ATP Says Tennis Masters Series Will Be Same As Slams
by Richard Vach | April 10th, 2007, 11:32 am

If the ATP, which governs the men’s tour, and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which governs the four Grand Slam events, had become buddy-buddy over the last few years — even joint-sponsoring the year-ending Masters Cup — that love was lost this week when the ATP announced it would elevate its Masters Series events on its new 2009 calendar to the same ranking-points status as the Australian Open, Roland Garros, the French Open and the US Open.

Currently the Slam events receive double the points on the ATP-run rankings as the ATP’s Masters Series events. In March the ATP announced it was working with the ITF to elevate the ITF-run Davis Cup competition by offering ranking points for Davis Cup play. Now it appears ATP President Etienne de Villiers was merely throwing the ITF a bone ahead of what will be devastating news for the ITF, which holds the Grand Slam events far and above any “regular tour” events.

“The Masters 1000 events will be worth the same amount of points as the grand slams,” ATP spokesman Stephen Duckitt told The Age on Monday. “I haven’t heard anything as to what the reaction from the slams has been.”

You didn’t hear the sound of ITF honchos wetting themselves? Look for a major media reaction, and soon.

The ITF lost control of the tour in the late 1980s when players revolted against the lax running of professional tennis, and the ATP Tour was born in 1990 (a title since shortened to ATP, and reportedly changing to “ATP Worldwide Tour” in 2007. Just in case you might mistake it for a regional or local tennis tournament). Since then the ATP and ITF have been at loggerheads in a push and pull battle for control of professional tennis, at times making nice, at more often times taking shots at each other in the media and refusing to back down from even minor power positions. The ATP has had difficulties with the 2009 calendar, especially in regard to the ITF’s stiff positioning of the Slams and Davis Cup weekends.

The next ATP board meeting will reportedly take place at the French Open, with more ranking and calendar news to come. In the meantime, the Masters Series Hamburg and Monte Carlo events are suing the ATP over being pushed out of the Masters 1000 picture on the new 2009 ATP calendar.

The ATP is truly going for the gold in their restructure of men’s tennis in regard to leveling their top events (including a just-announced Masters Series event in China) with the Australian, French, Wimbledon and US Open. The great locations of tennis — Melbourne, Paris, Wimbledon, Flushing Meadows…Shanghai?

Now faced with the Slams getting lost amidst the ATP’s Masters events in terms of prestige, get ready for some ITF fireworks as tennis’ powers-that-be return to slugging it out ’80s-style.

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15 Comments for ATP Says Tennis Masters Series Will Be Same As Slams

Lynn Berenbaum Says:

Oh, my stomach! The laughter! It’s too much!

Btw, here’s a link to the article. ;^)

Joseph O'Brien Says:

What a load of rubbish. There should be a proper method to decide on how the calendar should be rearranged. Giving several tournaments the same ranking points as a Grand Slam is rediculous. The “thrill” of Grand Slam tournaments are depleted and it allows for “deservidly lower ranked players” to gain easy ranking points by winning a few rounds. After all we cant expect the top players to fully populate all of these events to win them. I think that the privileges of Etienne de Villiers should be changed or there should be some sort of democracy between the players on how the tour should be changed. It is the players that have to adjust to the new calendar, after all. Surely this is going to just cause even more tournament drop outs and stress for all involved ( Round robin comes to mind) Perhaps the ATP should get the views of Roger Federer (whom was also correct about the round robin methods and even refused to play tournaments involving them) and other players on the tour.

Nadal Says:

De Villiers is a retard….this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. It actually makes the round robin idea seem genius. Leave tennis be. The only people that benefit from its growth are the organizers, businesses, and investors. How about more concern for increasing the pay of players outside the top 100? In the end, even as we see tennis grow and revenues increase, the players outside the top 50, let alone the top 100, see very little benefit. Tennis was and still is great in large part because it is not as commercial as U.S. football or UEFA. We should be proud of that…not ashamed. Put in someone whose interests reside with tennis rather than business.

-cj- Says:

is this a late April Fool’s Day joke? this makes no sense on any level. can we get some video clips of the ITF heads spinning over this?

beerme Says:

atp wants a piece of that pie. why should they revere these 4 events that they dont event own, only have tennis popular 4 times a year? change tennis for the better, at least try. let the battle begin!

Pete Sampras Says:

Absolutely ridiculous…i cannot believe how stupid De Villiers is…honestly why are thy bothering to change the game of tennis so drastically…it started with the “doubles revolution” crap…then it went to the round robin which no person even knew the rules of…and now this? you got to be kidding me ATP?!?…oh excuse me…ATP Worldwide Tour…suck on this 8==>

JCF Says:

Master Series titles are no where near as prestigious as a GS, and therefore should not hold as much point value. You can’t say winning Rome is as big as winning Roland Garros.

Will the MS titles be seven-best-of-five-set matches?

Giner Says:

Lol, imagine Roger Federer’s rankings lead over the rest of the top 5. If the gulf wasn’t already big enough, it’s going to get wider.

3 GS + 4 MS = 7 GS titles?

How much will the Masters Cup be worth? Even more than a GS?

Yankale Says:

It’s a crazy idea, that will not get support from players or fans. De Villiers seems to lose self control. Slams are here for ever. De Villiers’ time is about to end.

zola Says:

There is nothing “right” about ATP, but the worst is that they bring all these ideas all at once. The “round robin” corpse still lays there with the Monte Carloand Hamburg downgrade fiasco, changes in ATP tour and now this. Maybe ET has too much caffeine, but has everyone else in ATP gone insane?

If the players could revoult against ITF, they should be able to revolt against this ATP too. I think there should be other tennis organizations so that players and fans can choose the one that serves”them” better.

HJL Says:

Are you sure about this story, mister Vach?

I thought that the idea was to give the winner of the 8 TMS events (from 2009 on) 1000 points (currently 500 points) and the winner of a GS event will get 2000 points (currently 1000 points).

Tibor Says:

This is pretty much of a wild idea! It the MS worths as much as a Slam, how long to they play it? 2 weeks, or just one. Or do they play it like the Miamii and IW, when they play it a week and a half? So if a MS is turned to a slam, is it going to be played as a slam, or do they think about downgrading the real slams, and making them just a one week thing, no more best of 5 setters? Or if everything sayes the same, the slams stay 2 weeks event, the MS one week event, how do you make a distinction between the two…the prize money? And the ranking points determine the world rankings, that doesn’t really count anymore, or what’s wrong there, do they think Fed’s going to be no one for ever? They are going to mix up the game so much, that we woun’t be any more able to compare it even a bit to the old days, if this change comes through…I hope it’s just rubbish.

A.P.Joshi Says:

It’s very stupid thing to suggest .The importance
of much more than the other tournaments and has its own prestige and charm .The suggestion must be rejected totally.

JDC Says:

I can understand the ATP’s decision to do this. As BeerMe said, they want their own tournaments to be revered in the highest regard. Plus, it may prevent the top players from skipping the Masters Series events.

However, this is a bad idea. Too many “special” tournaments diminishes the “special” nature of each. (Of course, I’m sure the players will still hold the Slams in higher regard.) If this MS elevation actually occurs, the schedule better insert weeks inbetween each consecutive tourneys … because back-to-back “special” tournaments is ridiculous.

While they’re changing the schedule and tournament weights, how about lengthening the grass-court season and including a grass-court MS tournament? In my opinion, the calendar should place equal weight on all surfaces.

Clayward Bound | Off the Baseline Says:

[…] The ATP reaches new height of stupidity with plan to give same points for Masters Series as for Grand Slams. Makes round robin seem genius, doesn’t it? [XBlog] […]

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