In tennis one off-court story of late has been leading all else. I am not talking about backhands and forehands and volleys but instead the serve players are dishing out to the administrators of the sport with their...
In tennis one off-court story of late has been leading all else. I am not talking about backhands and forehands and volleys but instead the serve players are dishing out to the administrators of the sport with their threat to strike. They have two demands; the first is the schedule, they want a longer off season with the circuit being planned in a better manner and the second demand is more money. Did I hear you ask, how’s that again, more money? I’ll get to that aspect in part two of my blog on this subject. Absolutely the circuit is somewhat of a confusion the way it criss crosses around, but not one player has put forward an actual plan to revamp it. They have done a lot of talking about how poorly the weeks are set out but until players come forward and lay a revamped calendar on the table, I see it all as hot air. Don’t get me wrong, I have the world of admiration for the players, as players, but administrators they are not. Their drive, determination and focus, can and should definitely be admired. It’s tough, but then again so is pretty much every other job, right? If one of you guys reading this is a teacher, wouldn’t you say that is a tough job, albeit rewarding when a student gets what you’re talking about? That sort of analogy can certainly relate to being a tennis player. The players can’t agree within themselves about how best to improve the circuit. One lot will want it one way, the other lot another way. Yes the circuit is like a city with no planning, no grid system - things have been added here and there, changes have been made and stuck on etc., so yes it is a mess but what do you do to change it? Start on a clean sheet of paper? Then the hard court players will say they’ve been deprived and the clay courters will say there’s not enough for them. Is your head spinning yet? It’s like players and/or media grumbling about the order of play during a tournament. If Andy Murray is not on when the British media want him on they carry on as if it’s Armageddon. Don’t laugh, it’s true! There are so many factors and interests that have to be considered with scheduling so if something like that can’t be worked out then how on earth can a full calendar be figured to suit everyone? It’s hysterical. But I get back to my point, not one person, and this is where the players must step forward, has produced a blue print, verbally or in print of how it should work. Just do it to quote a clothing manufacturer. Oh and while at it with rescheduling consider the legal challenges that will come from tournaments, agents and the like. Oh and as far as the off-season is concerned, consider its length because it will give the players a chance to play exhibitions which will make them feel tired all over again. Oh and with that shortened off season consider the players who will be losing out on work because the tournaments are not there. Sorry I forget to include them in the group that could put up a legal challenge. You know why the players haven’t done anything because they don’t know how to solve the situation. They do however know how to make a noise. As for a strike I can’t see it happening because they won’t agree on the timing. Tennis is not a team sport like baseball which has struck. Baseball is played across a four or five month period so its attention grabbing and the fact that it’s a team sport there’s solidarity. Do you think any one of them would skip a Grand Slam event? Will they boycott a Masters 1000 event? Do you think an endorsement company that has ploughed millions into a player deal will be happy with a strike that removes match exposure? Who or what do you think it will hurt? It will hurt the game and that means them as players …. in the back pocket. The perfect segue to part two …