Andy Murray is the latest player to announce the possibility of strike action being taken over what a number of top players consider an overcrowded ATP tennis tour schedule. Speaking to the BBC he claimed that the majority of players were united on what needed to be changed, and that the players he had spoken to were not afraid to take some form of strike action.
Radical changes are not required, with most of the top guys simply looking for a couple of extra weeks rest or fewer tournaments in the year. The main problem is that contracts are drawn up committing to hosting an event years in advance, meaning significant adjustments to the calendar may not be possible for 5 or 6 years. Given the current age of the top
Given the current age of the top players it really wouldn’t be of much benefit to them so they require changes to be made quickly. The strain of the long year has already started to take its toll on the top 10, with the possible exception of the evergreen Roger Federer. One point of contention is currently the scheduling of the Davis Cup matches so close to the US Open, with Novak Djokovic retiring with a back injury after just over a set of his rubber against Juan Martin Del Potro.
Djokovic has always been fairly committed to representing his country, as has Rafael Nadal, but the qualification requirements for the 2012 Olympics mean that far more of the top players are having to travel to ties they would sooner have missed. To an
To an extent, this devalues the Davis Cup as players just don’t want to be there and don’t get as much out of it as they could if they were completely fit and motivated.I won’t pretend to have the answer to solve the scheduling issues, but I know what I’d like to see from a fans perspective.
For starters, there should be fewer mandatory tour events for players. This seems like the most simple solution to the top guys burning out without removing anything from the schedule. It allows greater optional rest time for the guys winning more matches while freeing up spaces for some of the lower ranked players to get some more court time.
Some would argue that this reduces the appeal of some events due to the lack of marquee players, but frankly, the crowds at some ATP events are abysmal and I doubt the impact would be major. Secondly, the Davis Cup scheduling should be revised and all players should be required to make themselves available for selection for at least one time.
Right now it doesn’t seem to be a priority event, whereas it should be at least as important as the Masters 1000 events. There should be a sensible rest period before a round is played to give players the best possible chance of being fit and healthy.
The impression I get is that players want to participate in the competition but tend to prioritize their Tour matches. The Davis Cup deserves more respect than it is currently being given.I’m all for change on the tour, ideally without strike action but if it becomes the only possible course of action than so be it. In the end, it’s beneficial for everyone to have the players happy and the product on show can only improve from fitter, happier players.