticker) that cities are still in the bidding process to host the DC tie in March. The cities mentioned are Greenville SC, Birmingham AL, San Antonio TX, Las Vegas NV.


redux Says:

Thanks again, Von.

Is that the same Kuala Lumpur exo event being shown tomorrow on Tennis Channel?

The imagery suggested Borg-Mac-Fed-Blake ’08 Kuala Lumpur, but the title text suggested Fed-Sampras ’07 Macao. Macao was the last exo in ’07 in China. The commercial confused me a bit.


Twocents Says:

“With respect to the injuries of Messrs. Federer and Roddick, none of these players stated the calendar or schedule was responsible for their injuries. To reiterate, Federer stated his back problem has happenend before, and Roddick stated he didn’t like the lengthy season but has learnt to work around his schedule. Blake took it upon himself to mention that the top players are being injured due to the calendar, but nowhere in his statement did he state, the top players made those statements to him personally. We need to be wary about taking statements out of context to strengthen our positions when we are discussing a problem, or pulling other people into the equation; we could be held culpable.”

This is spot on, Von.

1. Being just a >20 year tennis fan, I still consider myself an ABSOLUTE outsider to pro tour, therefore, I will never try to propose a better schedule for ATP — there’re just too many issues I do not comprehend. However, I do not have any issues that other people try to :-)). But please, don’t claim it’s from Fed/Rod/Blake.

2. Of these 20 some tennis years, year end injuries of top players have been there. It’s gradually getting worse. But one shall not forget that it goes with top layer’s bank balance increases. Borg had to run business for living after quiting tennis. 2008 is no special. The ONLY difference is that our no.1 missed YEC. Guess what? Now the urgence of changing the rules to make sure he can have the cake and eat it as well. Relax, Rafa fans. He, of all players, can take bery bery good care of his own well being :-)).

While we fans can try to help building a “perfect” ATP calender (with limited knowledge about pro tour). We shall not forget to appreciate and applaud the great effort tired/injured top players made at YEC and DC, ensuring year 2008 tennis its integrity and excitement till the very end. In 2007, everyone was speculating Roddick skipping YEC. But at old age of 25, he played 4 tough matches in Shanghai and flew back across Pacific to win DC, in not-so-perfect health. I didn’t remember him whining abotu schedule. It’s his choice.


ugh Says:

why are some people under the impression that the discussion of possibly shifting things around in the tour calendar is meant soley for the benefit of rafa? pfff! how paranoid are you guys? get a grip.


Von Says:

The comments are self explanatory.


Von Says:

redux:

You’re welcome. I thought the clips were very good, especially the doubles clips. I’m impressed at the clarity and sound of the pictures.

I don’t think the Tennis channel will be airing the ’07 Macao match, but the current match. From the ad I saw, Blake was shown in it, and I know he didn’t play an exho with Fed in ’07. Those ’07 exhos were Sampras v. Fed. Do you receive the Tennis Channel? then, if you do, I suppose you’ll be watching. I’ve set my DVR on record, but hope to watch it at the time of broadcast. Enjoy if you watch. :D

The DC team seems to favor the Carolinas, and Texas is Roddick’s home state. In fact, I think his brother has an academy in San Antonio, Texas. So logic dictates it’ll probably be either of the two.


ugh Says:

yes it’s very clear how you feel.


Von Says:

TwoCents:

I believe you’re much more knowledgeable than I am regarding the tennis pro tour, even though I’m older than you are. However, I certainly enjoy tennis and try to soak up as much knowledge as I possibly can by watching the sport.

“We shall not forget to appreciate and applaud the great effort tired/injured top players made at YEC and DC, ensuring year 2008 tennis its integrity and excitement till the very end. In 2007, everyone was speculating Roddick skipping YEC. But at old age of 25, he played 4 tough matches in Shanghai and flew back across Pacific to win DC, in not-so-perfect health. I didn’t remember him whining abotu schedule. It’s his choice.”

Roddick played that ’07 TMC with a frozen back and leg problems, but did not make mention of it — he kept it quiet. In fact, a few weeks prior to the YEC, he injured his foot in Bangkok, and had to pull out of that tourney the night before he was due to play, even though there was an appearance fee involved. He tried to play in Lyon the next week, and got beaten by Santoro. Then he subsequently pulled out of Paris the following week, and was fined $20,000 for so doing. Tennis.X wrote a thread on that incident and a few vociferous posters made some very unkind comments condemning him for that situation. People change their tune when the shoe is on the other foot, or when their fave is involved. Absolutely amazing.


redux Says:

yeah, Von, I was referring to the commercial on TC in which, for some strange reason, Macao was mentioned in text on the screen. That was the part that had me confused. But yes, I’ll record it too.


gretchen Says:

I don’t know who you’re so upset with, Von, but people come here to post about tennis and share their opinions. What’s so terrible about that? Why is everyone who posts something you don’t necessarily agree with “not being objective.”? I don’t understand. I’m guessing from what you just wrote that you like Roddick? Should I assume then that everything you post from here on out about him is going to be biased?


redux Says:

then again, I should try to catch that commercial one more time. There might have been some hallucination on my part. Doubt it. Gotta “give props” to TC for continuing to air classic matches of yesteryear. That’s good television. Tomorrow night is the 1992 Wimbledon final between Agassi and Ivanisevic. Just before that will be a DC match between Sampras and Philippousis.


Von Says:

gretchen:

I’m not upset with anyone. To answer your question, I’m referring to the following comments:

“I do see your point of view and I am simply disagreeing with it. I do think it’s apparent that you have a problem with Nadal, he was the main focus of your post.”

Then there was a post from another poster to you:

“Thanks for your insightful comments. I am glad to see a voice of reason here. What I see here is that the objections do not come from an objective view, but from hostility and bias against one player (Rafa) and that is really unfortunate.”

Please tell me why the objections cited are considered hostile and biased toward nadal with reference to the calendar.

With respect to Roddick, what have I said that’s biased? I’m speaking the truth about what he said, and agreed with TwoCents as to what transpired at the ’07 TMC. I hate to disappoint you, I’m not a biased person, but an objective one. Why would everything henceforth about Roddick emanating from me be biased? I don’t think I’ve given you any reasons to jump to that conclusion.

I agree that we come here to discuss tennis, therefore when people air their views it should not be viewed that they have something against a player or they are being hostile. I’m just doing the same others are, and that is disagreeing with objectivity.


Von Says:

redux:

TC’s programming has improved considerably over the past year and i’ve been privileged to see a lot of matches I’ve never seen before. I’ve set my recorder to record those Wimby matches as well.

I’ll look for that commercial, and I’ll write a post to you if I see it. I’m sure you’re correct in what you saw — they sometimes mess up the commercials, but there will be an exho broadcasted tomorrow evening at 7:00 pm.

I’ve been watching some of the DC matches Spain/US and got a bit sad. I also saw France/USA and that made me happy. Can’t win them all. :P


gretchen Says:

Von:

Your attitude confuses me. What’s wrong with what I said? I’m just expressing my opinion and commenting on what you published for everyone to read. Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I disagree? What’s the problem?

The question i posed to you about Roddick was meant to demonstrate my point about being able to say something positive about a player on this forum without being written off as some biased fan. It seems any sort of support for someone can be easily dismissed by you as not being objective. I wasn’t saying what you actually said about Roddick was biased (and just for the record – who cares if it was! Big deal!) I was asking how I can know that what you say about Roddick is objective and not in any way related to you liking him as a player? This is something you’re asking all of us. So I’m just asking you it. How can we be sure you’re so objective? Just because you say so? OK.


Von Says:

gretchen:

I don’t have any proof as to how biased or unbiased I come across to you with reference to Roddick and/or if I’m being objective or not. I suppose only time will tell, as you get to know me more. I’m merely saying that my points and objections concerning the calendar are not because I have a problem with Nadal per se. Unfortunately, Nadal seems to be the focal point of the discussions because of his injuries, and some of the comments from some of his fans seem to imply such.

My point on the calendar is clear, and that is, a player has to use his discretion when planning his schedule. We all have a right to object and/or disagree, but our objections should be based on fact. I’m merely stating the facts as I see them, and being a Roddick fan is in no way coloring my objectivity. As a matter of fact, Roddick is not the object of the discussion on the calendar, except that he was referenced as one of the players who mentioned the schedukle is too lengthy, to which I replied, he did make that statement, but did not cite it as the reason for the players’ injuries. Also Andy has said he has taken matters into his own hands, by working around the calendar, and not waiting for ATP to do it for him. True Roddick has been criticized for not playing in some MS tourneys, but he’s been sidelined for over 2 months with arm/shoulder injuries. I don’t think the calendar was the cause of those injuries.

I hope this makes sense to you and I also hope you understand that my objections are not relative to any dislike for Nadal but only to seek a fair remedy for all of the players, who, even though are not top ranked, are still very important to the tour and whose needs should not be written off as inconsequential.

I thnik I’ve said enough on the calendar issue and this is it for me. I’m sorry if I’ve offended you with respect to my comments and any mention of Nadal.


sensationalsafin Says:

I can’t agree with you Von. I think if you’re gonna attribute anything to the cause of players’ injuries it’s gotta be the schedule. I think the tournaments should decrease the draws. In a regular tournament, the 2 finalists play 5 matches in 7 days. Plus they practice. So they spend hours upon hours playing. The more you play the more likely you are to irk something and get injured. That’s what happens when you play a lot of tennis, your body gets irritated. A longer schedule means more playing means more irritation means more chance of injury. That’s just the way it works. I can’t imagine how tired all the players are right now. Idk how JMDP is playing Davis Cup. I hope he performs well. But tennis is a demanding sport that requires a good amount of rest. I really feel that Federer should have just skipped instead of coming back in Madrid. Sure he says his back injury is nothing out of the ordinary but if he hadn’t played those extra matches, his back wouldn’t have gotten so irritated. He needed rest but he wanted to play. Now he’s got rest and he should use it to his advantage.


Ezorra Says:

Guys, this statement by Nadal (at the Monte Carlo Masters Series) is kind of interesting! Maybe we can discuss about this a little bit!

Nadal – “I said it a lot of times, the calendar is completely crazy. I think this is not fair for the European players and for the clay players, too. Three Masters in four weeks, it is too much,”

Actually, I don’t really understand why he said that (when I say “don’t really understand,” it means that I truly don’t understand what he was saying, not “disagree” kind of don’t understand – just to make it clear…). I mean, why is the calendar just affects European player? How about American or Asian (if there any… – just kidding!) or other players? Maybe somebody can clarify this to me, please…

Nadal – “The ATP is always doing what they want. They have to inform the players on what is going on. I think we have to try to change everything because right now we have no influence on the ATP.”

I am a very huge Nadal fan. However, I am slightly disagree with this statement (actually, I’ve no problem to agree or disagree with anybody) because to change EVERYTHING is too radical and sounds irrational to me. I believe ATP should perceive some points issued by the players more seriously but to change EVERYTHING? I don’t think that is necessary…

Nadal – “They say this is an Olympic year, that is very nice, but the truth is that they put Indian Wells and Miami one week back because they have the college (basketball). Well, I understand in the United States that is very important. For us, we have the world tour calendar. We can’t do the calendar thinking about the college (sports) of the United States. That’s my feeling.”

To me, this statement is very subjective and debatable. Since this is just his opinion, I believe that it is not necessarily to be true! Still, it makes sense though!

As a conclusion, as a Nadal fan, I am very proud of him for his courage to speak his mind whenever he thinks necessary. Sometimes, I am very confused with some of the people out there. When he said something good about anything, they will accuse him of playing politics but when he said about unpopular stuffs, every one of them want him to shut up. Come on guys, no matter what he said, he just trying to protect his right and the players’ right (which include your favorite players as well), that’s all.


Twocents Says:

Von,

Please don’t be offended by my statement of implying we fans are outsiders. Being a lazy leaner on logistics (ATP or my own flights), I actually quite admire much more knowledgeable fans like you. It’s nice to see fans make an effort to make pro tour better. It’s also fun to disagree some trendy arguments, time permits.

There’s nothing wrong to be any player’s fan. And it does not automatically label everything one said as biased — that conviction itself is biased and subjective beyond doubt :-)). The main judgement on biased or not should be if one’s opinions are backed with facts.

I actually like Nadal the boy. I just see Toni Nadal outwits all other ATP players combined :-)). Unfortunately, with Rafa’s English, it becomes very very difficult to tell whether he speaks for himself or for Uncle Toni.


Twocents Says:

sensationalsafin,

Marat Safin was very sensational before he suffered injury after injuries. Did he blame schedule as much? I don’t think so. Tennis the game itself shall be the 1st cause, followed by top player’s own choice, then luck, then maybe schedule.

As for Fed, you said “He needed rest but he wanted to play. ”

He obviously decided that he needed ranking points and fulfilling sponsorship duties more than he needed rest. My take is that he’s such a gambler that he’d go for it as long as the odds is not a big zero. But he sticked with his own choice and didn’t complain about schedule/ATP.


redux Says:

To add some balance, I submit once again that Von is not antiRafa nor holds any bias against Rafa. If it appears Rafa is being deliberately singled out, I can testify to the contrary since Von has previously posed arguments concerning other top players as well, including Federer and Djokovic, much to the disgust of their fans too. LOL. This unnecessary controversy began after Rafa’s name was used merely as an example of one highly-ranked player who is lodging a complaint about the 2008 schedule (Blake did this later in the season), then Von argued that the players have the responsibility (which they do) of employing discretion when it comes to organizing their calendar event participation without killing themselves physically by trying to play every tournament, including doubles.

As a tennis fan and vested longtime realistic Fed loyalist, it is totally understandable to me when a player’s fans want that player to win it all, but are upset when they are denied that triumph, for whatever reason.

The good news for the players is that the strenuous circumstances which complicated the scheduling of events this past year will be different in 2009, according to the ’09 Masters Series 1000 event calendar which Von had posted further above.
Rafa still gets to play Barcelona if he wishes. Neither he nor any other player will be pressured to go to Monte Carlo and/or Hamburg, but instead it will be Rome and Madrid. It is intended that the new number of Masters events and the spacing of the tournaments will increase participation by the top players and help reduce or eliminate withdrawals, retirements and injuries. That’s been dicussed in part on this thread as well. There will be eight MS events next year to go with the four Grand Slams. These twelve tournaments establish the core foundation of the ATP season, with smaller events acting as satellites for the larger, more important events. There is an effort make the season more organized, less random. The calendar certainly could use some organization, but that solid foundation of events is important, since it is part of the mechanism that produces future stars of the sport.


redux Says:

Uncle Toni, you are the Karl Rove of tennis. You can be infuriating, but you do your homework and are good at molding your pupil. In time, it will all come tumbling down! mwahahahahahaaaaa!!! But, take heart in the fact that by then you will all have made out like bandits!

rotflmfao


redux Says:

sensationalsafin:

The tournaments should decrease the draws? Are you sure about that? Won’t that further compromise the integrity of the sport in a historical context? The MS finals have aleady decreased from best-of-5 to best-of-3. What if instead they do a better job of properly distributing these events throughout the season with time in between each?


redux Says:

full year (Jan 1 – Dec 31): 52 weeks (12 months)

- 8 Masters1000 events (1 week each w/ qualifying rds.): 8 weeks
- ATP Tour Finals (TMC): 1 week
- 4 Grand-Slam majors (2 weeks each): 8 weeks

total: 17 weeks (approx. 4 months)

Intl.-Series tournaments chosen by players to fill out their season as desired (each lasting 1 week). If, for example, a player entered 6 additional small tournaments (6 weeks) for a total of 18 tournaments played in one season, the total number of playing weeks in the year would total 23 weeks (just under 6 months). Regular tour players will likely choose to play more tournaments since they are likely to lose to better players in earlier rounds of the bigger tournaments. Those players will have played less in those big tournaments, and thus will make up for less matchplay and lower earnings by entering more tournaments to earn more prize money. All players will decide how much they want to play when they consider ranking points (based generally on how well they perform at bigger events). That is their decision.

Is this correct?


JJFAN Says:

Von wrote in part:

Throughout the ‘09 season, there will be eight (8) MS tournaments as follows:

IW – 3/9/ – 3/16
MIAMI – 3/23 – 3/30
ROME 4/27
MADRID 5/11
MONTREAL 8/10
CINCINNATI 8/17
SHANGHAI 10/12
PARIS 11/9

From the foregoing, the only two (2) back to back MS are during the NA Hardcourt season, Montreal and Cincinnati. Hence there shouldn’t be any complaints and/or problems with respect to withdrawing, too compressed a schedule and injuries. There’s a 2 week break between Madrid and the FO and another two week break between the FO and Wimby.

JJFAN says:

I believe you should include Monte Carlo on Apr 13.

I also note BTW that “Montreal” was formerly known as “Toronto”.

Starting on Mar 9 there is a stretch of 7 out of 10 weeks all Masters Series competition, starting with IW and Miami back to back. The run up to Roland Garros and then the US Open look pretty demanding. Part of the pressure in the US circuit is the bonus money for the circuit leader.

No particular point here, but there are spots in the schedule that suggest some might want to lay out for awhile afterward.


jane Says:

JJFAN,

To clarify, the Toronto/Montreal event, which is our ONLY ATP event in Canada, alternates locations. Since it was held in Toronto this year (08) it will be in Montreal in 09, and then back in Toronto in 10. It actually alternates with the women’s WTA event, which will be in Toronto this year because it was in Montreal last, and so on.


Skorocel Says:

To grendel:

Try this one from Mary Pierce :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=out1g20I_Po

Sorry for the poor picture quality, but anyway, not that bad, isn’t it?


jane Says:

This calendar debate reminds me a little of the goat debate; neither will likely be settled, but they’re both interesting.

At first I was a strong believer in shortening the calendar but I have mixed feelings about it now. I agree with sensationalsafin that the more a player plays, the more he’s likely to be injured. But then that also goes to body-type and footwork and playing style. Maybe the Tsonga’s of the world are more likely to get injured regardless of the calendar. Then there is the issue of choice, which is a tough one. The players can and should make wise choices about their schedules, but those are not always easy choices.

It’s like nature vs. nurture: maybe there are elements of both?

Here I go again – working for the UN. LOL.

Cheers all. :-)


Von Says:

JJFAN says:

“I believe you should include Monte Carlo on Apr 13.”

Monte Carlo was left out on purpose. If you will note I’m speaking about the ’09 calendar and Monte Carlo is NOT a mandatory MS tourney, hence no need for Nadal to play, but I suppose he’ll play anyway.

Montreal as jane has pointed, out is interchangeable. It changes in alternate years, if I’m not mistaken with the WTA calendar. Sorry, I know this is your forte, but I don’t pay much attention to the WTA calendar.


JJFAN Says:

jane Says:
JJFAN,

To clarify, the Toronto/Montreal event, which is our ONLY ATP event in Canada, alternates locations. Since it was held in Toronto this year (08) it will be in Montreal in 09, and then back in Toronto in 10. It actually alternates with the women’s WTA event, which will be in Toronto this year because it was in Montreal last, and so on.

[JJFAN]

I appreciate the info. In my defense, I did the homework and found the ATP site listing the tournament logos as Toronto…maybe this season’s page. The schedule detail page does say “Montreal”. If they and we would refer to it as the “Rogers Cup” or maybe the “Canadian Masters”, likewise consistent on the ladies’ side, there would be no misunderstanding among newbie fans like me.


Von Says:

redux:

Thanks for clarifying my many points and my controversial side, I’ve been exposed. LOL. Damnation will be my lot. Anyway, kudos to you for taking that so very complex calendar and breaking it down. The guys certainly have a lot of time on their hands to probably take up another hobby — needlepoint, perhaps, but they could experience an injury by so doing, pricking their little fingers.

I agree with you on Uncle Toni. The guy has earned a degree in manipulation and belly-aching. By the time Nadal has finished playing tennis, Uncle Toni will have taken the whole ATP down and manipulated them into changing everything to be Nadal user-friendly. I would like to hear Nadal speak for himself — not through Uncle Toni, who’s speaking from years of wisdom and very cunningly adept. Don’t trust that smile/smirk, it’s a rattler waiting to strike. Nadal is the only player who’s been able to craftily avoid the press from their onslaught of difficult questions. No comprende works everytime, and then Uncle Toni steps in afterwards and says what he feels Nadal should or shouldn’t have said said. It’s works beautifully, everytime.

Sadly, the other players are left to fend for themselves with the press and they fail miserably, due to their youth and lack of wisdom. Hence the headlines. Nadal is spared all of those wonderful sensational headlines. I’m sure that USO incident with Djoko/Barkaan would have been neutralized in a couple of words if it were Nadal instead of Djoko. Nadal would have just smiled and said “I don’t know’. “Is no good, no?” and, all would be well.

I wish James Blake had shut his big mouth; all he did was provide some with the ammunition they needed to reinforce their fragile arguments on the injustices of that monster, the ATP. It seems nowadays all that comes out of James’ mouth is a jolt of hot air and up, up and away he goes with his heliump inflated head for speaking up on behalf of the big boys. James even pays heed to the commentators as to when and how he should play. What a guy; I believe he’s approaching his dotage. Watch his eyes when he speaks. LOL Anyway, his little stint at Harvard has paid some dividends in PR; he’s learnt how to grease the palm that helps him haul in the big bucks, when he’s not winning matches on the regular tour.


Von Says:

TwoCents:

“Von, Please don’t be offended by my statement of implying we fans are outsiders.”

I’m not offended at all, I agree with you — we are ouitsiders. There are some who talk with such propriety, and which makes me wonder if they realize that to the players they don’t even exist, but they need to be left in their little world of make believe.

I’m happy to see someone else has figured out the master-mind Toni Nadal. The guy is a master tactician and chess player. every move he makes hauls in millions of dollars. that chess board is now made out of gold and precious stones. LOL. :P


Von Says:

Sensationsafin:

I’m glad to see you posting again, even though you disagree with me. :P However, I still hold strongly to my belief that it’s up to the players to work with their schedule to keep their bodies from falling apart. Injuries are different from over doing it and too much of a good thing can become destructive and/or produce negative results.

As I see it, the guys want to maintain their ranking and some will do almost anything to hold onto it, e.g., practice relentlessly. I don’t believe that playing on the tour, if the players were to play in moderation, is the cause for the over-use, I believe it’s the wear and tear that’s placed on their bodies from too much practice time and playing in too many tournaments. It’s insane for a player to practice for 5 hours per day and then play a heavy schedule of tournaments over and above what’s expected of him.

I’m sure you remember I mentioned a while back I was happy to see Federer finally deciding to rest and/or take a sabbatical. Well, that was short-lived, and the end result, he hurt his back. That’s a sign that his body needed the rest but one he chose to ignore. It’s not possible to go on a tear for 4 years without severe consequences. Similarly, it’s illogical to implement Nadal’s schedule from Mid-March through the end of June, and not expect the after-effects which he’s now suffering.

As redux states, fans want their players to win everything. That’s so true, and the player derives such a heady feeling like a drug, from it all, which encourages him to want more, but it becomes a bottomless pit. The more they give and deliver the more the fans expect, and as Fed stated “I created a monster”, will be the end result. A player can’t have it all — there’s always a trade-off and it will, 9 times out of 10, be his body that will pay the price.

All things in moderation, and slow and steady won the race. It’s better to remain consistent and win a few titles per year, than rake in 8 titles in 5 months and then be relegated to the geriatric ward for the balance of the season. Hence, this is not the schedule, or ATP’s doing, it all comes back to the player and it depends on what he wants and how badly he wants it and the price he’s willing to pay. Patience is the key word, and all things in moderation.

TwoCents made a good observation with respect to Safin. Even though Marat has experienced his many injuries, never once has he blamed the schedule for what has happened to him, injury-wise. Why should he, the schedule is there to be user friendly, however some make it user “un”-friendly, and therein lies the problem. From what I see some of the players want to fight City Hall (ATP) in everything and want to change everything to their benefit, well, that’s not going to happen. the ATP will always win and the sooner the players accept that, stop fighting, and pay more attention to their bodies, the better it will be for all concerned.


Von Says:

jane:

You’re funny — working for the UN. I hope not, because the world has enough problems as it is, and certainly don’t need a representative changing his/her mind in agreement with everything, yes today, no tomorrow. Anyway, kudos to you for rearranging the Peace Treaty on occasions. LOL :P


gretchen Says:

Von says: “There are some who talk with such propriety, and which makes me wonder if they realize that to the players they don’t even exist, but they need to be left in their little world of make believe.”

I can only wonder what has happened in your life to make you such a bitter, scornful person. It’s a shame you view life in such a pessimistic manner. But your posts make sense now. And certainly have nothing to do with being objective, so thanks for clearing that up for good. Your sarcastic, mocking tone works only to exemplify your contempt for players like Nadal (and now Blake, apparently? Or is that just for show?) I wish you’d just say what we all know you want to say but won’t. But instead you hide behind words like “objectivity.” Right. See you around – your cynicism is stinkin’ up the joint.


Von Says:

Ezorra:

As I’ve stated in the past, you’re one very fair-minded and insightful guy. You’re not a blind fan and unafraid, with respect to revealing and discussing what you perceive to be flaws and/or holes in your fave’s actions. You don’t follow blindly and are objective. I’m not one for handing out undeserved compliments just to ingratiate myself with another, hence my compliment to you is genuine. You’re a pleasure with whom to interact.

You stated: “Nadal – “I said it a lot of times, the calendar is completely crazy. I think this is not fair for the European players and for the clay players, too. Three Masters in four weeks, it is too much,”

“Actually, I don’t really understand why he said that (when I say “don’t really understand,” it means that I truly don’t understand what he was saying, not “disagree” kind of don’t understand – just to make it clear…). I mean, why is the calendar just affects European player? How about American or Asian (if there any… – just kidding!) or other players? Maybe somebody can clarify this to me, please…”

I wondered about this myself. it’s almost like he’s the only one with feelings. during the clay season I mentioned the americans suffer too even though IW and Miami is in the Us, they still have to be away from their homes, so it’s not only nadal who suffers, it’s everyone. And what do you call suffering — living in a 5 star plush resort? Gimme a break.

You stated: “Nadal – “The ATP is always doing what they want. They have to inform the players on what is going on. I think we have to try to change everything because right now we have no influence on the ATP.”

Therein lies Nadal’s problems. He wants to and/or is trying to change EVERYTHING the ATP is doing. Well, his is an insurmountable task. The ATP has been there before Nadal came into existence as a player and it will be there long after he’s gone. He’ll never be able to break them down. Hopefully he’ll realize this before it’s too late. I truthfully say this, that before Nadal’s rise to the top, there has NEVER been so much dissension and/or controversy concerning the schedule and/or the ATP — the other players vented now and then, but it now seems to become an epidemic, which is only causing unrest among the players and taking their minds off their game, by indulging in unnecessary details. they wll end up being very disgruntled and their performance will take a nose dive.

“Nadal – “The ATP is always doing what they want. They have to inform the players on what is going on. I think we have to try to change everything because right now we have no influence on the ATP.””

I think all of these young men, and it is unfortunate for them that it’s not going to happen, need to be more educated and/or need to do an internship in a large corporation to experience how large corporations perform. Most of these guys have never even completed Junior High School, which I feel is sad. I speak from experience when I say this having worked in multi-billion dollar corporations, good luck to Nadal and the other players for being kept informed as to what ATP’s doing. It’s not going to happen. In large corporations everything is kept under wraps and information is dispensed on a “need to know” basis, e.g., the calendar, points and remuneration, is what ATP feels the players need to know. Apart from that, I doubt whether ATP cares to be involved in the semantics of what’s right or wrong. The players have a contract which contain all the whys and wherefores as it pertains to AT’s roles and the players’ roles, and after they’ve signed it, ATP says thank you, now play, and goodbye. At meetings, the ATP will listen and try to accommodate the players, but if they find a squeaky wheel, which unfortunately, Nadal has become, they’ll turn a deaf ear. Maybe in time, Nadal’s uncle will understand this, and he’ll stop banging his head against a brick wall. Life has been good to him and for that he should be grateful. Instead of trying to change “everything”, why not enjoy the blessings with a grateful heart and just be happy.


Von Says:

gretchen:

Touche’.


Sean Randall Says:

I would like to know just how short the players want their season to be, the top players that is.

Currently about 90% of the guys get two months. Do they need three months? Four months?

And if they got more time what would they do with it? Is James Blake resting right now? No, he’s stuffing his wallet on the exo circuit, then he’ll play a bunch of charity events next month I’m sure. Then blame the tour come January for not giving him ample time to rest and heal.

But the fact is with a longer off season the top guys will just play more and more exo events.

Imagine if Federer’s season finished Sept 30,what do you think he’d do. Take a vacation? Doubtful. He’d get on a plane to play three weeks of exos in Asia, then to Europe and maybe even have a swing in South America. And he’d make a lot of money doing it, a lot more than playing tour events.

Then later November or he’d head back home, get him 6 weeks of R&R.

So monetarily, a shorter season would be provide opportunity for the stars to really cash in on the exo circuit while avoiding the physical grind, and I’m guessing that’s part of the reason they push for a shorter season.


redux Says:

Von,
the players do not really have a large amount of free time since much of the other 6-month half is used as recuperation buffers in between tournaments over the course of the tennis season. I think they get probably a bit over 2 months of non-buffer vacation time, unless they play more.

It is in Macao!!!


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

I underline all of what you’ve said, hence my comments on the ATP calendar. The ATP is just being the proverbial “fall guy’ for the players to save themselves for the bigger deals — the exhos, a medium the higher-ranked players have found a much more easier way to earn big bucks. Then if that’s the case, they should take themselves off the tour and do what Sampras is doing. They need to make a choice; it’s got to be one or the other — it can’t be both.

Today I watched the Macao Exho. Big bucks and yes, James Blake was there stuffing his wallet. He looked as fresh as a daisy. I’m sorry I wouldn’t pay for a ticket to those exhos — I’d rather give my hard-earned money to charity. The doubles’ exho match lasted approximately 12 minutes.

As Murray mentioned, the season should culminate with the USO, so the answer to your question of how long an off season they want, would be a 4 month off season. Anyway, to show how incongruent that is, Murray will be playing in Doha prior to the AO, and the same scenario will be repeated similarly to this year’s AO, where he got knocked out in the first round from exhustion.

The whole calendar/season has been blown out of proportion by some of the top players and it’s going to have a negative effect on the lower ranked players.

This situation reminds me of when someone who’s eager to be employed will initially be so grateful, they’ll gladly scrub the floors even though it’s not part of their job description, just to earn kudos and climb up the ladder. However, when that same person has finally gotten to a point where they feel some sort of job security, they little by little begin trying to initiate changes, until finally their job description becomes a mere shadow of the original. Money is not the root of all eveil — it’s the love of money that’s the real problem.


Von Says:

redux:

I get your point, which means in-between matches they do get some recuperation buffers to rest and repair, plus the 2 month or more off-season, hence how difficult can the season be.

I watched the match, did you see it? I found the doubles match to be entertaining, but very short. I think Johnny Mc is still great playing doubles and has aged much better than his peer, Bjorn Borg. I never would have envisioned Borg with some middle-age spread when he was younger.

BTW, the next exho match will be in Bangkok and will be broadcasted by the Tennis Channel. Remember to watch the upcoming Wimby matches.


Von Says:

MMT:

How’s life treating you these days with FIOS, and the Tennis Channel? Did you watch the exho? Check your guide, TC will be broadcasting some Wimby matches and are currently showing some DC and MS matches. Enjoy. :P


Sean Randall Says:

Exos and tour, “it can’t be both”? Yes it can if the season is shortened enough.

“The whole calendar/season has been blown out of proportion by some of the top players and it’s going to have a negative effect on the lower ranked players.” How so? The lower ranked guys are still playing the smaller challenger events even as I type.

What the top players want – and want everyone wants! – is to work less and get paid more. And by shortening the season this is what they would get. Maybe they wouldn’t make as much on the tour but whatever difference was lost they could easily earn on an exo tour.

As for what Nadal says regarding the clay season v. March with IW and Miami, he’s got a fair point and I agree with him. IW and Miami span about four weeks while the pre-French clay run is just six.

Should IW/Miami bite the bullet and move to 7-day 64/56 draws freeing up a week, maybe two so the clay season can expand? Yes. Will it happen? I wouldn’t bet on it for the simple fact those are two American events.


MMT Says:

Howdy Von:

I’m watching this Sampras Phillipousis Davis cup, which is currently a real snoozer. Fair enough Sampras is cleaning up at the moment, and I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but I’d prefer to see something with wood racquets.

TC is great when there’s good stuff on – I watched some of the exho doubles – that was fun. Interestingly, it’s a little sad to see Borg struggling to keep up with the others – I know McEnroe is in better shape and younger, but he was always better in doubles than Borg anyway.

What I can’t stand is the commentators – they’re getting a lot of facts wrong (e.g. Sampras won the US Open the first time when he was 19, not 17) and Murphy Jensen actually suggested that Pete should have stuck with a 2-handed backhand on the return of serve. Whatever…

Interestingly, the Poo just drilled Sampras on a passing shot off a flubbed volley – you don’t see that every day.


Twocents Says:

Von,

You may have underestimated Toni Nadal’s talent. ATP, with or without the boorish E.T., is no rival when Master Toni conducts Rafa to top slot and expand the Empire Nadal. They’ll get most of their wishes, unless some other master mind has some other ideas :-)).

I wish Murray or Fed or Djork hired Ion Tirac to manage their tour. Godsick is a joke, even thoug hhe’s a Tony (close to Toni).

With only silly exho’s around, a fan like me can only day dream :-))). (I was pondering about flying over to Macao to catch the exho, just feel too silly to book tickets…)


JJFAN Says:

If Von is correct that Monte Carlo is not a “mandatory” tournament, I am not finding anything to substantiate that, and I don’t find that she offered any reference for the claim that Monte Carlo is not “mandatory. The 2008 ATP rules form their published PDF version on the ATP site specifies the following that seems relevant:

cite:

1.08 COMMITMENT AGREEMENT

A. Commitment Eligibility
Players in Good Standing with the ATP who are positioned within the Top 50 in the ATP 2007 Race as of November 19, 2007, are eligible to compete in the year 2008 provided they MUST execute and deliver to the ATP a written Commitment Agreement. The deadline for receipt of the Agreement by the ATP is December 10, 2007.

B. Commitment

A player who executes and delivers to the ATP a Commitment Agreement agrees and commits to participate in the singles event of all ATP Masters Series Tournaments for which he is accepted, the Tennis Masters Cup (if qualified as a Direct Acceptance or designated as the Alternate) and two (2) International Series Gold Tournaments.

*********

There are other references that speak of ATP Master Series categorically, no exceptions.

Also note that choice of 2 “Master Series Gold” tournaments are also part of a mandatory quota. To me, that means there are 11 required participations plus the season ending tournament for the 8 qualifiers or their alternates.

I noted in my search that ATP does not actually use the term “mandatory” in reference to participation in tournaments.

See http://www.atptennis.com/en/common/TrackIt.asp?file=/en/players/ATP_Rulebook.pdf


jane Says:

Von Roddick’s new coach is Larry Stefanki. What’d'y’a think?!


Von Says:

TwoCents:

You seem bored and lost without the excitement of the season. To some extent, I believe all of us feel that way. It’s a pity you don’t have the Tennis Channel in Asia. TC has filled the void whenever there’s been a lull in tennis.

The next exho is in bangkok, maybe yoy can fly out there to see the matches. Keem smiling, :)


Von Says:

MMT:

I watched the DC match with Pete and Philipousis, which was sort of nostalgic for me. Watching Pete in his prime reminds me of why I loved to watch him play. Those jumping, overhead smashes with a flair — a thing of beauty. James Blake tries to emulate Pete in that respect, but it’s not the same as when Pete does it. Murphy can sure put one to sleep with his commentaries.

I watched the 1992 Wimby final between Agassi and Ivanisivic, who pounded out over 40 aces and still lost. That was Agassi’s first Wimby title at 22. The commenatators, Evert and Mckay were a lot better than the DC commentators.

Remember to watch the DC matches, Argentina v. Spain. From the comments I’ve read thus far, it seems Dave is going to win that medal after all. I want him to win it so badly because his heart and soul is in DC and that patriotic pride shows through. They’re on re-broadcast toight, so I’ll be watching then. If you do watch, enjoy. :P

___________
redux:

Did you watch the exho matches? I liked the doubles match, it was much more entertaining than the singles. My only complaint — it was too short. If you’re interested in DC, TC is broadcasting it all weekend. Enjoy. :P


Von Says:

jane:

I didn’t know Andy had made a decision. Some fan I am. I don’t even visit his website. What do I think? Interesting question. I think Stefanki is a no-nonsense type coach and can handle the hotheads, e.g., Johnny Mc, and Andy being a hot-head too, will make the relationship interesting. Maybe Stefanki can get Andy to stay more focused and even become interested in playing on clay, which A-Rod calls his “Kryptonite”. My only concern is that Gonzalez didn’t too much under Stefanki’s tutelage, except for the AO final, but I suppose it depends on on the player. It’ll be an improvement over brother John for sure. I hope it works out. I would have liked to see Andy work with Lansdorp for a bit on his serve placement and flattening out his forehand — Landsdorp moulded Davenport and Sampras. Hopefully those are some of the things Stefanki can do for Andy. Only time will tell is all I can say. :P


zola Says:

JJfan
great post.
And “MonteCarlo” was always an obligatory tournament, in par with other ATP master series. It is common knowledge.
All they have to do is to look at previous ATP calendars. ALL master series were mandatory till now. From next year Monte Carlo will not be mandatory, but those who prticipate will get full master series points.

Also thanks for your link.

Sean,
***Zola, they say it’s “mandatory”, but what’s really the difference in missing say Hamburg vs. Barcelona?***

As far as I know, Barcelona is a chosen tournament but each ATP player has to participate in all the master series events. I think they could miss one with a good excuse. But the least is that they get fined. ( like Roddick in Monte Carlo).

From 2009, players missing Hamburg will lose prize money and ranking points. Players missing Barcelona, can sit home and watch TV. They might get a call from tournament director though!

I also want to point out the pressure on the players to play all the master series. Remember in 2006 when RAfa and Roger and I think Roddick withdrew from PAris. I believe they put these new rules to prevent “THAT” from hapennig. Meaning, they don’t like players withdrawing from master series. On paper it looks just a miss, in reality, it is not that simple!


Von Says:

JJFAN:

You are making me work! I’m not a computer savvy person, and I haven’t been able to find anything which absolutely spells out all you’re asking, however, I remember there was a thread discussing Hamburg and Monte Carlo, which I’d like to proffer as evidence with respect to my statement. Here’s the link to the thread on which it was discussed. Monte Carlo is non-mandatory but remains in the MS category, offering the winner 1,000 points.

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2008-08-05/563.php#comment-43996ATP d Hamburg in Landmark Jury Trial.

You stated: “Also note that choice of 2 “Master Series Gold” tournaments are also part of a “mandatory” {emphasis added] quota. To me, that means there are 11 required participations plus the season ending tournament for the 8 qualifiers or their alternates.” But then you also added: “I noted in my search that ATP does not actually use the term “mandatory” in reference to participation in tournaments.

I hope this info helps to shed some light on the situation regarding Monte Carlo’s status.


zola Says:

gulu dear,
sorry just saw your post. No, I am not from Spain. I might go live there one day ( hopefully!). I love the sunshine and the warm waters. I live right here in the US of A!

I saw this today as well. You might enjoy it too. Vamos the great champions of tennis!
http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1112405/index.htm?eref=sisf


zola Says:

Another link regarding Monte Carlo status. I hope it helps:

Monte Carlo settles suit with ATP, to “”forgo”" player commitments

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=2949033


Von Says:

JJFAN:

Maybe I should have made myself a little more explicit, however, I think I did, but I don’t eat and sleep with tennis on my mind. As of 2009 Monte Carlo is non-mandatory, for which i offered an explanation as to why i didn’t include it in my list of 2009 MS tourneys. MC was mandatory in previous years and I made a mistake when I wrote a previous post that it was “NEVER” mandatory. I was thinking of something else at the time, and because I don’t proof read I didn’t catch it. You know what, I’m human and am fallible. For me, these technicalities are not as big a deal as some make it out to be. For instance, I don’t have the time, desire nor patience to go back to several years to check which tournament offered what. I’ll defer to the experts who relish sharing their expertise at the expense of another’s humiliation.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“The whole calendar/season has been blown out of proportion by some of the top players and it’s going to have a negative effect on the lower ranked players.” How so? The lower ranked guys are still playing the smaller challenger events even as I type.”

The negative effect trickling down to the lower-ranked players is a kind of psychological one which could trigger a “pity party” type feeling of wishing and hoping things could have been different for them and resentment can build up. When resentment builds up, it drains the enthusiasm out of us.

“What the top players want – and want everyone wants! – is to work less and get paid more. And by shortening the season this is what they would get. Maybe they wouldn’t make as much on the tour but whatever difference was lost they could easily earn on an exo tour.”

Isn’t that what we all want from life, unfortunately that’s not what always happens. This goes back to my post wherein I mentioned people are so happy to have a job they’ll do anything, but then they begin to want more and with wanting more, they incorporate changes which stray far from the original agreement. Maybe ATP should just say to them, OK play the 12 obligatory tournaments and move on. One thing I know the novelty of these exhos will wear off for the fans, because fans will be so saturated with them and won’t be as supportive — the exhos will just die a natural death, and then what will the big boys do then? Imagine if you will, all of them playing in their own little tournaments all over the world. Eventually fans will tire and want the real thing. It’s bad enough with the MS finals being only 2 of 3, and now the TMC has followed suit. What will be next, the Grand slams? At the TMC during every match there were several vacant seats and the media coverage was very low priority. I think all of these “player-friendly” changes are killing the sport.

Another problem I see with the exhos, and the shorter season, the interest in tennis will take a nose dive. Tennis, is not as popular as the other sports. Can you just imagine what will happen to its popularity if the season were to be cut short? There will be a tremendous domino effect, from fans to media to you name it. I don’t see a pretty picture.

I’ve written a lot on the ramifications of the injuries on the sport, to the shorter calendar, et al., because of the love I have for the sport, which i don’t want to deteriorate. I hope ’09 will re-awaken a new desire in the players for their game and also put things into perspective as to why they became tennis players in the first place. Was it the love of the sport, or just an avenue to live a more luxurious life. If it’s the latter, then the sport will suffer — money rules. It’s a sort of parallel as to why people become doctors. was it a burning desire to help the sick or to earn a fat pay check.


zola Says:

I am glad we all know now the status of Monte Carlo! one more problem solved in the world! and no one should feel “humiliated” for not knowing these details. we all have our moments.


Von Says:

Roddick did not get fined for missing Monte Carlo. he got fined for missing Paris, even though he was injured. In the past players were allowed to miss 2 MS tournaments without being fined.


Von Says:

Who gives one bloody shit! When people state: “And “MonteCarlo” was always an obligatory tournament, in par with other ATP master series. “It is common knowledge”, that’s humiliating another person, because they made an error and/or because they don’t make it a priority to savour every little detail of the “clay” season. It’s common knowledge for some, not everyone, hence the discussion.


Von Says:

Sean:

Further to the discussion on the MS tourneys falling into an obligatory/mandatory situation with respect to player participation in ’09, does this mean that the past allowance of the players missing 2 MS tourneys is now rendered moot? Thanks for a reply.


zola Says:

well, I wrote ” we all have our moments” and I for one, don’t feel humiliated for not knowing the fact that Roddick was fined for Paris not Monte Carlo and I do not persist on something and try to show it as a fact.
So much rage and hatred, it is amazing!


Von Says:

redux & TwoCents:

FYI – Tomorrow at 4:00 pm Tennis Channel will be broadcasting Bangkok Exho.

TwoCents: I’m sure you can still book your flight. :P Maybe it will be shown on live streaming.


Giner Says:

“So Novak starts the year on a high note and finishes on a high note, and with Rafael Nadal ailing and Federer focusing on the Slams in his elder years, Novak can really make a run at No. 1 next year. Will he get it? I don’t think so, but with this win he’s firmly back in the conversation.”

If he plays Adelaide first week of January next year instead of Hopman Cup (exo tournament), he will be #2 seed in Melbourne. But I don’t think he will hold onto the spot against Federer for long. I do not think Novak will defend his AO title. He will make a semi and lose to either Federer or Murray. I expect the title to be won by one of these two, probably Murray.


JJFAN Says:

Giner wrote:

“If he plays Adelaide first week of January next year instead of Hopman Cup (exo tournament), he will be #2 seed in Melbourne. But I don’t think he will hold onto the spot against Federer for long. I do not think Novak will defend his AO title. He will make a semi and lose to either Federer or Murray. I expect the title to be won by one of these two, probably Murray.”

[JJFAN]

I haven’t seen Murray with the legs to go all the way. He seems to come up short needing about a week’s rest before ready for a final match. He needs some luck to stay fresh enough to still be there at the end. I believe that would mean no heroic, five set marathon’s. That will be nice and a good pay day, but what will be left?

What would help is more of the limitation to three sets, especially important toward the end, when playing two or more days in a row. Endurance should be part of the game instead of the game itself. No single aspect other than ability to control the ball should define playing the game. Endurance is important but not everything.

Allowing the masters to have a bit longer careers with fewer injury periods would be good too, I think.


steve smith Says:

Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so! really nice post.

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