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‘Tis the Season to Complain About the Season

Posted by gauloises1 on October 13, 2009

Both Andy Roddick and Rafa Nadal had a bit to say today about the length of the season, with the women finishing on November 2nd while the men go on for another three weeks (plus Davis Cup final for those involved).

“It’s impossible to play 1st of January and finish 5th of December,” said the 23-year-old Nadal, who did not defend his title at Wimbledon because of a knee injury. “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.”

Roddick, a veteran at 27, said players need a longer offseason to recover, and noted that both Roger Federer (fatigue) and Andy Murray (wrist injury) are skipping the Shanghai tournament.

“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,” Roddick said. “I just feel sooner or later that common sense has to prevail.”

source

They have a point, but how do you fix it? It’s not like tournaments are going to volunteer to be made obsolete. The Times goes into a bit more:

Roddick said: “That [a strike] is the last thing that anyone wants to do but you get pushed against a wall. I don’t think any of us wants to do that, because even more so than feeling a responsibility to the powers that be in tennis, we feel a responsibility to the fans and we don’t want to alienate them. I think that’s why we’ve put up with it as long as we have.” […]

“I can tell you that six weeks is simply not enough time to recover from the excesses of a season,” he said. “We played almost 11 months, we have a solid block of mandated events, we have to play four of the 500 [the number of ranking points on offer] tournaments, the demands are getting harder.

“Heck, I’d just like a couple of weeks in a year when I could overdose on burritos, but I have to watch what I do probably more closely than most players, I train like a dog and when I’m out there, I kill myself to win.”

Roddick, radically, says that he could save a fortnight in the season off the top of his head, involving a later start to the Indian Wells Masters in California in March, with a Monday finish to avoid a clash with college basketball and therefore enhance television ratings, and an immediate start to the next Masters event in Miami. The second opportunity would be for there to be no gap between the final Masters 1000 event of the year in Paris and the finals in London, which start on November 22. “We are all just going to be kicking our heels in London for a week,” he said.

source

Clearly, what the situation needs is someone to get in there and bang some heads together. I nominate Gene Hunt.

13 Responses to “‘Tis the Season to Complain About the Season”

  1. Mlle. Marseillaise (a.k.a Joan) said

    I agree that the tennis season is ridiculous but Rafa, sweety part of you injuries are due to your inability to say no to tournaments. I understand that you love clay but sometimes you just need to say no. This goes for a bunch of other tournaments too. Earlier this year I honestly wondered outloud what the hell he was doing at Rotterdam. I’m a huge supporter of the little tournaments(that’s where a lot of us get our live tennis fix) but that doesn’t mean that the top guys have to play all the little tournaments they can cram into their schedules.

  2. Carrie/Cubbie said

    Bwah! Gene Hunt for the win.

    I do think that the season is way to long. It would also be good to create an off season to make the folks miss the sport a bit more. The indoor hardcourt season at the end of the year.always seems a bit too long in particular. At least to me.

  3. gauloises1 said

    No, you’re so right. It seems a bit nuts how much tennis is left before the end of the year. And it’s not like I want less tennis, but it’s just not good for the sport.

    The problem is that there are two Masters events after the US Open, I think. But that’s where the tour makes its moolah, as Neil Harman pointed out in the Times article.

  4. Carrie/Cubbie said

    Joan-

    Sorry to disagree with you a bit but I don’t think Rafa plays a ton of clay tournaments. Over the last three or so years he has played SIX at the most. The problem is that the clay season is all bunched together. He can’t say no to the Master’s because he is not allowed. And he is full of lurve for his country and Barcelona is one of the most historic tournaments out there- I can see why he wants to play. So bacially- he is just playing RG, Master’s and one 500 level tournament on clay.

    Rafa gets knocked a lot for stuffing his calander with clay tournmaents- but truth be told- he does not play that many. It is his best surface and six is really not that many imo. *shrugs* But I think clay tournaments and players are increasingly looked down on so that is part of my beef.

    I do agree that he could cut down on the Euro hard court swing though in the spring. But just can’t agree that his clay play is egregious. I just think that the clay season is being treated more and more like crap (as is grass) while hard courts are increaslingly dominating the schedule.

  5. Carrie/Cubbie said

    Sorry to respond to myself- but for the past two years- Rafa has played FIVE clay tournaments. That’s all. So it does not seem like he is cramming his schedule with a bunch of little clay tournaments.

    *hugs the clay surface as it gets increasingly squeezed in the calender*

  6. Crys said

    I’ve always found it ridiculous at how little off-time they get. You examine every other sport – even ones that have no physical demands like snooker – they all have a decent off-season of at least 2 months, usually more. And it’s conceivable that a player can be playing a final somewhere, and then have to be on court in the next couple of days in a different place, even a different timezone (see Hewitt at Houston and then Monte Carlo) and be expected to make a decent run there. I know there has to be a lot of tournaments to give the fans opportunities to see the game, and for lesser ranked players to have opportunities to climb the rankings, but there has to be a way to juggle the season to benefit the top 10 who *should* be making the QF of most tournaments. There’s so little safety net for injuries – you’re out for a month or so you can literally drop 50 places or so if you have a lot of points to defend – that the stress on a player must be ridiculous. After three grand slams in the space of four months, all players want to do is have an easy time, play a couple of 250s, enjoy tennis without feeling the pressure, but two compulsory masters series is just stupid. Shanghai could easily be dispensed with but that would mean the Asian fans would kick up a fuss as they barely have any tournaments as it is. So after that huge rant, I don’t know what the answer is, but something does have to be done. Over to you Gene.

  7. irefusetotellyou said

    Well, the schedule is definitely a beast.

    I was just going to say, “THEN SKIP SOME TOURNAMENTS!,” but that can mean loss of points/rankings/etc., which sizzucks.

    Also, I’m more concerned how this [Simon] greuling scheduling affects lesser-known and lesser-monied players than A-Rod or Rafa, as they are the ones who literally can’t afford to get injured or miss tournaments.

  8. irefusetotellyou said

    P.S: Fa la la la la la la la la.

  9. AmyLu said

    So if I were in charge of tennis, I’d have the following calendar (and this has been done without a ton of thought, as in I haven’t calculated exactly what smaller tournaments I’d keep):

    Open the year with a Middle Eastern/Asian swing that would culminate with the Australian Open (and yes, push back the start date of it).

    Move to a South American swing that culminates with a Master’s event in Miami (and knock Indian Wells out of the schedule, much as I love the tournament I don’t think it really makes any sense to hold both Indian Wells and Miami in March) — I think this swing could be done on hard, clay, or a combination of the two…whatever seemed most reasonable.

    Move to the European clay court swing, end with French Open.

    Have more of a grass season, with a Master’s event, end with Wimbledon.

    Have the hard court swing before the US Open — I’d probably knock Indy out of the schedule, and keep both Cincy and Montreal/Toronto.

    Have an indoor swing in Europe, end with the Paris masters and the year-end event in London. The year-end would be played like the first week of November.

  10. Crys said

    I definitely agree with pushing back the AO – it’s ridiculous to have a slam a mere few weeks after the season officially starts, but sadly, as with most things, it’s not the players who get thought of, but how much money it would make and the AO is scheduled to happen during school holidays. I mean, you only had to look at Djokovic last year, and several other players, who just couldn’t function in heat like that so it would make sense to have it later in the year when it’s cooler for them.

  11. AmyLu said

    Completely agree, Crys. Even though it makes complete sense to move back the AO, it will never happen.

    And, if the AO won’t move back, then I have a thought: why does the tennis year have to follow the calendar year? The season could end with the AO in early January, which will still be summer vacation in Australia (and the Asian/Middle Eastern swing could follow the indoor European swing). Then take the rest of January and February off, start with my South American swing and have the French Open before the first slam of the year. I suppose then there wouldn’t be a year-end event, but I’m not convinced that tennis needs one anyway.

  12. AmyLu said

    Sorry, I’m commenting on my own thought, but I would guess that the Australian Open could actually be in December, right? Like the week before Christmas? And then have off until March.

  13. AmyLu said

    Umm, by the week before Christmas, I meant end the tournament then, not start it then. I’ll stop commenting, I promise. I don’t know if December would make things too compressed, but it’s something that could potentially be do-able. And, if not, I still don’t see why the season couldn’t end with the Australian Open in early January.

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