The ATP announced today that Gayle David Bradshaw, Vice President of Rules & Competition, has been named its Doubles Commissioner to oversee and implement changes to ATP doubles in 2006 designed to make it a more vital part of the ATP men’s pro tennis circuit. Bradshaw has worked at the ATP in various roles since 1990.
“Gayle brings an instant credibility to the position as he has earned the respect of both tournaments and players over the years through his commitment, creativity and integrity,” said ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers in announcing the ATP Board appointment. “His experience and understanding of the circuit is unmatched, and his existing role overseeing the ATP Supervisors who will monitor tournament promotion and scheduling of doubles per our new rules makes him a natural fit. He’s also an avid fan of the game of doubles and will work closely with staff and members to insure we get this great game in front of more fans as quickly as possible.”
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Bradshaw will serve as Chairman of the ATP Doubles Promotion Committee, whose members will be named soon. The Committee will be responsible for, among other things:
· A promotional fund to be spent promoting and marketing doubles teams, the new format and the unique excitement and entertainment provided by doubles;
· Tournament scheduling commitments to doubles which will include minimums of doubles matches scheduled on center and show courts;
· Tournament promotions including on-site display of draws, Doubles Race standings, advertisements, coverage on tournament web sites and other promotional initiatives recommended by the Committee;
· Administration of fines to tournaments for non-compliance of new rules, if necessary;
· ATP promotions including ATPtennis.com coverage, creation of promotional toolkits for tournaments, media relations and advertising;
· Assisting ATP Properties in identifying potential doubles sponsors and partners;
· Evaluation of the impact of the changes including surveys of fans conducted by an independent firm, media coverage, focus groups and player participation trends.
“I’m honored to serve in this new and important role,” Bradshaw said. “My initial goal will be to improve the mindset of the ATP staff, tournaments, players and media so we all fully embrace these changes and create a culture whereby the doubles game is celebrated and its players utilized to promote and showcase this unique and integral aspect of professional tennis.”
The changes, approved by the ATP Board in Shanghai, following support from both the Player and Tournament Councils, include a new scoring format featuring two sets to 6 (tie-break at 6:6), no-ad games, and a Match Tie-break (first to 10 points, win by two) at one-set all. The new format, with its predictable length and unique scoring features, will provide for better scheduling and more showcasing on feature courts, offer entertaining features that will be emphasized in promotion and marketing, and be more appealing to television broadcasters and sponsors. It also is hoped to attract more singles players.
“The new scoring change is [designed] to improve the game,” explained Fabrice Santoro following his victory with partner Michael Llodra at the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai. “The scoring system will stay the same in the Grand Slams…but at ATP events, it’s better to play shorter matches to maybe push the singles players to play more doubles. If at the end more singles players play doubles, it will be better for the game, better for doubles, better for the tournament and the fans.”
Bradshaw will follow the direction of the ATP Board, who stated in Shanghai that they want to promote and market the differences in the doubles game—its speed, athleticism, touch and teamwork. Said Bradshaw: “Our campaigns and promotions will reflect that attitude—doubles is different than singles yet still dynamic, and it complements singles tennis when scheduled appropriately, such as the lead act during day and night sessions, and particularly on the final Sunday of tournaments.”