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post #1 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

Article I published in Bleacher Report today. Read on......

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/3...best-of-5-sets

I am usually a big fan of the Masters tournaments. I’ve attended Paris Bercy twice over the last few years and have always enjoyed watching Indian Wells and Miami on TV, along with Rome, Canada, and Cincinnati.

However, since 2008, I’ve found that I’ve lost interest in the Masters tournaments and I’ve been wondering why that’s the case.

I’ve come to the conclusion that they have lost some prestige due to the current format, and the Slams have more weight than ever before (which will please the ITF of course!).

In 1990 the ATP had a revamp of the calendar and brought in the Super Nine series culminating with the end of year ATP Championships, which took place in Germany from 1990 to 1999.

The Super Nine events incorporated some of the biggest tournaments in the world outside of the Grand Slams, including Italian Open, German Open, Canadian Open, Monte Carlo and Cincinnati.

Miami, Indian Wells, Stuttgart Indoors and Paris Indoors rounded out the nine tournaments. The ATP Championships first took place in Frankfurt from 1990 to 1995 and Hanover from 1996 to 1999.

In 2000, the ATP had another revamp and renamed the Super Nines to the Masters series, awarding 500 points for a win. Under the old system the winner got 350 points.

The contract to show the matches on pay television went to Swiss company ISL, who seemed to overstretch themselves and went bust in 2001.

Some of the traditional names of the tournaments were also changed, therefore the Canadian Open became the Rogers Cup, Italian Open became Rome Masters and German Open became Hamburg Masters.

To me, the name changes seem to take some of the prestige away from these events.

In 2009, the ATP had yet another revamp with some historical events like Hamburg and Monte Carlo downgraded and new events like Shanghai and Madrid given new status with the winner now given 1000 points for a win.

I used to view the Masters tournaments as great preparation for young players to go on to slam success.

With many of the finals played as best of five sets, it was good experience for players getting into important matches at slam level.

Players like Agassi, Federer, Djokovic, Safin, Nadal, Muster and others all won Super Nine/Masters events before winning Slam titles.

I used to really look forward to some of the finals, some of the best matches ever played were at the Super nine/Masters level in the finals.

However, over the past two years I can’t think of any final I have looked forward to and I can’t remember any final that would be considered memorable...over 20 finals in a two year period.

And as far as I’m concerned, that’s due to the fact that finals are now best of three sets only all year round.

The finals are usually quick straight sets affairs which are over in just over an hour. The interesting thing is that these short finals have coincided with yet another explosion of prize money.

So I feel that spectators who attend the finals and television viewers who pay subscription to see these matches are getting short-changed.

Another aspect to this is that Masters finals are no longer good preparation for slam success because they are like any other best of three-set ATP tournament.

I think one of the reasons Andy Murray plays so passively in Grand Slam finals is because he hasn’t played any best-of-five sets Masters finals where he could find out more about himself and be prepared to try different strategies and tactics at the level just below the slams, for instance how to come back when down in a long match.

I’ve also found that the end of year ATP Championships are also proving a profound disappointment because matches on finals day are finishing way too quickly during the last two years.

Television viewers are been short changed as well because TV will not show the doubles finals.

I went to the O2 Arena last year for round-robin matches and the atmosphere was incredible, a best-of-five set final would have been a fitting way to end the event. The players are strong enough and remunerated well enough to play a best-of-five set final.

If I remember correctly, previous Executive Chairman Etiene DeVilliers pushed to have the Masters finals reduced because of player fatigue. To me, that’s a hollow excuse and has taken credibility away from the events.

If Etiene really wanted to make a difference, he should have pushed harder to get the Tennis season reduced to 10 months so players can get a proper break as in other sports, but the ATP took the easy way out in this instance.

Hamburg and Monte Carlo were downgraded but Madrid was given a rather strange slot just before the French Open, when it appears Madrid would actually like to rival the French Open as a Grand Slam tournament in the future.

I propose that some finals in Miami, Indian Wells, Rome, Paris Bercy, Shanghai, and the end of year ATP Championships be restored to best-of-five sets to bring back some prestige to these events, I wonder if you agree with me?

To end the article, I thought I would take a quick look at some of the great five sets finals since 1990:

1996 Stuttgart final – Becker defeated Sampras in five sets of great attacking tennis.

1996 ATP final – Widely considered as the greatest indoor match in the Open era, four hours long, a great way to end the 1996 season and Sampras getting revenge over Becker after losing in Stuttgart.

1995 Monte Carlo final – Muster denied Becker in five sets, Becker would never win a clay event.

1998 ATP final – an all-Spanish affair in Hanover with Corretja defeating Moya in five sets

2000 Miami final – although four sets, it was three hours, 30 minutes long between Sampras and Kuerten and the atmosphere was like a Davis Cup tie. The tennis was incredible too.

2002 Masters cup final – Hewitt defeated Ferrero in a great five-set thriller in Shanghai.

2005 Miami final – Federer came from two sets down to beat Nadal, this was when everyone realised Nadal was going to give Federer a lot of trouble!

2005 Rome – Nadal and Coria played a great five-set final.

2005 Masters Cup final – Nalbandian came from two sets down to beat Federer in four hours

2006 Rome final – Five hours long! And Federer had match point but lost against Nadal; unfortunately, this was the beginning of the end for five-set finals at Masters level.

Can you think of any other great Masters finals? I would be more than happy to hear about them in the Comments section.

Last edited by laurie-1; 04-25-2010 at 09:49 PM.
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post #2 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 09:49 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

Yes!

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post #3 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 09:51 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

Yeah, makes it feel like a bigger tournament in a way
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post #4 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 09:57 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

If they don't do it in the Masters series, they should definitely do it for the World Tour finals... the only reason subsequent tiredness could be an issue there is for the DC final

Will Federer regain the #1 spot and break Sampras's record for most weeks at the top?

Roger // Rafa // Raonic // Söderling // Goffin // Ivo // Wawrinka // Baker // Delpo
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post #5 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 10:05 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

everyone agrees yes, except some of the players.
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post #6 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 10:09 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

I don't necessarily agree yes. I don't agree no either. There are reasons why it was moved from best of 5 to best of 3, that are legitimate. Also, sometimes you have to take into consideration the players playing, since they are the ones who are actually supplying the product. I'm 50-50 with it, but it really doesn't matter either way for me.
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post #7 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 10:13 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

I really like the best of five for the finals. You can't really match the drama of a match going deep into the fifth and these are huge matches worth tons of points/money

my favorite was the worst number 3 player in the world
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post #8 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 10:17 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

Most definitely yes
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post #9 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 10:21 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

They don't play 5 set matches in the rest of the tournament. I don't see the point of suddenly playing 5 sets in the final.
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post #10 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 11:02 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

great list of matches, and best of 5 sets finals should definitely come back, at least for the TMC (now known as WTF).

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Originally Posted by Roger Federer View Post
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post #11 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 11:06 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboy View Post
I don't necessarily agree yes. I don't agree no either. There are reasons why it was moved from best of 5 to best of 3, that are legitimate. Also, sometimes you have to take into consideration the players playing, since they are the ones who are actually supplying the product. I'm 50-50 with it, but it really doesn't matter either way for me.
and we are the ones paying for the product (and their wages), without the public these tournaments wouldnt exist.
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post #12 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 11:16 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

Yes, and also eliminate the byes.

In some aspects MS were more difficult to win than GS. For one thing they could be more physically draining given that you only had one off day and for another thing the chances of having to face better players were bigger than in a GS.
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post #13 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 11:25 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

Would be great, but don't forget: it's the ATP. They don't make sense that often.
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post #14 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 11:25 PM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

best of five sets should definitely be restored, but it probably won't in the end
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post #15 of 97 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 12:52 AM
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Re: Article - Should the ATP Restore Masters Finals to Best of Five Sets?

Yes.

And IW, and Miami.
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