Roddick, Rafa Rip into the ATP Schedule, But Should They?
by Sean Randall | October 12th, 2009, 11:46 pm
  • 109 Comments

Has any top player in the history of tennis ever complained of the pro tennis season being too short? Perhaps Yevgeny Kafelnikov or Wayne Ferreira or even Nikolay Davydenko have shared such sentiment, but needless to say the few who do are in the minority. I bring it up because in what has become an annual end-of-the-year tradition, the top players in the game again are arguing that their season is just too long.

In interviews yesterday at the Shanghai Masters both top seed Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick took swipes at the length of the tennis calendar.

Said Nadal: “It’s impossible to play first of January and finish fifth of December. … It’s impossible to be here playing like what I did the last five years, playing a lot of matches and being all the time 100 percent without problems.”

Said Roddick: “It’s ridiculous to think that you have a professional sport that doesn’t have a legitimate offseason to rest, get healthy and then train. I just feel, sooner or later, that common sense has to prevail.”

And to a point they are right. The season is too long, too fractured and it really is a mess. But that’s the tennis season that’s been in place for years if not decades. And the players should know that, they should know because it’s the profession they have chosen. If they don’t agree with it find another line of work. Sorry, because it’s not likely to be changing anytime soon (read: there’s no fair way to eliminate tournaments!).

In a day when many are struggling with economic hardship, I don’t think millionaire athletes in any sport let alone tennis should be complaining about how they work way too much.

Nadal has played a total 77 matches (66 singles, 11 doubles) this year and for it he pocketed nearly $4.9 million. That’s $4.9 million dollars for 77 days of work which is just over $63,000 per day worked. (!!!)

Roddick has played 72 total matches (62 singles, 10 doubles) in 2009 accumulating almost $2.3 million. Again, $2.3 million for 72 days of work or about $32,000 per each day he worked.

I don’t know what the average wage of a worker globally is but here in the U.S. it’s right around $40,000/year. That’s $40,000 for working 240 days of the year or $166 a day.

Now who should be complaining? (And note I didn’t even include off-court endorsement or appearance fees.)

I’m guessing most average Americans would love to have Andy and Rafa’s issues with scheduling, travel, injuries, practice and time away from friends and family.

And let’s be honest, what worker – any worker anywhere for that matter – hasn’t complained that their “hours are too long” or the “work schedule is too tough” or they “need more time off to recharge”. We all do at some point, no matter what the profession. We all complain, or at least many of do. The difference is nearly all of us are not paid handsomely for playing game, like Rafa and Andy do.

And spare me, I know I’m being extreme and I’m not really picking on Andy and Rafa because I’m sure just about all the other top tennis players feel the exact same way (really, who wouldn’t want to work less and get paid the same if not more??), but in my mind, if they have concerns over the schedule this is not the time to air them in public. Have those discussion behind closed doors! I’m sure there are many people around the world who will not be shedding a tear these days for the millionaire players who are whining that they are being forced to play too much tennis. If anything they should be grateful for having such an opportunity.

And speaking of force, just who is making them play? I ask this same question every year: What’s the penalty for not playing? Are they kicked off the tour? Are they banished from tennis? Do they lose ranking points? The answer is no. More often than not, what they lose is…MONEY! That’s it. Cash.

And if Rafa and Roddick are so in arms over the scheduling why did they both play in a non-mandatory event last week? Did Roddick have to play in China? Did someone put a gun to Rafa’s head and made him get on a plane to Beijing? Of course not. They played for the love of game and they played to pick up a hefty appearance paycheck.

Had the appearance fees not been there would they still have played? No. And to be clear, that’s not their fault, that’s been the system for years so I don’t have an issue with them making/taking their money, but I do take offense when they start complaining about having to play too much.

Again, I agree with the players that the season could be improved but there’s really no easy way to make it better. So really it’s up to them to work with the calendar that’s before them.

Injuries will happen, there’s no schedule that will prevent them from happening, but top players need to be more understanding of the schedule and how much their bodies can take, rather than keeping an eye on just much they can make.

I always felt Roddick kept a smart schedule, also Roger Federer who’s forgoing what probably would have been a very lucrative Asian swing to rest up for the European indoors. Andre Agassi use to play sparingly and while I bash the Williams sisters a lot, few can ever fault them for overplaying! So balance can be had, but will the players be able to wave off temptation to have it?

As for the tennis, tomorrow in Shanghai we get our first real big test for a top player when Roddick gets Stan Wawrinka. I picked Wawrinka to pull the upset and that said, I really don’t know how he will do it. Maybe Andy will be in a foul mood after his schedule rant and decide to pack the bags and get the H out of Asia but I doubt it. It’s a long shot but I’ll keep with my Swiss selection.

Also tomorrow Tomas Berdych plays the hot Marin Cilic. The Croat needs to be careful in that one. My man Gael Monfils meets his countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu and big John Isner opens the Center Court play against Lleyton Hewitt in a worthy battle. Hewitt’s long been one of the better returners and we know how well Isner can bring the heat.

The other big guy, Ivo Karlovic, who I thought was going to beat Nadal, not surprisingly got dropped by James Blake. Now Blake gets another shot at Rafa tomorrow (Wednesday).

There was also some talk of Ernests Gulbis making a statement this week against Novak Djokovic in the second round. No luck for the Latvian as Ernests went Ernests and falling in his opener to Fabio Fognini in straight sets. Will Gulbis ever make it? The odds are against him.


Also Check Out:
Andy Roddick Withdraws From Toronto
Davydenko Dumps Ailing Rafa, Meets Federer for Doha Title; Roddick, Soderling Nearing Brisbane Collision
Nadal, Murray, Roddick Headline Blockbuster Friday in London
Monday US Open Schedule: Federer, Roddick, Hewitt, Venus, Clijsters Open Play
Caroline Wozniacki: The ATP Has Roger, Rafa And Novak, But We Have Fans Too!

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109 Comments for Roddick, Rafa Rip into the ATP Schedule, But Should They?

topspin Says:

Really who complains? top 10 players do, that’s pretty much it, the 990+ other tennis pros will take any tournament that pays well.

only top players make the big bucks, the rest are chasing every single chance they can to make a little bit of money.


Twocents Says:

When one wants to rest (or play exho’s) without losing one’s rank points, one asks the tour to hold. Simple, isn’t it?

Give the kiddo Ernests some time. I would.


The Cynnergist Says:

Well, to be fair, some players have complained about it, most notably Bjorn Borg.

Borg refused to play the Australian Open on a consistent basis for the very reasons Rafa points out. But back in the 70s/early 80s, it was not uncommon for top ranked players to skip a slam or major event. However I think the Tour has changed such to force players to commit to as many events as possible, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. You’ll end up with a lot more players taking the cue from the Williams sisters and selecting which events they’ll play in, even if they don’t care about the No 1 ranking. Borg sure didn’t.


jane Says:

Sean says: “Nadal has played a total 77 matches (66 singles, 11 doubles) this year and for it he pocketed nearly $4.9 million. That’s $4.9 million dollars for 77 days of work which is just over $63,000 per day worked. (!!!)”

Well, to be fair to the players, I think you’re off on your match here, as you’re implying the only time the players “work” is when they play matches. However, they also train, don’t they? And when I worked at a job in which I travelled a lot, those days of 9 hour or 15 hour or 5 hour flights counted as work days. So I would say these guys “work” more than you imply, and thus their daily wages would be less than you say.

However, they’re still loaded. : ) The top ones, that is.

The Cynnergist – yes, I think the fact that the tour has made more events “mandatory” is part of the problem, so why not scale that back somewhat? Let the players skip a few Masters Events every year and then you may have a few other or different guys winning. For example, with no Fed or Murray, people like Cilic might have a better shot at going deep. That’s perhaps all that is needed.

But as Sean says, the players certainly have the option of skipping the non-mandatory events, like last week; however, I don’t think they go only for the cash. I think they also go to get a leg up in the rankings, and to warm up for the bigger events, like the Masters in Shanghai this week. So it’s a bit of a rock and a hard place.

Yet, finally, when you put things into perspective and consider how much money these guys have made – the top ones I mean – playing a game that they love, well, in the grand scheme of things, they don’t have it so bad, do they?

Some people in this world are truly struggling to get by, to make it through the night or the next day.


jane Says:

@12:57 typo – “I think you’re off on your match here,” should be “I think you’re off on your math here”


been there Says:

Roddick initially complained about it after losing in Beijing on 6th Oct:
http://www.chinaopen.com.cn/news/en/2009-10-06/1948145.shtml

Now that Rafa has also joined in & Roddick continued the complaints, seems like the story has taken a life of it’s own ‘coz I notice it everywhere…on blogs and mainstream sports news outlets…I wonder what ATP officials will comment on it, if at all.

>> I think the calender is fine as it is..ok, maybe a few tweaks here & there, like having a week between mandatory tournaments, i.e. masters instead of back-to-back…but that’s not too much of a change.

>>topspin, thinking the same there…the calender -vely affects only the top10 players, & specifically Rafa, Roger & Djoko who tend to reach semis & finals in most tournaments. However, it would be unfair to cut the season short ‘coz those losing in rnd1, rnd2 need more tournaments….& the up & coming players…those ranked out of 100s, the Belluccis, Raonics, Brittons, Dimitrovs, etc…these boys need to play in as many tournaments as possible to earn cash, & if not just cash, to develop their games. I think the top players should look back into their more youthful days & try to remember how important it was for them…..where would Del.P be today without the long season?…he literally tore through as many tournaments as possible last yr to better his ranking.

It would be unfair to change an entire calender so suit five or so players instead of 1000. Basically, each player oughta manage their schedules well & pull out if fatigue is a very big issue….better to lose a few ranking points than compromise health & fitness.


Hypnos Says:

Indeed, if Roger Federer can skip the Asian swing, why can’t Nadal and Roddick? Is it because Federer is clear-and-away #1, where as Nadal and Roddick are under pressure to maintain their ranking versus Murray, Djokovic, etc.?

If so, then there is a case to be made for something being systemically wrong with the calendar. Tennis is not just competition on the court, but in the rankings, so to maintain a quality product you don’t want your hottest properties wearing themselves out.

In this light, the bulk of this essay having to do with the Nadal and Roddick being rich, irresponsible whiners is completely irrelevant.

It is said that tennis follows the sun, but more accurately it follows the cash. Tournaments have staked historical claims on certain weeks of the calendar, and now with the big-money Asian tourneys it’s gotten to be a mess. I probably would probably be okay with it if the Asian tournaments were on grass :P


jane Says:

Hypnos’ post shows that it’s somewhat of a vicious circle for the players and the ATP, with the top ranked guys trying to maintain their rankings without becoming too worn out and/or injured, and at the same time, with the tournaments maintaining their cash flow, with high ticket sales due to the top athletes competing. Maybe the answer is to promote a deeper field so that if the top three, four, five or six guys don’t play, there is still interest in the events?


been there Says:

Just out of interest, I’ve checked out the no. of tournaments played out by each top10 player:

Federer 19 Roddick 21
Nadal 18 Tsonga 25
Murray 19 Davyd 25
Djoko 22 V’dasco 23
Del.P 22 Simons 27

Rafa has played the least here…sure, some will say ‘but he was injured’…yes, but again, each player has a time when he’s injured or tired or sick, etc & can’t play. Notice Simons, who’s also plagued with injuries has played 27 tourneys.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/Singles.aspx

Scrolling down that list, Tommy Haas has played the least tourneys-16…must be a very well balanced individual :)… while a certain #76 Hernandez & #68 Granollers have played the most tourneys – 34.

So seems to me like it really is a matter of an individual’s scheduling as opposed to a very long calender….coz Haas (16), Gonzo (17), Rafa (18) have actually played the least ATP tourneys among the top100.

***correction in my post @1:14am..Bellucci is ranked in the 50s..shouldn’t have mentioned him with the others…but he also needs the tourneys seeing that he’s played 25 already.

****If anyone checks the ATP link above, feel free to make corrections as necessary to this post in case I’ve mixed up numbers. :)


Giner Says:

“I don’t know what the average wage of a worker globally is but here in the U.S. it’s right around $40,000/year. That’s $40,000 for working 240 days of the year or $166 a day.”

What pro athletes do is harder work than the average worker you know. It’s not just about playing matches as you suggested, but the things you have to do off court — practice, work hard on improving your game, stay fit, gym, etc. You said it was 77 days of work, but you only count the matches and not what they have to do off the court, which isn’t paid for by the way.

To be a top player takes a lot of talent as well. Hundreds of players out there do as much work as top 10 players but don’t have the results because they lack too many things. The average worker certainly would not be able to become a top 10 quality player.

“Now who should be complaining? (And note I didn’t even include off-court endorsement or appearance fees.)”

You only get these if you’re a top player, and you don’t attain that status magically. You have to put in the hard work and be gifted with talent, only then can you rise up the ranks to be given endorsements and appearance fees. You certainly couldn’t do it, and neither could a rank 200 player. Being a top billing star isn’t something that’s just handed to you. You have to earn it and these guys have done far more work (and harder work) than your average $40k worker. How much running can you handle a day? How many hours in the gym before you give up and go home? Could you take this punishment every day?

“Sorry, because it’s not likely to be changing anytime soon (read: there’s no fair way to eliminate tournaments!).”

They’d have to make more of those Masters tournaments optional like Monte Carlo. People will skip the ones toward the end of the season.

“I’m guessing most average Americans would love to have Andy and Rafa’s issues with scheduling, travel, injuries, practice and time away from friends and family.

And let’s be honest, what worker – any worker anywhere for that matter – hasn’t complained that their “hours are too long” or the “work schedule is too tough” or they “need more time off to recharge”. We all do at some point, no matter what the profession. We all complain, or at least many of do. The difference is nearly all of us are not paid handsomely for playing game, like Rafa and Andy do.”

Dude.. sitting in an office all day is far easier work than toiling away in the heat, running all over the court for hours, and making sure your body is fit enough to handle the heat. I couldn’t handle the Aussie Open heat just as a spectator sitting on my butt. I can’t imagine actually playing in that heat.

Even tougher physical jobs that require lifting don’t require much talent or after hours work.

“’m sure there are many people around the world who will not be shedding a tear these days for the millionaire players who are whining that they are being forced to play too much tennis. If anything they should be grateful for having such an opportunity.”

You make it sound like becoming a millionaire athlete is easy and doesn’t take much work, and they don’t have to do much other than play for 77 days a year. Reality check: There are thousands of players on the tour, and only a small minority of them have managed to win a million bucks worth of money. If it were that easy, they’d all be millionaires. But you look at guys ranked past 100 and they all have very few career matches under their belt, and a losing W-L record! Is it because they’re lazy, or they suck? No, it’s because.. it’s a tough tour!

“And if Rafa and Roddick are so in arms over the scheduling why did they both play in a non-mandatory event last week? Did Roddick have to play in China? Did someone put a gun to Rafa’s head and made him get on a plane to Beijing? Of course not. They played for the love of game and they played to pick up a hefty appearance paycheck.”

You have to play FOUR ATP500 events in a year, and one of them has to come after the US Open. Says so on the ATP site.


Hypnos Says:

been there,

The problem is that you can’t miss the majors, YEC and Masters series events unless you are run-away #1 player. The Aussie tune-ups are early January, and the YEC is late November, and some guys have Davis Cup after that. It’s just too many points (and too much money) to leave on the table.

It helps not to have back-to-back mandatory tourneys, but the fact remains that the offseason is hardly one month. If you are going to be on the road anyway, you might as well play to accumulate points, make bank and stay sharp.


been there Says:

Jane says:

“Maybe the answer is to promote a deeper field so that if the top three, four, five or six guys don’t play, there is still interest in the events?”

While I agree that the these add a different dynamic to an event…& to be specific Rafa & Fed (maybe I over-rate them…I can’t be blamed:D)…I think the current men’s tour is strong enough to garner interest without them…I’m just thinking of Malaysia & Thailand Open…the top-most guys were absent but the tourneys, esp Malaysia, at least for me, was still quite exciting with majority of the remaining top30 present.

But even if it wasn’t, how can a deeper field be promoted?….’coz am just thinking it’s just a matter of how players are performing during a certain time. For five yrs, we had Fed & rafa dominating..now, the younger guys have developed there game & the field is even stronger. Now compare that to the WTA which is currently weak….can anything be done about it except just wait for it to pick up? Sort of mountains & valleys in ATP & WTA circles…when the valleys come, wait for it to pass before exciting peaks.

Just a thought…but maybe there’s a way out….could be good advise for the WTA in general :)


been there Says:

Hynos @2:48,

I get what you’re saying. :)…but…would an off-season really help? ‘coz let’s pretend the ATP calender Jan to Oct…in which case they have a 2 month off-season..now, despite the 2month off-season, once they come back, injuries will still occur…’coz players get injured at different times…..& seeing that no tournament would be willing to be scrapped, the schedule would be even more packed…this would just make things worse…injuries + extreme fatigue. imo, won’t help tennis wise, but players are humans…am sure they’d appreciate quality lengthy time with their families at home.

I think the answer is as you put it….spacing out the tournaments more.


rafa Says:

[quote]And if Rafa and Roddick are so in arms over the scheduling why did they both play in a non-mandatory event last week? Did Roddick have to play in China? Did someone put a gun to Rafa’s head and made him get on a plane to Beijing? Of course not. They played for the love of game and they played to pick up a hefty appearance paycheck.

Had the appearance fees not been there would they still have played? No. And to be clear, that’s not their fault, that’s been the system for years so I don’t have an issue with them making/taking their money, but I do take offense when they start complaining about having to play too much.[/quote]

It is mandatory for leading players to enter at least four 500 events, including at least one after the US Open; if they play less than four, or fail to play in one after the US Open they get a “zero” score towards their world ranking for each one short.


Hypnos Says:

been there,

I’m no sports medicine expert, but I think that injuries accumulate at a constant rate with activity and take a certain amount of downtime to heal. So, you either need a short dense, season with a long offseason to recuperate from all the accumulated injuries (e.g., American football), or to really spread out the activity and allow the players to recuperate as they go (e.g., soccer).

Perhaps the simplest solution is indeed to eliminate the offseason, and eliminate back-to-back mandatory events. Then, the top players can get rest and the lower-ranked players can accumulate money and points as they need to.


grendel Says:

The Cynnergist says “Borg sure didn’t” (i.e. “care about the No 1 ranking”.)

In McEnroe’s autobiography, the American quotes Borg as saying to him:”Number one is the only thing that matters John. You know it as well as I do. If you’re number two, you might as well be number three or four – you’re nobody”.

On the strength of this conversation, b.t.w. with Borg urging McEnroe “You’ve got to go win the Australian!”, McEnroe decided “then and there to go Down Under. he had convinced me I could still be number one.”

Alas, “The Australian Open was horrendous: I never should have gone. I was way too burned-out to keep playing. I wasn’t mentally stable”. These last lines carry some resonance with the theme of this thread….

And incidentally, whereas Borg’s claim that you are nobody if you are number two sounds odd to us today, it wasn’t so long ago that Liujbicic was #3 – and was unrecognised by officials at some tourney!


grendel Says:

On second thoughts, maybe it wasn’t officials at a tourney, but receptionists at the player’s hotel. Can’t remember. Even so.

Giner says:”I couldn’t handle the Aussie Open heat just as a spectator sitting on my butt. I can’t imagine actually playing in that heat.” I recall having exactly that thought when watching the US Open 2 or 3 years ago in blistering heat. Watching Berdych just about handling Kohlschreiber in an entertaining match on an outside court, I didn’t have any head gear and kept surreptitiously (as it were) holding a newspaper over my head – the concern was that the people behind me would be unable to see, and I had to balance that disagreeable possibility against one of fainting or being sick.

Somehow, Berdych and Kohlschreiber contrived to look cool, to get irritated at the normal things, and so on. I was almost as much impressed by that as the actual play.


Kimo Says:

Sean, I know you enjoy sparking a few debates every now and then with your articles, and I like that, but this article is just ridiculous.

Top players are away from their homes for almost 11 months a year. (There is about a month of rest for the top 5 in the world after the AO, Wimbledon, and the USO, but that leaves most players with a very hard schedule. I can’t even begin to image what it would be like to live a life of checking-in, checking-out of hotels all the time, departing from and arrving at airports all the time, living out of a suitcase all the time. That’s just crazy. It doesn’t just take a toll on your body, but also on your mind. You see the same people everyday and they travel with you all the time, and these people aren’t your wife, girlfriend, mom and dad. No, they are you’re employees (coach, trainer, stringer). You can’t have any friends or a normal social life.

Tennis is the hardest sport of all, and it’s not like these guys are making as much money as golfers (those guys get paid absurd amounts of money, really propostrous), or enjoy the luxury of living in one city and only travelling for away matches as is the case with baseball, basketball and football. That is one of the reasons tennis players don’t try to raise their kids that way. It’s just not normal. Too many sacrifices, and the end result is not always guaranteed.


Deborah Says:

That’s why I admire Federer and how he handles his schedule. When he took a break last spring, he took all sorts of grief over missing Davis cup and some other obligations. He had no way of knowing Rafa would get beat at the French and not defend Wimbledon, etc. He just did what he needed to do for himself and things fell into place for him. Roger has always cited scheduling as a factor in his success.


i am it Says:

Mr. author,
let me offer my advice on a few things.

(1) the concept of hard work has to be field specific. hard work from one field cannot be compared with hard work from another field.

(2) neither can hard work be reduced to number of hours you put in, nor to the amount you perspire. if that were the case South Korea and Greece would be two superpowers in the world today because Greeks and Koreans have the longest work hours, 2,357 hrs and 2052 hrs respectively, according to the recent data released by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). USA ranks 9th with 1797 hrs. per worker per year.

Source: http://skorcareer.com.my/blog/koreans-work-longest-hours/2008/07/15/

(3) how much money one makes is not necessarily dependent on how many hours you work. it depends more on the work you produced than the time you spend. thus, the concept of smart time and work value.

(4) you say, “Do they lose ranking points? The answer is no.”
You are wrong here. There are 18 mandatory tournaments for top 30, and 19 for top 8. You don’t play one, you receive zero pointer. You don’t play 1 Masters, there is an additional penalty. Both affect ranking. Read Ranking FAQ (4) and (5) in http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/Rankings-FAQ.aspx

(5) you say, “And if Rafa and Roddick are so in arms over the scheduling why did they both play in a non-mandatory event last week?”
My response: Again, top 30 players are required to play one ATP 500 series after the US Open, and there is not a single 500 Series event in the USA after the US Open. So, either they do it in Asia or Europe.

(6) You say, “Had the appearance fees not been there would they still have played? No.”
Again, you are wrong. The appearance fee is too minimal. These top 10 players make more money from exhos than from appearance fees.
Rafa, Roddick, and other top players are playing in Beijing as a way to fulfill the requirement of one 500 Series after the US Open as well as to prepare for Shanghai Masters, reasonably to get over the rust of over 1 month.

(7) you say, “but in my mind, if they have concerns over the schedule this is not the time to air them in public. Have those discussion behind closed doors!”
in a way, I agree with you here. Rafa is vice president of Player Council. that’s the right place for him to raise the issue, but i don’t blame Roddick or other players who publicly raise voice against the schedule.

In sum, what you’re saying, long schedule is bad but they should not be complaining. No, if it is bad, they should be complaining AND most importantly doing something about it, not swallow what’s been served. WTA as a union was able to reduce its mandatory 13 tournaments to 10, so can Men, but they have to act.

Solution Process:
(a) We get 3 seats in the Board. Have active players as players’ representatives in the Board, not some tournament directors or retired players. Get Vote out Giorgio di Palermo, David Egdes, and Justin Gimelstob, because they represent more corporate interests than players’ interests.

(b) figure out how to get a CEO like Hamilton Jordan or leader like Cliff Drysdale or at least Jack Kramer.

(b)the Players Council must act in the manner they did in ’72 Wimbledon boycott.

Problem: like you said, how do you go about dropping some tournaments without facing a debacle like Hamburg?

Solution: sometimes, you get an opportunity to do so, like in the case of Indian Wells a few years ago. or, they had an option not to add Shanghai. Players Council should have opposed in time with full force.
read this: tennisweek.com/news/fullstory.sps?inewsid=501570

as a friendly suggestion, if i may, i would do some research and homework, before making sweeping statements, would gather some facts and data to back up my claim.


i am it Says:

roddick retired while he was leading 4-3.
sean, you got Wawa right, but i don’t know how deep he will go.
berdych stuns Cilic (helps Djokovic). you got this one right, too.
but haas is still alive, so watch out.

other results:
soderling d. hanescu
davy d. kunitsyn
gonzu d. bellucci
stepanek d. beck (the worm is in supreme form)
hewitt straight-sets Isner (helps rafa).
Monfils stops PHM, first ever win?
almagro dispatches Kohls.
melzer eliminates chardy (helps dePo)
troicki d. monaco.


The Cynnergist Says:

Hi –

To Grendel – the point I was making re Borg was despite what Borg said, his actions spoke differently. He refused to commit to the Aussie Open, he preferred to take that time of year off. This is well documented elsewhere. Of course Borg wanted to be the best player and Number 1, but back then, it seemed that a top player could skip the winter events (which includes the AusOpen) and still be No 1. I mean, Borg was No 1 in the world without winning the US Open, remember? He only went nuclear on the Wimbledon and the French Open Slams – and we probably won’t ever see that kind of winning again .

I do think the players ‘play’ too much and the comparisons people are making here with respect to a tennis career and a desk job (in terms of compensation) are either disingenuous or naively childlike :)


Sean Randall Says:

Bad luck for Andy who retires with a knee injury. Hope it’s not to serious.

To respond.

Jane/Giner, I’m aware that players put in time on their off days and I noted their travel, training, etc. But how much time do they put in? Do they put in 8-9 hours a day to tennis? Does a massage count as work? Does sitting on the couch in the player lounge count as work?

Giner, you say “What pro athletes do is harder work than the average worker you know”. There’s merit there but definitely not clear cut. Physically tennis of course if tougher than 9-5, but 9-5 can really wear you down mentally, and like tennis or any other pro sport you do have to work and often work hard and long to attain status in the 9-5.

To consider, a fair amount of the workforce hate their job. Do you think Andy hates playing tennis?

You also say, “Even tougher physical jobs that require lifting don’t require much talent or after hours work.” Really, I played tennis in college and I worked construction over the summer in the heat. Playing tennis, training, preparing was FAR, FAR easier! Hammering nails, putting up sheet rock, lifting trusses for eight hours a day was no fun, trust me.

And remember, this is aimed at the top guys, the top 10 multi-millionaires not the players grinding and slaving just to earn six figures. Those guys do not have easy!

Hypnos, “Nadal and Roddick being rich, irresponsible whiners is completely irrelevant”. No, it has full relevance. Because they are the rich ones this becomes a story. They are the “haves” not the “have nots” like Peter Luczak or Kevin Kim or Ivo Minar who need more tournaments to make their money. The top players should know better than to bring this stuff up in public at a time when most are facing economic uncertainty.

Kimo, how long has Andy been away from home this year? 11 months is on the high side.

Looking at his schedule let’s say he’s home .5 months during Jan thru Mar, 1 month Apr thru Wimbledon, 1 month end Wimbledon thru US Open, 1 month end US Open thru Beijing then 1.5 to end the year.

That’s five months off at home or seven months on the road. I know it’s a general number give or take a month.

I realize traveling is a b!tch, but tennis players are not the only ones flying the friendly skies. There are a lot of jobs here in the U.S. (sales jobs esp) that require a lot of travel, be it regional, national and global. And unlike the top tennis players they don’t get paid multi-millions nor do they fly first class to exotic locales, stay in five-star hotels and dine in luxurious restaurants.

Some of them check-in/check-out of 2-3 different hotels a week! At worst Roddick’s doing that a month.

And again, can someone tell me what the penalty is for missing an event? Of course they miss out on the opportunity to gain ranking points – I am aware of that! – but please tell me there’s something else?

As for Roger, has he really wrapped up No. 1? What if Rafa were to win Shanghai maybe get to the final in Paris? Wouldn’t doing that put Nadal on Roger’s heels?


grendel Says:

“Andy Roddick’s body finally gave up on him when he limped out of the Shanghai Masters after retiring in the first set of his second-round match against Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.

“Andy Roddick’s body finally gave up on him when he limped out of the Shanghai Masters after retiring in the first set of his second-round match against Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.
The 27-year-old fourth seed, who launched a scathing attack on the gruelling tour schedule on Monday, was 4-3 up and looking to convert a break point when he pulled up short chasing a Wawrinka backhand.”
http://eurosport.yahoo.com/13102009/58/roddick-retires-injured-shanghai.html).

Seems like Roddick has confirmed his point in a painful and unanswerable manner.


Sean Randall Says:

i am it, to answer

1) Agree.

2) Agree, the American average Joe has it better than say the Chinese average Joe in terms of wage and hours.

3) I can see that.

4) Now we are getting somewhere. From the rules:
“Players with direct acceptance who do not play an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament will be suspended from a subsequent ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event which will be the next highest point earned ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event within the next 12 months. If an injured player is on-site within the first three days of a tournament to conduct promotional activities over a two day period, a suspension will not be enforced but a 0-pointer will be counted on a player’s ranking.”
This suggests that Roger/Murray had to fly to Shanghai to get checked out on-site, otherwise they will be suspended from a future 1000 event. Do we know if either player made the journey?

5) Missing out on points is not a penalty.

6) Wrong. How much do you think Rafa/Andy got to play in Beijing last week. Andy in the 200K range, Rafa 300K? Is that “minimal”?

7) I just think they need to be more sensitive to the general public when they are complaining they work too much. Many people work to much these days don’t make anything close to the top tennis players.

As for your solutions, making changes in the board, leadership is all well, but the problems remains, how do you equitably shrink the calendar?


grendel Says:

There is, perhaps, no obviously easy answer, because the interests of the top players is at odds with those of the lower ranks – necessarily . The top players go deeper into the tourneys, and are therefor more at risk in terms of injury.

On the other hand, the lower ranked players would like to be top players.As some of them gradually succeed in this ambition, so does the nature of their concerns evolve.

So, in theory, a player might be on one side of the fence one year, on the other the following. This renders any organised kind of action on the part of the players rather difficult, I would have thought.

But there is a certain pragmatic, non-ethical principle at stake: don’t kill the goose which etc.


i am it Says:

sean, w.r.t. (4) no, murray and federer did not come to Shanghai.
however, check this out:
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2009-10-06/2445.php#comment-101948

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2009-10-06/2445.php#comment-101957

and my point was (and still is):
yes, according to rule 1.08, fed and roddick will be exempt from the suspension, where as rafa does not have the same luxury yet.

however, they will not be exempt from the zero-pointer. which means it will have effect on the player’s ranking points because ATP will count those missed tournaments. there is no way around it. for instance, roddick has been given a zero-pointer for Rome. and fed will be given zero-pointer for missing Shanghai plus Washington has decided to give fed a zero-pointer because he had initially committed to play but later withdrew. as a result, besides YEC, roddick’s ranking will be based on 17 events, and after Shanghai, fed’s will be based on 16 events.

keep also in mind, though not applicable for roddick and fed: “If an injured player is on-site within the first three days of a tournament to conduct promotional activities over a two day period, a suspension will not be enforced but a 0-pointer will be counted on a player’s ranking.”
I believe players also have option to appeal to the 1000 tribunal and arrange a promotional work on a later date, in the next tournament.
again, the zero-pointer remains in effect.


Twocents Says:

When top dogs take big fat checks from Nike & Mercedez, etc., they tend to forget that part of the cash Nike et all paid them is from the emerging market? It seems fair that they take some acountabilities when they fail to show up for their paying customers, in terms of ranking points, fines, etc.

Hope Roddick recovers for London O2.


Sean Randall Says:

grendel, Karma is a b!itch as they say. Don’t anger the tennis Gods! Rafa best watch out.


grendel Says:

Sean says:

“I played tennis in college and I worked construction over the summer in the heat. Playing tennis, training, preparing was FAR, FAR easier! Hammering nails, putting up sheet rock, lifting trusses for eight hours a day was no fun, trust me.”

I’m assuming that playing tennis in college is nowhere near as tough as the kind of training put in by the top players. Now the physical labouring to which Sean alludes I am familiar with, and however hard it is – excluding slavetype conditions – you get used to it, and sort of accept it as the way of getting your beer money, rent money etc.

Without knowing anything about it, I imagine the training of the top players is “spiritually” much harder, for this reason: Nobody is forcing them to do it. They are already rich, and could opt for the easy life.

It just is a fact that being forced to work hard by somebody else is somehow easier than forcing yourself to do it. Obviously, if you can do the latter, if you have the mental resources, then you derive enormous satisfaction (I am presumeing)which is not available to the labourer.

The ability to work tremendously hard when there is NO FINANCIAL NECESSITY for it is not given to everyone.


i am it Says:

part of the solution: you don’t have to get rid of tournaments. you just have to make some optional, say all four 500 series and two 250 series. so you would basically have 12 mandatory with penalties, or go back to the old system and retain no-zero pointer and no-suspension rule.

but the Player Council has to act rather than whine.


Sean Randall Says:

i am it, those rules are interesting. So Fed gets off because he’s played 600 matches? Murray because he’s been injured for 30 days? (but Murray just played DC)

My point with the 18/19 events is that while that’s the number that counts toward your ranking that doesn’t mean you have play that many.

If Roddick feels content with just 16 events, then that’s what he should target playing at the start of the year. Play four Slams, 8 Masters and four 500s.


i am it Says:

Sean, where did you get this number, “Andy in the 200K range, Rafa 300K?”
do you have a source to authenticate this?
who is paying them and out of what legitimate budget? or, is it under the table, Off-Balance- Sheet, like in the Pre-Open era? even if that were the case, there has to be some reporting by the mainstream media.
any way, i have reasons to doubt until i see the factual Balance Sheet of the tournament.


Sean Randall Says:

grendel, true. I am by no means inferring my regiment is anywhere near that of Roddick’s (i won’t even mention Rafa). But that said, how many hours a day can Andy really be putting in physical work? Three hours, four, five?

In college it was two hours – lots of running, sprints, line drills (gassers as they called them) in addition to court time plus gym out of practice.

For the pros it’s going to be around four hours roughly. A 2-hour morning hit, 2-hour afternoon hit then maybe one hour cool down in the gym.

Or a 2-hour practice hit preceded or followed by a an hour or two in the gym. There’s stretching, massage but physically I think anything more than 4-5 hours/day on an off day may be overkill.


Sean Randall Says:

i am it, appearance fees like the lengthy calendar have long been part of pro tennis. And we’ve discussed them on several occasions here.

My honest guess is those numbers I threw out are on the low side for Rafa and Andy. They probably got more than I speculated.

As for proof, I have none for my claim in this case just as you won’t find any proof against it, but it’s been an unwritten rule for decades that allow the top players get a fee just for playing at the non-Slam and non-Masters events.


i am it Says:

just a thought: if you are argue that roddick’s complaint was prelude to his retirement, it may sound credible to some. and if rafa follows the same path or attributes his loss to the schedule, then we have reason to doubt what they are doing: that they are not trying to find a solution but find an excuse to their bad performance/ losses/ withdrawals/ retirements,
Although the tough schedule may have something to do with those consequences, it applies to all players, not just a couple of exiting players, thus the complaint loses its credibility.


Sean Randall Says:

i am it, true. Though I have a hard time believing either Andy or Rafa would take a “fall” on purpose just to prove their point.


Sean Randall Says:

Rafa complains the season is to long, and then he enters this:
http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/13102009/58/federer-nadal-set-abu-dhabi.html

Rafa fans, explain your guy!


i am it Says:

i am serious on this and saying this after a lot of thinking:
considering roddick withdrew after first RR last year and he might do the same again, and rafa has already withdrawn a couple of times (’05. ’08), from the YEC, it is in roddick’s or any other potential retirees or potential withdrawing players like rafa’s best interests not to qualify for the YEC.
since rafa has already qualified, he should announce withdrawal as soon as possible from the YEC and get automatic suspension next year, so those next in line will have opportunity and enough preparation time. there are players like Verdasco, Gonzu, Soderling, Cilic, Simon, who would die to qualify for the YEC. it is in the best interest of tennis that they know in time.


Twocents Says:

Sean,

While I’m not a Rafa fan and I don’t give much about his (perenial) schedule bitching, a exho is just a gloried and paid practice session. Not a real tournament.


sensationalsafin Says:

I don’t think playing an exhibition in the beginning of the year is gonna hurt. How else are they supposed to warm up for a slam? There’s 2 small events before the AO. Compare that to 3 MS + other tournys before the FO and 2 MS + other tournys before the USO. I’m excluding Wimbledon because no one cares about grass so there’s nothin to really say about it. Although you could say that there are 2 small tournys including the whole FO and clay season leading into Wimbledon.


Twocents Says:

Apology for the “glorified” typo above.


jane Says:

Too bad Roddick had to retire. Like i am it, I wonder if this means he is potentially going to miss the YEC? If so, that means his season is done and he can recoup for next year; it also means another space opens up for the YEC. I assume he will get things checked out immediately and confirm whether or not he will play anymore this year.

At this point I am beginning to think it’ll be Fed vs. Murray in the YEC championship finals. lol.

Hewitt vs. Rafa should be good; Hewitt is in good form, given his run to the semis last week, and almost the finals – Youz beat him by a hair.

Not too surprised to see Cilic experience a bit of a let down after last week; plus Berdych is always a tough out on hard courts. I don’t think Djoko’s path is necessarily any easier with Cilic and Roddick gone, since Haas is there, and Haas has had his number, at least on grass, this year, and also Berdych, Wawa, not easy to eliminate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out early but I hope that’s not the case. I suspect Delpo will do well here. Maybe Rafa but I am not sure – with Blake next, Hewitt on the horizon and Delpo…it’s not going to be easy.


Vulcan Says:

One thing you have to take into consideration regarding Roddick and Nadal’s comments is that they both take Davis Cup more seriously than some of the other top players. This ads to the overall length of their calendars.

About nobody caring about Wimbledon, I guess the opinions of some of the greatest players in history describing how Wimbledon is so important to them is irrelevant? I still think that there should be a Masters series grass tournament.


jane Says:

Oops – after looking at the draw, I just realized I am jumping way ahead with the Rafa/Hewitt match up.

sensationalsafin’s post proves the calendar needs rejigging if not shortening. There should be a Masters Series event on grass before Wimbledon and there should be more prep before the AO, with at least one “bigger” 500 event anyhow.


i am it Says:

Sean says, “Though I have a hard time believing either Andy or Rafa would take a “fall” on purpose just to prove their point.”

honestly, i wish they did. if roddick did “take a fall on purpose” to prove a point, he would be my hero for life.
that’s not what i was saying. roddick MIGHT have complained ahead of time to entitle himself to retirement, to validate that he earned the retirement. if that is the case, then that’s not heroic.
rafa has had the lightest season of the top 10, 3 months off in 2 intervals, and he routinely ends the season ahead of others. if he attributes his retirements, withdrawals, or losses to scheduling this year, he is suspect. then, add the exhos you mentioned above.
i don’t think these kids are serious about fixing the ATP schedule. i don’t think they will take any initiative. i wish their complaints were prelude to taking some initiative toward fixing the system. i wish i were wrong in thinking this way.


Twocents Says:

When Fed let pass Davis Cup ties, he did not complain about ATP schedule. He just said his priority was his no.1 ranking. And he kept saying it’s impossible for him to win DC AND maintain no.1.

What an arrogant and selfish crybaby.


i am it Says:

“At this point I am beginning to think it’ll be Fed vs. Murray in the YEC championship finals. lol.”

j., that looks like a foregone conclusion on paper. i also have been thinking the same for a while now.

but this is an extraordinary year, so we never know.

your man dj will make every effort to defend, and he is looking good and can only get better.
my man dePo has a goal to win the YEC, though i admit he is not that good indoor. but he is a fast learner. if he puts his heart and mind, who knows?
if Soderling makes it, he is an indoor specialist.
with Paris title, Tsonga has the credential to do some damage.
Davydenko can spoil the party, like he did last year.
we may get another David Ferrer of ’07.
lots of possibilities.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Sean,

I fully agree with your post.

Players should learn something from Federer. He manages his schedule better than anyone else. If you are going deep into the slams and masters, then opt out of most of the other tournaments. Fed has stopped playing these 500/250 tournaments, except his hometown basel, or “hometown” dubai, or one or two tune ups.

Nadal really has the dumbest schedule of all. Why does he insist on playing so many small hard court tournaments? Beijing was unnecessary. So is Rotterdam. Or the overload of clay tournaments. He can easily skip 4-5 weeks of play a year from his existing schedule, and get that time to rest and train. They have already made it 8 instead of 9 masters tournaments.

Get your greed under control, and you will get time to rest, rehab, and train. Like Federer. He is going to be the freshest player in November!


Tennis served fresh Says:

I agree with you. They shouldn’t be complaining, we spend our hard earned dollars to buy their endorsed products and pay hefty to go watch them play. However; I do understand that they need rest (granted, staying at luxurious hotels and suites is really hard to get ‘rest’) to be in top form. But that’s what competition is…who is the fittest and who is willing to push their bodies and minds to the limit? The top players, that’s who.


Sean Randall Says:

So it doesn’t sound hypocritical for Rafa to complain about the season then go ahead and enter a mega-money exo?

To me it absolute does. And it also sounds like Rafa’s not going to ease up on his schedule for 2010. If he’s going to make a trip to Abu Dhabi he;s surely going to play Dubai and the rest.

i am it, are you saying that Roddick hinted he was injured before the match? I don’t quite follow you.

As for the year-end champs, I’m sure Roddick would love to just skip it but if his knee allows he’ll play. The event is still over a month away.


Vulcan Says:

Fed is GOAT Says:

Why does he insist on playing so many small hard court tournaments? Beijing was unnecessary. So is Rotterdam. Or the overload of clay tournaments.

A. He wants to improve on hardcourts (or else listen to people cry about he’s only a “clay court specialist”)
B. He was out with an injury for a while so he probably wanted to try and make up for lost time
C. I don’t see any “overload” of clay tournaments…he played the requisite Masters series events and one smaller “hometown”(Barcelona) event. For someone known as the “King of Clay” this seems reasonable.


Sean Randall Says:

Fed is GOAT, if you have the “greedy” rankings, Nadal would be my No. 1.

Tennis Served Fresh, very true. Part of being on the circuit is being fit enough, tough enough and smart enough to handle its demands. Federer, Agassi and even the Williams sisters knew/know where to pick their battles. Roddick has been good with his schedule as well. But when you make the multi-millions with it comes greater demands, and among those are more required appearances at events like masters tournaments. Sorry guys, with the money comes more responsibilty.

Instead of complaining just be thankful you earn big cash for playing a sport you love.


Vulcan Says:

Fed is GOAT Says:

They have already made it 8 instead of 9 masters tournaments.

Huh?


jane Says:

Vulcan’s reply @12:52 seems reasonable – each of those explanations, particularly A & B are viable. However, it does perhaps put a dent in his argument for a shorter season if he continues to play events he doesn’t need to. But again, if it’s down to him wanting to make a push on hardcourts, then he needs the play. Something’s gotta give. As for the clay season, perhaps this year Rafa could’ve cut Madrid if he knew that the knees were beginning to ail him. Or he could’ve cut Barcelona, as difficult as that might’ve been to do, given it’s a home event. Normally Rafa has made it through the clay season with no problems, but this year was an exception.


Vulcan Says:

Sean Randall Says:

Fed is GOAT, if you have the “greedy” rankings, Nadal would be my No. 1.

Yeah right, I guess that’s why he goes out of his way to take things like Davis Cup and the Olympics so seriously right. He plays virtually the same EXOs as Federer (who could care less about Davis Cup) yet Rafa’s the greedy one…gotcha.


Sean Randall Says:

Vulcan, I not saying Fed doesn’t go for the cash, because he does as well. But I’ll argue Fed says “no” these days more than Rafa.

And by the way, Rafa does get paid for Davis Cup, you know that? Perhaps as much as seven figures.


Twocents Says:

Davis Cup appearance:

Federer: 48, 37/11 win/loss

Nadal: 19, 14/5 win/loss

Of course we know that Nadal would have played more if they allowed him to. LOL.


goat galz Says:

Roddick retired? In a matche? Has to have been a broken leg because a certain anal someone on here doesn’t like retirements.


Vulcan Says:

Sean Randall Says:

Rafa does get paid for Davis Cup, you know that? Perhaps as much as seven figures.

No I didn’t, however, can you cite a reference for this assertion?


i am it Says:

j. says, “I don’t think Djoko’s path is necessarily any easier with Cilic and Roddick gone, since Haas is there, and Haas has had his number, at least on grass, this year, and also Berdych, Wawa, not easy to eliminate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out early but I hope that’s not the case. I suspect Delpo will do well here. Maybe Rafa but I am not sure.”

probable final possibilities:
(1) Dj. vs. dePo
(2) Dj. vs. Rafa
(3) Dj. vs. Tsonga

winner: one of the four.

your guy looks a little better, esp. after cilic and roddick’s exits.

improbable final possibilities:
verdasco/soderling/ ferrer/ vs. davy/ wawa/ haas/ simon/ berdych/stepanek
but one of these could soil the party.

i will revise the list by quarter finals.


Twocents Says:

There is no no.1 if Fed’s no.2, when it comes to “greedy”.

He fired his coach the minute he made it to no.1 in ranking? So ungrateful — you should stick to someone who taught you tennis since you were four year old. And worse, Fed then accused of others of on court coaching while doing it himself all these years. Greedy & hypocrite?


i am it Says:

Sean, with the complaint, roddick MIGHT have hinted that the retirement was coming. i have no way to conform this, nor the nature of his injury.


Sean Randall Says:

Vulcan, the Davis Cup is not a “free” event. People get paid. People like coaches, linesmen, chair umps and yes, even the players.

I know that players like Agassi and Sampras were offered six figures to play for America. And I’m sure Roddick’s in that same league. But in Europe where tennis and DC is much bigger the guys like Rafa probably get much more for playing ties for their home country.

Just think how much the DC captains make. $50k, six figures per year? Sounds fair, right? If they make that much then it’s reasonable to think that the star players are going to get much more.

i am it, possibly. I guess one cannot rule it out.

Goat galz, are you referring to my bashing on Jankovic for retiring? If so, big difference retiring in the first round vs. retiring in a final.


sensationalsafin Says:

I didn’t say the players don’t care about Wimbledon. But it doesn’t look like the ATP cares at all. The most prestigious event in the sport and the grass season lasts about a month (longer for those journeymen who play Newport and whatnot, although technically it isn’t longer since they probably lost early at Wimbledon). They need to start planning a revamped schedule. It’s not gonna happen right away but they should start on a progressive plan. I think they should push the AO back, play a couple small events in the beginning of the year with IW capping off the first month or so, few more tournys capped of with Miami, about a week for small journeymen tournys then the AO. Then go into the clay season and leave it them same except take away one MS. Make that MS a grass MS and do the same thing leading into Wimbledon (small, MS, small, Wimbledon). Then go into the USO doing the same except instead of back to back MS add a small tourny in between. After the USO, make the last 2 MS optional for the top 8 or 15 players but have the same set up with small, MS, small MS then leave at least a week between the last MS and the WTF. Also be more lenient on the players who go deep in MS when having to play the second MS. Like for those who make the semis of IW not be severely punished if they pull out of Miami. Like instead of penalizing them and suspending them, just do the 0 ranking thing and maybe fine them. And also don’t force the semifinalists to partake in the smaller events.

This is just an idea. I’m gonna try to make a schedule to see if this actually works.


sensationalsafin Says:

January
Week 1: 250
Week 2: 500
Week 3: 1000 (IW)
Week 4: 500

February:
Week 1: 1000 (Miami)
Week 2: 250
Week 3: Slam (Australian Open)
Week 4: Slam (Australian Open)

March:
Week 1: 250
Week 2: 250
Week 3: 500
Week 4: 1000 (Rome)

April:
Week 1: 500
Week 2: 1000 (Madrid)
Week 3: 250
Week 4: Slam (Roland Garros)

May:
Week 1: Slam (Roland Garros)
Week 2: 250
Week 3: 250
Week 4: 500

June:
Week 1: 1000 (Monte Carlo)
Week 2: 500
Week 3: 250
Week 4: Slam (Wimbledon)

July:
Week 1: Slam (Wimbledon)
Week 2: 250
Week 3: 250
Week 4: 500

August:
Week 1: 1000 (Canada)
Week 2: 500
Week 3: 1000 (Cincinnati)
Week 4: 500

September:
Week 1: 250
Week 2: Slam (US Open)
Week 3: Slam (US Open)
Week 4: 250

October:
Week 1: 250
Week 2: 500
Week 3: 1000 (Shanghai)
Week 4: 500

November:
Week 1: 1000 (Paris)
Week 2:
Week 3: YEC (WTF)
Week 4:

December:
Week 1:
Week 2:
Week 3:
Week 4:

So I forgot about Davis Cup which would extend the year some more and after seeing my idea on paper, I’m thinking the players are bitching too much since my concept year would end in December.


i am it Says:

in the post-retirement interview,

“I don’t really know what’s going on in there,” Roddick said. “I’m not a doctor. I can’t really self diagnose myself… I’m not going to have a lot of answers for you guys tonight, unfortunately.

“I just felt I pushed off, and then Michal came on court and did some tests and advised that it probably wasn’t worth the risk until we know more. Enough to make me stop a tennis match, which is going to be pretty significant. Beyond that, I don’t know; that’s not my profession.”


Sean Randall Says:

Another point to make is what would happen if the top players actually got their wish and the season ended for example yesterday on October 12. What would the top players do for the next 2.5 month??

I think Roddick would put the racquet away and chill on the couch for the most part, playing some local charity events, etc.

But Rafa? I doubt it. Rafa’s calling up Roger and the two of them – maybe add in Novak and Murray – head out for the Mega Money Jackpot Tour of Asia and the Middle East.

Perhaps a three-week, five-city money grab in Macau, Tokyo, Bombay, Abu Dhabi then finish in Dubai in mid November. What a payday that would be.

Whatever Rafa/Roger would normally earn on the regular ATP tour the last month of the year playing Paris, London, etc (maybe a $1.5 mill) that exo tour would likely double if not triple.

So by ending the season earlier, the rich could get richer while the lower ranked guys would be stuck idle and jobless.


Vulcan Says:

Twocents Says:

Davis Cup appearance:

Federer: 48, 37/11 win/loss

Nadal: 19, 14/5 win/loss

I guess the purpose of this stat is to show that Federer is dramatically more devoted to DC than Nadal. However note that Federer is older and has been playing DC for 11 years while Nadal has been playing for only 6.


jane Says:

i am it @ 1:15 – I hope you’re right; you’ve slotted Djok into the final in all 3 scenarios! I guess you think he’ll cruise through the draw, no threats? : ) I think he could go down to Haas, but I hope not. If can accumulate as many points as possible now, then if he doesn’t defend the YEC, he will be okay, and won’t drop to low or whatever.


Sean Randall Says:

sensationalsafin, nice calendar! Unfortunately good luck getting the tournaments to agree.

One thing. I read some time ago that the Australian Open was reluctant to move its date back because the kids go back to school at the end of January.

Also with the tour starting January in the US, how keen would IW be to go up against the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl? Not very! They won’t like that move I’m guessing.


Twocents Says:

And without the majority of lower ranker players, the top guns would be like — floater? or bottom off?

Like it or not, the tour is getting bigger and global. How I wish it all went back to the good old days of country club games, but with current pay checks?


i am it Says:

sean, you have a point. like i said earlier, make the 500 and 250 series optional for top 10, 20, or 30, or whatever works best.

————
SS, your calendar looks really good. i did have something like that in mind before.

except, i have recently changed my stance on grass. ultimately it has to go. i know, i know most disagree. but it is the most expensive surface, and most countries cannot afford to maintain it. most players don’t have access to grass. even where it is available, it is too costly. for instance, in my town, it costs $150 for 3 hrs. that’s the cheapest you can get.

—————
the YEC needs to be revamped, make it in par with what used to be called Grand Slam Cup, i mean prize wise and draw wise (make it $3 mil, 16 player RR draw).


sensationalsafin Says:

I know grass is expensive but tennis is an all around expensive sport. There are about 8? grass tournaments a year. My schedule asks for maybe 2-4 more. I think it’s possible.

Making the YEC a 16 player draw will result with more complaints. Right now, Nadal has a crappy draw and he’s got DC and YEC so he’s complaining. What about the extra 8 players who probably play stupid schedules.

The biggest issue, sometimes, isn’t just the number of tournaments but the matches themselves. Roddick’s kept a smart schedule but why is he complaining with Nadal? Probably because lost a 5 setter, a 3 setter, a 3 setter, 2 tb sets, and a 5 setter during the summer. 16-14 in the 5th, 7-6 in the 5th, 7-5 in the 5th, and 7-6 in the 5th. He’s going the distance. Even if he won those matches, they still went the distance so he’d still be pretty tired. Except maybe if he had won Wimbledon he would’ve skipped Legg Mason (that’s in Washington right?). But if he had beaten Isner he may have gone on to play a few more 4 setters and 5 setters. The ATP needs to be more lenient for players who play ridiculous matches like that.


Blank Says:

Like men, why don’t the women complain so much about how long the season is? Aside from the fact that hardly any of them play well these days to be in a position to complain…


been there Says:

ok…so the two main arguments are that maybe there’s a problem with the calender, or it’s just a question of a player handling his schedule better. Either way, my question is: what good is achieved in airing the complaints to the media & public? ‘coz I think that’s the only reason for airing the complaints….to gain public & media support. Can’t this be handled privately, ‘coz I should think that even among the players…all 1000 of them, opinions will be divided.

I ask ‘coz I don’t see how public or media opinions will affect any ATP decisons made. I’ll make a comparison with English & European football premier leagues…in this case, the players are owned by the management…& fans DO have influence over management…even the actual club owners…so if football players feels slighted by say a coach or feel that management is poor, there’s usually a drip drip of complaints to the media…soon the fans make their feelings known, can hold strikes & literally force a coach out of job or change in management….& in few extreme cases, they’ve forced club owners to sell the clubs!

But tennis is quite different….I compare it to self employment where the player is his own manager….fans have no say whatsoever in what happens in ATP, ‘coz each person is on his own….& the ATP is the job provider. Like most sports, tennis is now commercial, & it is obvious that the ATP is expanding it to a large growing worldwide fan-base.

There’s no easy way out of this…otherwise, the ATP could have already done something about it…I believe that was part of the reason for adjustments to this year’s calender? So I can’t help but feel that the complaints/talks should be going on behind closed doors.


jane Says:

Blank, I thought someone mentioned that the WTA already has less mandatory events than the ATP does (10 vs. 13 comes to mind); also the women play best of 3 at the slams too, no 5 setters. So they’re already mandated to play less, hence, possibly, less complaints?


grendel Says:

Sensational Safin

I see you have left Wimbledon in place. Was that deliberate, or just how it panned out? Because one thing I can tell you for sure, the Wimbledon authorities would not agree to any move – largely because of the social nature of the sports going on in an English Summer. i.e. Wimbledon must not conflict with Ascot, Henley and so on – and under no circumstances will they agree to a move. You have moved all the other slams – but will the French etc agree?

A small query. You have 4 claycourts FOLLOWING the French. Was this because you could see no other way to have a decent gap between Wimbie and RG rather than because you wanted it that way? A compromise, i.e.?

n.b. Getting rid of the grass at Wimbledon would be to cast pennypinching into a new stratosphere of folly. There is a romance associated with the grass which is incalculable. Just as Wimbledon derives some of its unique authority just because it is NOT the British Open (the British Open – could anything sound more dreary?) Wimbledon is both English and somehow international. This is what gives it its unique charm, and the grass is a big part of that.

That’s leaving aside all the compelling TENNIS reasons to retain grass.


Blank Says:

Thanks Jane. I don’t really care much for women’s tennis these days. For me, the charm in it went away with the retirement of Steffi.

Here is a previously published article regarding appearance fees (apparently Nadal was offered $1M to just play in Dubai!)…I am pretty sure China would have offered him a very lucrative figure last week (so Sean’s 300K may be just the minimum)
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2009-02-19/872.php

Tennis will chase money…there is so much money out there in Asia. If the players chase money too…then their complaints should fall in deaf years. Federer has kinda stopped chasing it coz he has other priorities and money comes to him anyways (he earns close to $20 M in sponsorship deals alone each year!, compare that to the $4-5M that he would earn on a stellar year in prize money). We should not use Federer as an example in telling people how to smartly choose tournaments…maybe until 2 years ago…he’s been doing the same thing that Nadal and Murray do these days.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Vulcan,

Obviously, given nadal’s game and the state of his knees, abdomen etc – his schedule is too much for HIM. what he did from Jan-May in 2009 was crazy, playing something like 44 matches in about 4.5 months. A player like him cannot sustain that. Fed played 97 matches in 2006, but progressively started to cut it down ever since. And this is when his (Fed’s) game is so much more efficient and easier on the body than Nadal’s.

Nadal’s hey days are gone. Soon he will be 24, no longer a “young” guy and his recovery time will be even longer.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Nadal will never have the guts to do it – but he should just skip the whole australian and later hard court circuit. Start the year in April on his favorite surface, clay – then play hard till the US Open. Its only about 6 months then, and he will get 4 months clean to heal his body. I think he will last much longer and have a much better shot at winning the remaining 3 slams of the year.


grendel Says:

“Nadal will never have the guts to do it – but he should just skip the whole australian and later hard court circuit”.

That’s surely chucking out babies with bathwater. Nadal will always have a better shot at winning the AO than the US – so why abandon it? He will like to rack the numbers up just like anybody else.

Later on in his career, he might consider something like that – rather as Lendl skipped the French (for which he was a favourite) in his desperate attempt to win Wimbledon.

But in tennis terms, Lendl was then old, Nadal is still young.


sensationalsafin Says:

The Wimbledon thing just happened like that. And I forgot to mention that whatever 1000 is before Wimbledon (Monte Carlo or whatever else) would become a grass event. The way my schedule is set up, the 250s the week after the slams would be whatever surface but after that all the events are the same surface as the upcoming slam.

In that sense, I also think DC should adjust its surfaces to suit the season.


jimbojones Says:

The schedule is what it has been as Sean R. pointed out. Some players take time off and break it up into a couple of seasons in the year and other players play too many events. Lower ranked guys play singles and doubles to make money and get points, but a guy gets to the top 20 will normally scale back. Federer won 11 events 04, 05 and 12 events 06. He has scaled way back and he is smart to do so. Rafa does not skip Rotterdam, Beijing, Qatar … but had to skip Queens Club and Wimbledon due to bad knees????? He should be smart enough to know he has to skip events and pick lesser events to skip rather than missing the biggest event on the planet due to overuse injuries that can’t be aided by playing Rotterdam or Qatar. I can see him playing Barcellona and Madrid as a Spaniard so I won’t ding him there, but why Beijing last week?


i am it Says:

grendel says, “Getting rid of the grass at Wimbledon would be to cast pennypinching into a new stratosphere of folly. There is a romance associated with the grass which is incalculable. Just as Wimbledon derives some of its unique authority just because it is NOT the British Open (the British Open – could anything sound more dreary?) Wimbledon is both English and somehow international. This is what gives it its unique charm, and the grass is a big part of that.”

this pertains to my post. let me put it this way, if i had all the wealth at my disposal and all the authority to decide, i’d turn all the tennis courts into grass. no doubt grass is the smoothest, least taxing, and most beautiful surface to play. i love to hit on manicured rye on any day, more than on any other surface.

but as a CEO of sports business entity, i’d have to safeguard my investments and corporate interests, value my profits, and in the global context, would have to align with democratic principles. that was the reason we moved out of Westside Club, Forest Hills, a country club enclosure to then openness of Flushing Meadows, from grass to hard, from select few to mass. for the same reason, AO moved from grass to hard in ’88. as we went on cutting the price, meeting the demand, and increasing global participation, we have arrived at this: twenty out of forty-one 250-level, eight of the eleven 500-level, 6 of the 9 Masters Series, one World Tour Finals, and 2 of the 4 Grand Slams are played on hard court. Numerically, hard court makes the largest share, 57% of the total tournaments. Value wise, it is much larger.

so as a CEO, figuratively speaking, i’d not be toying with the Toryist romance with the Jeu de paume, the royal court and oppose Exclusion Bill of grass. Another analogy could be moving out of Hampton Court Palace to the lawn was not moving out at all; it was moving into The All England Croquet Club. real moving out in the open would require that Exclusion Bill.

if i had nothing to consider, i’d share your sentiments and cherish sentimental value of grass. but natural selection takes its own course, alas, no matter what we want!


Hypnos Says:

Mr. Randall,

My point is that Nadal and Roddick may be selfish, greedy bastards, but they are self, greedy bastards that people want to see — not Peter Luczak.

If they have a legitimate reason to chase points and win titles (which fans also want to see), then they are setting themselves up for injury and hurting the long-term health of the Tour.

Yes, Federer deserves credit for managing his schedule, but he’s also way ahead in points — he can afford to.


sensationalsafin Says:

Am I the only one who’s noticed Fed’s simply taken matters into his own hands and ended his season short. Sure there’s Basel and WTF and probably Paris, but that’s practically exhibition for Federer now. Although he might need to do well in order to maintain his ranking. Roddick at least showed up in Shanghai.


grendel Says:

One of the interesting and curious things about Darwinian “natural selection” – to which i am it alludes – is that its operation entails “irrelevant” side effects, which are often extremely fruitful. Because, for instance, the human brain has evolved its massive complexity simply to cope with the business of survival – all sorts of extras, including most art, which are not requisite for strict survival, have had a free ride.

In the same way, a humane capitalist can give huge sums to charity without necessarily having commercial, or even egotistic, interests at heart.

Likewise, whilst professional tennis, to survive, must take account of commercial reality, it is not obliged to wed itself body and soul to this reality. Indeed, the strange thing is, this might well be counter-productive. Sometimes, for business to work successfully, it must consider criteria other than business. A business whose only values are commercial will eventually fall under its own knives.

The cases of the US Open and the AO switching from grass are one thing. The US Open, of course, has been played on all three surfaces. Grass is hardly sacrosanct there, and nor, somehow, did one associate grass as indissolubly bound to the AO. It was not part of the mystique, more a question of the historical period.

But eliminate grass at Wimbledon, and you interfere, fatally, with the very soul of the place. There are millions of people who are not particularly interested in tennis, and yet who have a fondness for Wimbledon, a great deal of which rests upon this strange business of the grass. Tennis needs these people, they add the prospect of glamour and sparkle to the sport, and ensure that it does not subside in some small ghetto – like handball or something.

In the end, I suspect strongly that the very uncommercial nature of grass, at least so far as Wimbledon is concerned, paradoxically render the game commercial and viable.


i am it Says:

SS,
(i)
fed has 1,400 to defend, so if he goes out in 1st rd. in each (Basel, Paris, and London), he will have left 11255-1400+0= 9855

rafa has 700 to defend, so if he wins Shanghai and Paris, he will have 8945-700+2000= 10,245

(ii) if fed defends Basel, (or if gets 500 points in total out of Basel and Paris), he will have 9855+500= 10,355

if rafa reaches the Shanghai and Paris finals, he’ll have 8945-700+1200= 9445

(iii) if rafa wins Shanghai and reaches Paris final, he”l have 9845.
fed’s no. 1 is still safe even if he exits in 1st rd. at Basel and Paris (9855).

if the third scenario were to occur, which is very unlikely, if not impossible, the battle for year-end no. 1 would be fought at London.

so, fed will earn year-end no. 1 without much sweating, though, as i understand, he wants to win the YEC for historical significance as well as to distance the gap for 2010.


jane Says:

” but he’s also way ahead in points — he can afford to.” Great point by Hypnos. Maybe, if Fed had not won two of the four slams, and reached the finals of the other two, he would be playing right now. It’s certainly possible he’d be doing so not only for the ranking points but because he’d be less tired. But as Hypnos correctly notes, Fed can afford to miss these events and probably still be sure of a year end number 1 spot. So … it’s all kind of relative and case by case; as someone pointed out above, it’s hard to rally the troops when the cause is not a unified one, i.e., they’re not all fighting the same battle.

—————————-

grendal @ 9:31 – great post. It’s also supply and demand. When supply is scarce, sometimes that creates more demand. I know that I LOVE to watch tennis on the lawns, and my eyes, somehow, rest in all that green. It must not go the way of the extinct. It must be preserved. Some traditions of worthy of that, and certainly tennis on grass at Wimbledon is one of them.

But sheesh – they could play on the middle Sunday. lol.


jane Says:

grendel – sorry for the typo in your name. Long day. b.t.w, I love the revisionist novel “grendel,” but not as much as the original monster from the old english epic.


i am it Says:

that’s an interesting point, grendel. if indeed Wimbledon will lose business, then it will continue to keep its grass, but if it conflicts with the global market of Tennis, it may have to give in, unwillingly and after every possible resistance (maybe in 50 years or before/ after?).
b.t.w. i was not using the term “natural selection” in strict biological or “survival of the fittest” sense. i was using more playfully, giving it a figurative twist.

FYI, USO had clay only for 3 years (1975-77). It was grass from 1881 through 1974.


Twocents Says:

sensationalsafin,

No. You’re not the only one. Fed took almost all matters at his own hand when he fired Peter Lungren (sp?) back in 2004: he played less MM tourneys to focus on slams and money, and shrank his DC appearances to focus on no.1. Things all clicked until 2008, when he should have called it a year after USO but played thru injury till mid-November. Even then, he did not complain about ATP schedule, did he. He was defending his no.2 and shooting for the 5th YEC, in vain.

And looks like he readily realized that mistake, cuz he said last February that he’d never play thru injuries again, backed out DC, and put in six weeks of hideaway. And the rest is history.


Sean Randall Says:

Getting rid of the grass at Wimbledon?? Not happening anytime soon.


Twocents Says:

I always debate with experts on which is more environmental-friendlier:

A. Maintain my natural lawn using fuel-burning mower and chemicals; or

B. Get rid of the lawn and just paint it green.

May we see a fake-lawn Wimbledon in our life time? Better not. LOL.


Hypnos Says:

While I think it is unlikely that Wimbledon will ever move away from grass, I wonder if it’s only tennis geeks like me who want *more* tourneys played on grass besides Wimbledon and its tune-ups.

Do casual fans prefer hard and clay courts?


margot Says:

i am it: what a suggestion! Off to the Tower of London with you at once! Where are the Beefeaters? Apprehend this traitor.


Hypnos Says:

FYI, I would be fine with artificial grass — it’s the style of play that I think is interesting (and what I miss from 1990′s wimbledon).


grendel Says:

“my eyes, somehow, rest in all that green.” (jane).

Yes, after weeks of dusty clay (which has its own attractions), there is something very soothing in the view at Queens. For me, there is something quintessentially English about it all – so Halle does not carry the same resonance as Queens, but this is just personal.

It’s a bit like this. Someone once said that when he was deep in some desert, or something like that, the image of England which came to him was: it is eternally half-past three on a mild summer afternoon, with the faint phut of ball on bat and the prospect of tea.

Quite how grass tennis gets mixed up in all this, I don’t know – but it does….


Fed is GOAT Says:

For all these “environment” talks – its all hypocritical. Unless you are a poor person living in a poor country, you are destroying the environment hook, line and sinker, as we speak. So this is all hypocritical political correctness, on the part of ALL of us. None of us is really willing to make the scarifices needed. Buying a hybrid or CFLs is not even peanuts in the larger picture.

As for Nadal, he seems to be struggling. So many sets lost in his 5 matches so far in the last 8 days. But he must be making good money!

Now that Delpo and verdasco are gone, Nadal’s draw has suddenly opened up. Robredo is not going to beat him. Lets see if Monfils steps up. Would love to see Tsonga beat him to pulp in the semi, if they both reach there.

Djoker looks good – but he is going to be a tired man at the end of the year! When was the last time someone played 100 matches in a year? To my memory, Federer’s 97 (92-5) in 2006 is the max in the last 20 years or so, I think. Matches were less physical before that.


margot Says:

grendel: that’s Rupert Brooke, I think, and of course there is “some corner of a foreign field that if forever England.”


margot Says:

…or was it Betjemin? same sentiment anyway!


Hypnos Says:

Fed is GOAT,

It’s not that hard — you just have to cut out flying and driving to drop from the US average carbon footprint (20 tonnes/year) to the average carbon footprint for industrialized nations (11 tonnes/year), then cut out entertainment and eating meat to get to the climate stabilization target (2 tonnes/year).

I bet if you share a grass court at your club — to which you would bicycle, of course — it can’t be more than a tonne/year!

More here –

http://www.carbonfootprint.com/


JMT Says:

(Speaking of NON-ATP events…) Funny how Rafa & Roger complain about the ATP season length YET they have already said they’re going to play @ a NON-ATP event (Abu Dhabi) that is during the ATP off-season (12-31-09)…well I say if they think there isn’t enough time off btwn the end of the ’09 season & the start of the ’10 season maybe they should NOT play @ an event during the “little” off-season they have. (BTW, Murray [another complainer about season length) played at the one this past Jan.)

{Link for the Dec event: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jOlDqWMI44mZKr-rDW0cwSvjwv_AD9BA7R6G3 }

Also, I’ve been having a problem w/ singles players playing in dbls whenever they JUST FEEL LIKE IT…it’s unfair to REAL dbls teams who take dbls SERIOUSLY…if those players (incl Rafa) are so tired then IMO they should give up the dbls matches since IMO they only play those for $ & NOT b/c they take it seriously.

Then there are those that play in the NON-MANDATORY Davis cup (Roddick for examp).

I DO agree w/ the idea of making fewer event ‘madatory’…I’d go w/ making only the 1st & last events & the Opens mandatory.

Also, I DO think @ least another wk should be added btwn Wimby & the French (then the players would have to decide which smaller events to skip w/o ATP penalty).

BTW, STAY ON THE GRASS @ Wimby!


grendel Says:

“if those players (incl Rafa) are so tired then IMO they should give up the dbls matches since IMO they only play those for $ & NOT b/c they take it seriously.”

I’d agree they don’t, on the whole, take it very seriously. Surely it’s not for money, though – can’t be much for the very rich top players.

I’ve always assumed they do it because they are in need of practice. McEnroe, indeed (and he did take doubles seriously) used to play doubles as his FORM of practice – on the grounds that normal practice was intolerably tedious.


Jonny Says:

May not be too relevant to this topic, but lol @ people thinking players “sacrifice” to play Davis Cup or Olympics. They play because they want the glory. They aren’t soldiers fighting for the cause, but rather they want their name on the silverware, getting pay or not. That’s why some countries with players dying to be in the DC team because their country has a chance to win (Spain & US). And some other countries that top player refused to play because they know they can’t win it singlehandedly. So I’ll say Andy Murray playing DC is indeed a sacrifice, there’s no way in hell the UK is going to win DC any time in the foreseeable future.


jane Says:

And a specific type of practice too perhaps? Surely doubles must hone certain skills especially – for e.g., net play, quickness in movement/reaction/anticipation.


jane Says:

Djoko has spoken out on the calendar, but he is taking a less drastic stance; in his view shortening the calendar by one or two months is not the answer, and that players have to work with tournament organizers to reach a compromise. Here’s an article for anyone interested:

http://www.ananova.com/sport/story/sm_3522638.html?menu=


FloridaTao Says:

There’s no fair way to eliminate tournaments – but it’s not fair that there are so many in a year!

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