Okay, you need technique to be a steeplechaser.
Yeah I know, the powers-that-be need a rocket up the arse. My proposal for getting rid of mandatory tournaments outside slams, DC, WTF would only happen under an ATP that was genuinely representing players rather than tournament directors. The basic problem is that the ATP is run as though players exist for the benefit of the tournaments rather than vice versa. The only difference in practice under my proposals would be that guys wouldn't be playing tournaments they didn't want to play. You'd have fewer complaints, tankings, bail-outs, crap-outs, & injuries, without massively reducing player participation in ATP tournaments. In fact with fewer injuries you might get more overall participation.
Well the ATP is definitely for the tournament directors. Here is something you might find interesting. It comes from Peter Luczak who was one of the player reps at the time. Not much has changed.
What do you think about the length of season? They have been talking for years about reducing the season, but nothing has changed in this regard. What steps can they take to fix the calendar?
This is bit of a tricky one. If you would have asked me the same question 8 years ago when I first started playing on the tour I would have answered it very differently. The only thing I wanted to do back then was play tournies and I'd be upset if there wasn't one on in a particular week. But now being a bit older the body getting a few injuries from all the pounding over the years and having a family I wish I could see more changes my view. I'd love it if we got bit more of an off season, that one month in December doesn't really cut it especially when you are training through it trying to get ready for the Aussie summer.
I'd love it if the season would be shortened to maybe 9 months, but how do you do that. Do you just cram all the tournies into that time period, or do you cancel 1/4 of the tournies. I know they have been talking about making the season shorter but the question is how you do it. Maybe you just gradually do it over many years. I know the Oz Open started a week later this year, maybe you just push it back one week every year and cut one week off at the end of the year for the next few years. But doing that is screws up other things. Like the Aussie would no longer be played during our holidays. Maybe less people and definitely less kids would be able to come out and watch. How do you fit all the tour events and DC in a 9 month period etc. So as nice as it sounds it would be a pretty difficult thing to do. In the end the players choose how long or short they make their season. But I think I could crap on about this question for a long time.
You were a vocal critic of the flawed Round Robin concept. It seems the ATP arenít looking out for or listening to the interests of the players, and working more so for the tournament directors. Whatís your take on it?
Round Robin was rubbish, it wasnít a fair system. They said it was meant to be for the fans. I mean you win, you progress, you lose, and you go home, what is simpler than that. It makes little sense that you lose 2 matches and have a chance of still being in. They realised it wasnít working and had to be scrapped.
Currently with the Council having the big 3 on there, they have more of a say than in the past. Problem is that a lot of the guys didnít know that you could approach a Council member, if they are unhappy with any issue. In theory the Council should raise the issue at the next meetings, and then they can decide on whether to vote on the change or leave as it is.
Willy CaŮas said ďThe ATP practices discrimination from an economic standpoint, like any multinational corporation. Itís just another of millions that there are in the world. Point being that I accept it, but I'm not buying into it that it is a group of players that decide (players union) because it isn't like thatĒ. Do you believe that Willy is correct on this particular issue?
Yes, I agree to an extent. The tournament directors (TDís) and the players are in conflict. An example of this was that the players voted for players that have come back from a drug ban, shouldnít be awarded wild cards on the comeback, but the tournament directors didnít want that and then the deciding vote went in favour of the tournament directors.
The TDís are worried about putting on a show and itís a business for them, they have a different agenda, no tournament = no players, no players = no tournaments. The TDís had too much power and it was important that the ATP won the lawsuit against Hamburg, we should be attempting to work together. At the moment there is too much conflict between the two groups, who are standing off against each other and I am unsure of how to fix it.