Finally!! an article that blames the ATP for "decline" of popularity of men's tennis - MensTennisForums.com

 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-12-2002, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Finally!! an article that blames the ATP for "decline" of popularity of men's tennis

By Jon Levey

From the October 2002 issue of TENNIS Magazine.

Unless a few good men start to dominate, the ATP tour will turn into a faceless fizzle.


Mac era returns to U.S. Open '02. By Ron Angle.


Communism doesn't work. Not socially, not economically, and certainly not in the case of men's professional tennis. But going into the 2002 U.S. Open, eight different players had divvied up the last nine Grand Slam titles. The bottomless talent pool that is the ATP has caught the dreaded "P" virus, better known as parity. Even with 32 seeds at the Slams, top players continue to drop like flies. Only two of the first 16 seeds at this year's Wimbledon reached the quarterfinals. Although competitive matches and upsets occurring throughout a tournament is a purist's dream, it ultimately damages the sport.

What we need is a ruling class, a group of young, exciting players who consistently compete against each other in the later rounds at the majors.

While world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt would like to put an end to the current parity and rule the tour as a monarch, ideally the mantle should be passed around between a select handful who on any given week can usurp the throne. Rivalries would begin to develop, personalities would be discovered, and casual fans would look forward to the second Sunday of a Slam instead of flipping the channel because they've never heard of the players.

Remember the McEnroe, Connors, Borg era? Or the Sampras, Agassi, Courier regime? We need Marat Safin, Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Gustavo Kuerten to join Hewitt and focus on winning the big ones. The young Turks have been knocking at the door of dominance but can't find a way in.

Now, it's a nice story when career journeymen like Thomas Johansson and Albert Costa defy expectations and rise up to win a major. But rarely, if ever, do they attract new viewers. Golf hasn't become hugely popular because some no-name stunned the world by winning the Masters. Fans watch for one reason-Tiger Woods. People want to see what record he'll shatter next. And in the infrequent instance Tiger doesn't win, they want to see who's David enough to slay Goliath.

This dynamic has been working on the women's tour, where Jennifer Capriati and the Williams sisters have won the last nine Slams. Love 'em or hate 'em, these girls at least inspire passion from the fans. I'm not saying that the ATP's "new balls" don't want to win the majors. They've collected a few, just not with any consistency. Perhaps it's because they're already fabulously wealthy or maybe they're more Yevgeny Kafelnikov than Pete Sampras, not focused on any particular event. You just don't get the feeling that, other than Hewitt, this generation is desperate to stockpile Slam trophies.

The ATP holds some responsibility for the lack of a ruling class. By penalizing players for missing any of its nine Masters Series events, many of which come right before the Slams, the tour compels its potential stars to compete in more tournaments than they can mentally and physically handle. Federer had a great clay-court season this year, but it left him drained at Roland Garros, where he went out in the first round. Same story for Kuerten during past summer hardcourt seasons-he's done well at the warm-ups and then run out of gas at the U.S. Open. The ATP doesn't operate the Slams, so naturally they promote their own events instead. The problem is, sports fans aren't going to be interested in what happens in Cincinnati if they're not even watching Wimbledon.

The young players need to take matters into their own hands. Take a page from the book of Williams or Sampras. Organize your schedule to peak at the Slams. Perhaps even skip an event or two so you can save your best stuff. After all, your legacy, and your endorsement dollars, are made at the majors.

Until these players are ready to assume the role of authority over the rest of the field, predicting the Slams will be anyone's guess, and tennis will continue to be back-page news.

I HATE the ATP.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2002, 06:04 AM
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Re: Finally!! an article that blames the ATP for "decline" of popularity of men's tennis

Quote:
Originally posted by luvbadboys
By Jon Levey

Remember the McEnroe, Connors, Borg era? Or the Sampras, Agassi, Courier regime? We need Marat Safin, Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Gustavo Kuerten to join Hewitt and focus on winning the big ones. The young Turks have been knocking at the door of dominance but can't find a way in.
Guga won 11 tourneys in 2000 and 2001. He has 3 slams and 5 TMS and 1 TMC title. Errrrr, I did the math and he's more accomplished than Hewitt. Since when he's still counted as one knocking on the door?

Anyway, if these people also watch F1, they would know that having a dominant player might not be such a good thing.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2002, 06:46 PM
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Domination is boring. And I love how he completely misuses his governmental analogy as well

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2002, 09:49 PM
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I agree with TennisHack, domination is boring, what do you want? TO happen the same that happens on WTA? Where all is almost fixed to have in the semifinals to Capriati, the 2 Williams, and other one like Clijsters, Henin, Dokic, or whoever from the top 10??
Sorry, but that sucks!
The fact that according to some people, domination will provide more attention from fans, I don't think that's truth, but ok, let's think that it's truth, I mean, I don't care if there are thousands of fans watching or not the mens' tennis, I think that what cares(of course, to business' people not) is that there must be surprises, excitement, and fun to the fans that really appreciate tennis as a unpredicatable sport, because that's what it may be!

That's why I love the ATP in these moments! The #1 can win to the #2, but then loses against the #100, come on! I love that! It's just so exciting to watch that!

I love ATP!

Aren't all love stories destined to fail?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 07:48 AM
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LuvBadBoys:

I agree ATP has a problem, but I don't know if it stems from the Tennis Masters series.

I think its more from the fact that there is no off season. Players like Hewitt getting injured and Safin overplaying like Dokic.

What other sport makes you play some much throughout the year???
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 09:46 AM
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None of them are focussing on winning one event, eh?

I could go on for a while about that one particular statement, but I think its obvious what my rant would be.

I lack direction.

Chocking makes me sad.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
I think its more from the fact that there is no off season. Players like Hewitt getting injured and Safin overplaying like Dokic.
Safin choses to overplay, he doesn't HAVE to. A longer off season makes no difference on wether or not he plays 10 more events than he has to.

Though I do agree a longer off season would be a nice step, I'm not sure it is as easily said as done.

What tournaments to take off the calender? Is it fair to just rip some countries of their only chance to view Pro tennis all year? etc etc

I lack direction.

Chocking makes me sad.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 09:48 AM
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on that note, I'm bloody thrilled that the tournament in my country is a Masters Series - that we are building a new stadium in Toronto for at that.

So I'm safe

I lack direction.

Chocking makes me sad.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 09:23 PM
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Becca,

Maybe split the season into 2 groups (Jan-Aug, Jun-Jan) with players electing what season they want to play. They then come together only for the Slams and Masters Series.

Also, re: Marat. When he had that rib injury, when he wore that gauze around his waist, he still had to play all these tournaments or be penalized against qualifying for the year end Masters Cup. It did nothing for him but get him kicked out of the 1st rounds. Maybe he's injured again?
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