Quotable Quotes: Yeah yeah yeah…
“We’ve been saying for a long time that it’s tough to compete 11 months a year, yet we actually end up finishing the season a little bit later now,” Roddick told the Independent newspaper.
“I don’t think it’s coincidental that you see Murray and Roger a little bit hurt now, or Rafa missing four months in the middle of the year, or maybe some odd results from Del Potro and myself last week.
“I just hope that the short-sightedness doesn’t affect the length of players’ careers. In tennis you definitely want your stars around as long as possible.”
“It’s impossible to play first of January and finish fifth 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.”
Source: Seattle Times
In the chorus of “the season is so long it’s atrocious“, lemme be the devil’s advocate.
Well not entirely – I do think that the season is too long. In that sense, Rafa and Roddick make a valid point.
A point that would’ve gained more sympathy from me had I not found out on the same day that he and Federer (along with a few other players) have both signed themselves up to the Abu Dhabi Cashcow Invitational due start on the 31st of December this year.
Color me unimpressed. If you want to complain about the season starting on the 1st of January, then how about you don’t sign yourself up to a tournament that starts on the 1st of Jan?
And then of course, the players have been calling for years for the Australian Open to be moved back to February, which I’m 100% against.
Google Trends show that I happen to live in the most tennis obsessed country in the world, in fact, the most tennis obsessed city. Honestly, I’d like to keep it that way. Moving the Australian Open back to February would do much to damage the popularity and accessibility of tennis in this country.
For starters, going to the tennis was part of my school holidays growing up and indeed part of every child’s summer holidays. Move it back to February, and you’ll lose a significant portion of family attendances during the week.
Not to mention, Ch 7 – the local free-to-air network – is able to give full devotion to not just the Australian Open but also the smaller events leading up to it. We’re talking 11am-11pm uninterrupted coverage (save for the newscast), free for all to access. Why? Because it’s able to hold off its normal programming from New Year’s until February. Move the Australian Open back a month, and you bet the amount of tennis coverage on free-to-air networks is going to go down.
Then there’s the minor issue of the Australian Open having to compete with the Motor GP season. We’re talking about booked out hotels, strained resources, lesser attendance at both events, the entire city going nuts …
And all that aside, are we really naive enough to think that having Australian Open in January is the problem? Move the Australian Open back, and expect to see a whole new bunch of Cashcow Invitationals popping up in January in the Middle-East and Asia. And you bet the top players will take them on and still complain about the schedule in October.
The real problem with the ATP Calendar isn’t precisely the length, although that does play a part, but the intensity from May to September. We’re looking at 3 slams, 4 ATP 1000 tournaments, half a dozen ATP 500s, not to mention 2 Davis Cup ties.
All up, about 7 weeks of best-of-5-set tennis and at least 4 weeks of mandatory, high-level ATP tour tennis. Of course, that’ll never change either. Whatever problems Australia has with moving its major events around, every other country will have. To me, the “cancer” of the tennis season lies in having Roland Garros and Wimbledon almost back-to-back. And if I ruled the tennis world, Davis Cup ties would be played intensively in 2 weeks, in a best-of-3-set format, slotted nowhere near the slam schedule.
Although that’s coming from me, who couldn’t give a fuck about the Davis Cup, except that it provides me with images of man-love and hilarity.
But I digress, what I meant to say with this post is that – sure, the tennis season is too long, it could do with some minor tweaks. But as the saying goes, it takes two to tango.
We can change the schedule all we want, but if players sign themselves up to a bunch of exhos and extra tournaments, at the end of the day, we’re still going to be left with the same decimated field by October each year.
The drawn-out season sucks, but players need to take responsibility for choosing a wiser schedule. Because sometimes injuries cannot be avoided, sometimes they can.
No one is debating that it’s a tough life. That’s why players are paid millions to live it.
Ahem, occasionally I rant. Deal with it.