Australian Open Moving? More Grand Slams? Oh No!
by Sean Randall | December 14th, 2007, 8:52 am

Here’s a story from “out of left field” as some here the U.S. say. A few top tennis officials are looking into making some significant tournament changes at the Grand Slam level. ADHEREL

According to the article, the idea of moving the Australian Open is being discussed along with the thought of adding additional Slam events in Europe and/or Asia, upping the number of Majors to five or six. That’s pretty serious talk.

Tennis Australia is worried that if they don’t improve their event soon it might be lost to deeper pockets. And changes could come in Europe.

“Roland Garros will not lose its grand slam status, but I’m convinced that if we don’t make progress, there will one day be a fifth grand slam event in Asia and possibly a sixth in Europe,” French Open head Christian Bimes said to the Melbourne Age. “The losers would be the French Open and Wimbledon. We want to avoid that at any cost.”

The nutty Ion Tiriac is also backs the idea of more Slams.

But having anything other than four core Majors would impact the record books like nothing else. Of course it would be a big money grab for the ITF and those involved, but the history and tradition of the sport would take a hit at the hands of financial interests (because that’s never happened before – haha).

Personally, I’m not worried about such a change happening anytime soon, if at all. This story, however, may light a fire under Tennis Australia to get their event close to or on par with the other three. Moving the Australian Open to anywhere outside of Australia doesn’t make much “tennis” sense. Australia’s long been a great tennis country producing many of the greats in our game, and I think moving it to Asia or to Dubai for economic reasons (spare me the “growing the game” B.S.) is a wrong move.

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10 Comments for Australian Open Moving? More Grand Slams? Oh No!

Naydal Says:

This is the single stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. At the same time, it does not surprise me at all based on other things the “leading officials” in tennis have said recently. This even surpasses the stupidity of raising the points offered at the Masters Events so that it would equal those offered at the Grand Slams. Then again, I even think the notion of dropping Monte Carlo from the Masters Schedule right up there in terms of idiocy. Tiriac is a business person that only cares about the bottom line. The history of tennis means nothing to him. Just look carefully into how the guy made his money. Actually, just look at the Madrid Masters he’s put together. The venue is one of the worst I’ve ever seen for a Masters level tournament (maybe only surpassed by the Houston facility the Masters tournament was set in a few years ago).

Due to the steroid problem in baseball the history books on the sport have become virtually meaningless for the modern players. The same thing will happen with tennis the more the leaders of the sport keep making stupid decisions. People just need to accept that tennis is what it is – it will never be football or soccer in terms of fanatical popularity. All of these idiots running the ATP and WTA should be fired and former tour level players should be put in their places. Business expertise is meaningless – lets be honest. Look at what multi million-dollar business expertise has done for the world’s big banks…

SG Says:

I’m not really all that cynical about this idea. And as for it changing the record books, that’s not true. If you win Wimby, the FO, the AO and the USO, in the same year, it will still be considered a true slam by any tennis pundit.

Adding extra slams doesn’t change that because these “new” slams won’t have the history of the other majors. Just calling some tournament a major doesn’t give it any kind of historical significance to the players. Look at the The Player’s Championship in golf. NBC tries to hype it up as the 5th major, but no one really buys it. Not even the players.

Now, will rewarding points at an equal level for the “new” slams as the classic slams change the rankings a bit. Perhaps. But, the cream usually rises to the top so one or two additional majors shouldn’t change things too much. If it drums up more interest in tennis, isn’t that a good thing? And what a about a slam on carpet or hartru? These surfaces have been left majorless. There are a lot of tournaments on carpet.

And if a player wins majors at a faster rate because he has more opportunities a yeat to do so, than so be it. Records are meant to be broken. Even today, when we talk about Ruth hitting home runs, it’s always mentioned that he did it in less games than his contemporaries.

sensationalsafin Says:

That is the worst idea ever! Make more Masters Series or something, don’t change something as prestigious as the majors. Moving the AO is not that big of a deal though, it’s been moved plenty of times before. I actually think they should try to evenly distribute the slams throughout the year so that you don’t have a giant gap between the AO and FO and the lack of a gap between the FO and Wimbledon.

Bob Godrich Says:

I love the Opens because they exist in the country they are headlined in. I love seeing the peope who surround the tournaments . Thay all have thier own very special and charming ways of presenting the tournament. If this special charm is taken away it will sink to the level of Pro Football ,etc. I don’t watch pro ball anymore becuse they have NO identity. Tennis is better than that. Thank you, Bob Goodrich

Dr. Death Says:

I suppose the next big question is who would play in what tournaments? If there are still only 52 weeks in the year, the Masters series would have to be radically re-worked and cut back, I suspect. The star players cannot risk their bodies with extra grand slams in the schedule. Wait – what’s the prize money? Every other tournament becomes a satellite event.

So why not make betting legal in tennis with these “tennis officials” running the book and using the profits to do…. whatever.

zola Says:

why 5 or 6? let’s have 10 slams and 20 ATP master series. surface doesn’t matter. all mandatory. let’s kill the players….kill’em all…

stupidity contest relessness contest or moneychasing contest…whatever it is, it just makes me wish I was not a tennis fan.

JCF Says:

Players complain about injuries enough as it is with the long season. More slams will not help. If they did it, they would need to remove a lot of T1/AMS events, and those guys are not going to be pleased.

I’m not a traditionist, but 4 is enough. It makes each one worth more. Wimbledon will lose value if it’s only one of 6 slams.

Sean Randall Says:

Nice post, Naydal.

I will say again I don;t think that a fifth or even sixth Slam in happening anytime in the near future, which in say is the next 15 years. Then again, tennis is known for it’s stupidity so I wouldn’t put it passed it passed them…

Nom DeGuerre Says:

Here is the deal..the Aussie Open is self-advertised as the Grand Slam of the Asia/Pacific – however, almost all the wild-cards go to Aussie or Euro/American players. It is essentially a European tournament transplanted to Australia. There are a huge bunch of talented Asian and African players who don’t get into the top 100 because they do not have enough opportunities, either in a Grand Slam or a locally held Tier 2/ Tier 3 events. Since the calender is finite, Asia is trying to organize Asian-only Tier 1/Tier 2 tournaments, but they were not supported by the ATP.

So, in the next 10 years, either one of two things will happen:
1) Asia, the biggest market in the world, will have their own professional tour with similar prize money structure as the ATP… OR
2) A Grand Slam and a 35% of the ATP Tier 1/2 tournaments will move to Asia.

To the ‘traditionialists’… I see here a smack of old-style snobbery. 40 years ago, tradition allowed only blanche complexioned people play in tennis tournaments. 40 years hence, 70% of the world economy will be in Asia. I rest my case.

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