ATP d Hamburg in Landmark Jury Trial

by Staff | August 5th, 2008, 7:32 pm

On Tuesday a jury in Delaware cleared the ATP and rejected antitrust claims by the Masters Series-Hamburg event, which was attempting to avoid being demoted from Masters Series status.
Jurors deliberated about nine hours before upholding the ATP’s right to change its own calendar, moving the Hamburg event from its French Open run-up position in May until after the French in July.

Jurors ruled unanimously in favor of the ATP.

“The ATP is terrifically gratified with the decision,” said ATP attorney Bradley Ruskin, speaking to the AP. “ATP took the steps that it believed is right and is going to help improve the game of tennis.”

Robert MacGill, an attorney for the German federation, declined to comment.

The ATP plans to rename the Masters Series events either “1000” or “Masters Series 1000,” and “500” or “Masters Series 500” for the second-tier events. The ATP was planning on using only numbers for the levels of events, which came under much ridicule.

Under the new calendar, Madrid and Rome will be the only claycourt Masters tournaments leading up to the French Open.

“This move to this time ruins us,” MacGill told jurors in closing arguments.

It is uncertain whether Hamburg will stay as a lower-tier event or take its tennis ball and go home. Hamburg has been a top-level event since its beginning in 1974, boasting former champions Guillermo Vilas, Yannick Noah, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Michael Stich, Marcelo Rios, Gustavo Kuerten, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Both Federer and Nadal were proponents of keeping Hamburg as a top-level Masters Series event.

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49 Comments for ATP d Hamburg in Landmark Jury Trial

tennisontherocks Says:

This saves ATP from any financial mess and ET can breathe easy for a while (I think the players still want him out). I think the Monte Carlo still has same ranking points as others, its just not mandatory anymore.

Rafa now gets a masters series event on clay on his home soil. Madrid’s high altitude favors big servers/hitters. So may not be the best conditions for him. But these days he can win on ice too :)

zola Says:

Yes, they kept the status of MC as a master series with the 1000 points, but it is not mandatory. Last yar bioth RAfa and Roger had a press conference about it and RAfa asked ATP to keep HAmbrg and MC in his acceptance speech.

I guess Madrid replaces HAmburg as a clay tournament. I don’t knoe if it stays at its time ( October) or will ir replace Hamburg. in both cases it will be a mess.

JCF Says:

Gosh darn it. All that hype and it was a unanymous vote to acquit the ATP. Poor Hamburg. Now not even Federer will bother playing it anymore. Oh well, scheduling was always tough during the clay season.

I’m not sure if anyone’s ever won the 3 MS and RG in the same year (though Rafa was one match away from it).

JCF Says:

Zola, if Madrid is moved to Hamburg’s time slot and played on clay, it will have been a pointless exercise.

MC was never mandatory in practice. Watch how many americans go there each year.

JCF Says:

This news is on the ATP website already. Funny how they never mentioned the suit at all on their site, until they won.

If one AMS has to give way to China, I’d say get rid of Indian Wells or Cincy (have the clay season begin early and spread out Rome and Hamburg). Having four more or less the same HC masters in north america is a bit much, especially when they’re back to back.

jane Says:

Add another grass MS too, while we’re rearranging things…

zola Says:

yes to more grass MS!
maybe Hamburg should be grass and before Wimbledon.

yes, it is pointless to have MAdrid in place of Hamburg. I don’t know when it is going to be. but of it is after FO, it will be pretty pointless.

zola Says:


*** it again will be pretty pointless***

I have no idea about the schedule for 2009. I ‘ll talk about this when I find out when the ms will be.

Shital Green Says:

Ref.:”It is uncertain whether Hamburg will stay as a lower-tier event or take its tennis ball and go home.”

Hamburg has been relegated to second-tier status, i.e. 500 Series. But it is up to Hamburg to take it or leave it. If Hamburg accepts it, it will be in week 30 of the ATP calendar, beginning on 20 July 2009.

Von Says:

“Under the new calendar, Madrid and Rome will be the only claycourt Masters tournaments leading up to the French Open.”

According to the above quoted sentence from the article by Staff, Madrid will be played before the FO. In essence, there will only be two (2) MS tournaments leading up to the FO.

There have been many complaints that the clay tournaments were scheduled too close together. I suppose ATP listened and spread out the tournaments by taking one away. Those players who like to play on clay can always add in MC to their schedule, except the amount of points gained by playing at MC will be less, and it would also make all of their complaints look silly, because they will be back to the same compact schedule.

Can’t say I’m sorry Hamburg lost. This lawsuit could have placed the ATP in a bad position money-wise, possibly becoming bankrupt, and then the men’s tennis would suffer from all of the turmoil that would ensue. So for the sake of the players, I’d say, it was the best decision.

Shital Green Says:

[A]mount of points gained by playing at MC will be less” ?
Where did you get this info. from?
So far as I know, it will be the same. Enlighten me if I am the last primate of the human civilization.

Von Says:


Maybe you’re right; it will be the same. I read a while back that MC would be downgraded, with less points, and will not be mandatory. Maybe, it was just speculation at that time, and the points will remain the same.

Von Says:


You’re right. I just checked on the ATP calendar for 2009. MC will remain status quo.

LordMcGregor Says:

To Von

Where do you get the atp calendar for 2009 ?
Is it official ?

Von Says:


I don’t have an official calendar but came across the following information from © 2008 Sporting Life UK Ltd, You can look it up for more in-depth information.

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Shanghai will replace Hamburg in the top-tier of tournaments on the ATP Tour in 2009.

On Friday, the ATP announced the venues which have been awarded ‘1000’ status for their new-look calendar which will be launched in 2009.

The ‘1000’ tournaments – so named because the winner will receive 1,000 ranking points – will replace the existing Masters Series events, although the host cities have largely remained the same.

Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Madrid, Cincinnati, Canada (alternating between Montreal and Toronto), Shanghai and Paris were unveiled as top-tier hosts on Friday, joining Monte Carlo which had already won a battle to keep its top-level status having initially been dropped by the ATP.

Hamburg is axed in favour of Shanghai, currently the venue for the season-ending Masters Cup. That event, which is being renamed as the ATP Tour Finals, will be held at the O2 Arena in London in 2009.

New arenas in Madrid and Paris will stage events in those cities.

This is where I had originally read that Monte Carlo would have been downgraded or dropped from MS status.

Andrew Miller Says:

Hamburg should get on the phone with the Gerry Weber and figure out a grass masters strategy.

It’s its only chance, and given the popularity of this year’s Wimbledon, grass is getting popular – especially for players who want to reduce injuries.

So, like others commented previously above, this is the kind of risk Hamburg needs to take if it wants to be relevant. Post-French status is equivalent to “dead in the water” – no one will take it as seriously as it once was taken (as basically the German Open). Hamburg has to do this.

I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

Hamburg should get on the phone with the Gerry Weber and figure out a grass masters strategy.

I agree wid this.

“Masters Series 1000,”

still a dumb name

tennisontherocks Says:

masters series on grass will be great and Hamburg will be good spot. I am sure the players will like it, too. I mean, they are all playing that week. Would rather get more money and ranking points.

The 1000/500/250 names are dumb. Can they just make it Tier 1/2/3? That way, if they are free to change the ranking points later w/o worrying about the brand name.

Andrew Miller Says:

Hamburg and Halle/Gerry Weber could do what they do now at the Rogers tournaments in Canada: hold the Masters tournament one year in Hamburg and the next in Halle, and switch on and off (odd and even years).

That way all tournament directors are less upset and still profitable.

JCF Says:

Rafa’s going to have the same problems he’s always had. He will play and win Monte Carlo then Rome. And now that Madrid is played in place of Hamburg, he won’t be skipping it, since it’s in his home country. He’ll probably need to tank Rome.

I really don’t see what was wrong with Madrid on indoor hard. Why swap it with the Shanghai place when they have to go back there a month later for the Masters anyway (if they make it). Do we need an AMS in China when we have TMC (don’t know how long it will stay there I guess). One way to placate Hamburg would be to move the TMC to Hamburg in exchange for Shanghai when its contract expires.

If Monte Carlo is optional, does that mean there are only 8 mandatory AMS now? But Monte Carlo will always give full points and won’t count as a “Best 5 Other” tournament?

Either way, the changes in 2009 look like a mess.

Von: If the ATP sunk, someone else would sponsor the tour and tennis will go on. I feel bad for Hamburg. If the ATP can just take away a tournament’s AMS status, who knows what else they might pull. There is already talk of Australian Open being moved to Asia or the Middle East. This is even bigger. Tennis Australia is in a furore right now. Lawsuit anyone?

As much as I hate the fact that TA replaced the rebound ace courts with plexicushion, having a slam in the middle east is a stupid idea. They’re just not a very tennis reputable zone. North America has the most tournaments to spare if ATP/ITF want to develop tennis in new places. There’s no real need for a US hard court swing early into the season when players will have to return there leading into the US Open anyway.

Fedex Says:

“Why swap it with the Shanghai place when they have to go back there a month later for the Masters anyway (if they make it).”

TMC will be in london starting next year (dont know how long that will be though, but next year, that is where it is!)

Asia is a great market to tap with a lot of economies on the rise. If the ATP has a smart enterpreneur, ATP could gain immensely. US economy has more or less saturated. Countries like China and India are where the big bucks are!

jane Says:

It also makes sense for Madrid to keep the indoor carpet because it’s a lot closer to Paris than Shanghai. The players have to travel enough already, and now they have to go back and forth to the orient twice at the end of the season?

Unless, that is, the Masters Cup is moved to to London indefinitely. Then it makes more sense.

Shital Green Says:

Looking at the last two venues, my guess is ATP will keep TMC in London for 2 years.

2002 ….Shanghai
2001 ….Sydney
2000 ….Lisbon, Portugal

Shital Green Says:

Correction: “ATP” should be read “ATP & ITF (since it’s been a joint event since 2000)”; “for 2 years” should be “for three years (decided)”

Von Says:


“Rafa’s going to have the same problems he’s always had. He will play and win Monte Carlo then Rome. And now that Madrid is played in place of Hamburg, he won’t be skipping it, since it’s in his home country. He’ll probably need to tank Rome.”

He’ll always have that problem if he continues to play all of the clay tournaments. He’ll have to become more selective and choose those tournamnets that are more beneficial to maintain his ranking. Monte Carlo is now a non-mandatory tournament which will enable him to concentrate on the mandatory tournaments. Next year he could skip Rome (due to his early exit this year) and play in Monte Carlo and Madrid. That should give him some breathing room and maintain his points.
If he wants additional points, then I suppose he’ll play all three and then we’re back to ground zero.

“Von: If the ATP sunk, someone else would sponsor the tour and tennis will go on. I feel bad for Hamburg. If the ATP can just take away a tournament’s AMS status, who knows what else they might pull.”

Yes, there will always be some association/organization that will be interested in managing men’s tennis, but the changeover would place unnecessary stress on the players. Albeit, some changes might be for the better, it’s the implementation of the changes that can wreak havoc. At the inception, there will be a trial and error period for the new association and the players which will have to be endured for at least one year — the calendar is set up one year in advance. After that, then the changes or improvements could be very insignificant, and then the question would be asked, was it worth it? As the saying goes: “The devil you know is better than the one you don’t know”. Sometimes it’s best to stick with what you have, even thoough the pasture looks greener on the other side.

On the topic of swapping Hamburg for Madrid. It’s all about money. Hamburg did not produce much in terms of revenue thus, changing to Madrid, which is a more lucrative market, makes a lot of sense money-wise to the ATP. The same with moving tournamnets to China — a huge untapped money market. Leaving the tournaments in North America again makes sense. There’s a lot of money to be made in North America. Bottom line — verything hinges upon the almighty dollar; pay me my salary and I’ll dance to your tune.

Von Says:

Sorry a typo: Last para, line 6, s/b Bottom line — “everything”, instead of “verything”.

Von Says:

In my previous comments I stated Nadal could skip Rome next year, but that’s not logical, because Rome is a mandatory tournament. So I suppose, as JCF stated, he’ll just have to tank Rome or play all three. Then he’ll be back to square one.

Shital Green Says:

Check me out at Tennis Planet for a second.

Von Says:

Hey Shital:

Very well-written! Good job — I see you couldn’t resist adding your fave’s name — Agassi. I didn’t know you posted on that site. I don’t post there, but I like to read the articles. Some are so funny. There’s one today about Ancic and his mono recurrence. Poor guy — I suppose he’ll be out for a while. Keep up the good work.

Shital Green Says:

I was not writing it well to be there. I actually posted it as a comment. TP uplifted/ upgraded it. Last time, some ten days ago, they did the same. I have been there only twice so far.

zola Says:

I think the players were not happy with the 2009 changes anyway. It was a lot of discussion about it last year. It is a real mess and doesn’t make sense at all.

I don’t understand either. why replace HAmburg with MAdrid? I would be one thing they deleted it completely and gave some resting time to the players. but to replace it with another one, is just ridiculus.

Let’s hope ET is out of ATP at the end of his contract. maybe a person with more tennis experience can rescue the ATP tour.

Fedex Says:

And there is your Olympics draw. Let us start the conspiracy theories in real earnest!

Fedex Says:

To summarize the draw in 4 words:

Rafael Nadal got screwed!

In the 1 nanosecond I looked at, he has hewitt and murray in his quarter and Djokovic in his half.

Fed has Karlovic (in the 3rd round, i think) and Simon in his quarter/half!

zola Says:

add Nalbandian to that too. all in Rafa’s half!

All Fed needs to win the gold medal, is to show up!

Shital Green Says:

Looking at the draw between Nadal and Federer, Nadal has a tougher draw. I would trade any quarter with Federer’s. And then, Nadal will have to face Djoko or Nalbandian, who will not be a joke in the semi. Djoko has a tough draw with Nalbandian, Youzhny, and Monfils likely opponent. The way he almost took out Federer, Ginepri is not an easy 1st Rd. opponent for Djoko.

1st Quarter:
Federer meets Tursunov in the 1st Rd.
Lee or Areval in the 2nd.
Karlovic, Berdych, or Robredo
Blake, Simon, Canas, Bellucci,Guccione in the Qtr. final

2nd Quarter:
David Ferrer meets Tipsarevic in the 1st Rd.
Minor or O. Rochus in the 2nd.
Cilic or Gonzalez in the 3rd.
Davydenko, Gulbis, Kiefer,or Lapentti in the Qtr. final

3rd Quarter:
Djokovic meets Ginepri in the 1st Rd.
Nishikori or Schuettler in the 2nd.
Youzhny in the 3rd
Nalbandian or Monfils in the

4th Quarter:
Nadal meets Starace in the 1st Rd.
Hewitt in the 2nd.
Querrey, Andreev, Llodra, or Stepanek in the 3rd.
Murray or Wawrinka in the Qtr. final

JCF Says:

Djokovic looks good to get through, tough Nalby is always an x-factor.

There is potential for Federer to be upset by Tursunov or Karlovic (if he makes the 3rd round — he is like a game our roulette). I wouldn’t put it past Simon or Canas to beat Fed either. And given the way Americans have been beating Fed this year, maybe it’s Blake’s turn.

Nadal has got it pretty tough. Hewitt may still be injured but Querry and Stepanek are dangerous. Of course Murray too. And for some reason, he seems to keep getting Djokovic in his half.

It’s hard to pick a favorite based on this draw. I think it’s relatively balanced. Strong field in all quarters. I would like to see a rematch between Fed and Berdych who are in the same qtr. I don’t think Fed will lose this time though.

JCF Says:

Von, the way the clay season is structured, Rome and Hamburg (err.. Madrid) will have to be played back to back, followed by one week off and then RG. That’s a stupid schedule. Having MC optional doesn’t help that much since the latter part is still crammed. Rome should be the optional one. Playing MC and then Madrid (I once again typed Hamburg and had to correct myself) would make more sense. Or playing MC then Rome.

zola Says:

**I think it’s relatively balanced**

How is the draw balanced?
Only Davydenko in the top draw has a master series title on hard and Simone has a title and a final. That’s it!

The bottom half:
Djoko has a GS title on har court, a master series title and a master series final

Murray, a master series title and a master series semi-final

RAfa, a master series title on hard and a master series final

In the last two master series on hard, only Simon was in a semi. It was all contested between those in the buttom half.

Add to that NAlbandian and Hewitt! nope , to me it is not balanced!

zola Says:

sorry, Simon was in the semi in Toronto, not in the final!

zola Says:

Right now, all I want is for Rafa to go deep and do not lose early!

jane Says:

I have to agree with zola & Shital Green – the bottom half looks more packed to me in terms of real hardcourt threats; not that there are none for Fed, but the bottom is heavier, with Murray, Djoko, Rafa, and …perhaps Nalbandian; you’d think ONE of these guys would be on the top. Obviously those first 3 I listed are the on form players of the moment. Maybe Simon is, too? Add to the bottom the hardcourt prowess zola has pointed out, in other words, players who’ve won titles on the stuff, and it makes sense that the bottom of the draw is weighted.

jane Says:

I do think, however, that any player who loses earlier here can take heart, as the US Open is right around the corner. And as someone pointed out with concrete evidence elsewhere (was it you at Tennis Planet Shital?) those who go deep at the Olympics haven’t fared well at the Open, and vice versa.

So, a spreading of the spoils, perhaps?

sar Says:

those who go deep at the Olympics haven’t fared well at the Open,

Jane, Judy Murray actually said that too.

Daniel Says:

If we look at Slam this year, Djoko was in number one side (Fed’s draw) two times, AO and Wimbledon. Nothing more fair than he staying in Nadal’s draw this time. Although I think he will be on Fed’s side.
In MS he was on Fed’s side on MC and Rome, so enough of this excuse. Although it is random the n1 x n4 always will play more than n1 x n3.

Fedex Says:

Some of the achievements of Federer and Nadal have never been seen in tennis before. With Champions as great as them, history can be spun on its head in a jiffy.

That said, Olympics, more so than any other sporting event, are about nationalistic pride. I have found people of some nations to be fiercely nationalistic, while others are not so patriotic, so to speak. In countries like russia and china an olympic medal is the pinnacle of an athlete’s life. they care squat about the traditions or history of that particular sport, relatively speaking. Other countries with not so great olympic history, may not have athletes so driven for olympic glory. Also, nationalistic pride in some countries might be brought about by political reasons. Tennis-wise speaking, I think Djokovic would be much more driven for a gold than federer, given the political circumstances in the not too distant past in his country.

Anyway, nationalistic pride being the criteria, i would say djokovic > nadal > federer in terms of how driven the players will be.

Tennis brings the interesting angle of personal motivation and here I would say federer > djokovic > nadal. Federer desperately needs the gold to salvage this year. He is in someways looking at the olympics like Agassi might have, 12yrs ago. (Ofcourse Federer should be a lot more satisfied with his efficiency of reaping his talent than agassi in 1996)

Point is, nationalistic pride be a bigger factor in motivating players at olympics but Great champions are always capable of defying history.

jane Says:


You’re right that as number 3 Djoko has been flip-flopping from one side of the draw to the other, but there were others reasons, besides him, that I think people felt the bottom half of the draw looks heavier.

That said, I’ll reiterate what I said above; it’s not that there aren’t real threats there for Roger. I think there are.

We have to remember how draws change and open up with surprise upsets.

I think the fact that all of the matches – except the final – are best of three actually works against Fed. i like his chances against most of the people on his side of the draw in best of 5 – for example Karlovic. But in best of 3 scenarios, it’s trickier imho.

Daniel Says:


The bottom half is no doubt havier. I think Nalbandian will do some damage too. It’s about time for him to regroup again.

I want to see if Murray will kept the momentum.

jane Says:


The only thing that has me wondering about Nalbandian – besides his tendency to inconsistency – is his shoulder injury; I wonder if it is fully healed. I guess we’ll soon find out!

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