Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item) - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

This News Item is on the Yahoo America main news page............


Timing of Australian Open comes under fire

By Julian Linden

SYDNEY, Jan 11 (Reuters) - The timing of the Australian Open came under fire from leading players on Wednesday after more big drawcards pulled out of the first grand slam of the year.

The 2005 champion Marat Safin joined the mounting absentee list when he announced he was not defending his title, just a day after French Open champion Rafael Nadal told organisers he would not be playing in Melbourne.

Safin succumbed to the long-term knee injury that has troubled him since Wimbledon while Nadal withdrew because of a foot problem that has plagued him since the end of last year.

"I don't think it takes a brain surgeon to figure out why a lot of people are getting hurt," American Andy Roddick told reporters in Melbourne.

"I believe it's in the best interests of the game for them to come up with an off-season to give us time to recover. You can't play if your body won't allow you. A solution needs to be found."

Safin is the first men's champion not to defend his Australian Open title since Andre Agassi pulled out of the 2002 tournament with a wrist problem.

Agassi, a staunch supporter of the Australian Open when many other top players failed to make the trip Down Under, has also withdrawn from this year's event because of an ankle injury.

Greg Rusedski and Alicia Molik have also pulled out of the Open, starting in Melbourne next week, while several other top players are in doubt.

Safin's sister, Dinara Safina, former world number one Carlos Moya, Sweden's 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson and Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova all retired from this week's Sydney International because of injuries.

It is not unusual for top players to miss the Australian Open through injuries suffered the previous season but the latest drop-outs have renewed calls to move the tournament to a later date or finish the season earlier.

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, regarded as one of the fittest men on the professional circuit, agreed with Roddick that the players need a break.

"These are the kind of things that the players, and especially the top players, have been asking been asking for and want a look at for a long time now," Hewitt told a news conference in Sydney. "But nothing still seems to be happening."

BURNOUT FEARS

Fears about player burnout have been around for years but reached new levels last season when the field for the lucrative Masters Cup in November was decimated by injury as Agassi, Roddick, Nadal, Safin and Hewitt all pulled out.

The Davis Cup final, usually held in the first week of December, has also contributed to the problem by reducing the break before the Australian summer season starts in January.

"It's a lot tougher on the top players," Hewitt said. "They're normally the ones playing in the Davis Cup final, two and a half weeks after the Masters Cup.

"You've somehow got to have a couple of weeks off there but there's no way your body can bounce back.

The Australian Open, traditionally held in the last two weeks of January, has often been the big loser.

In the days before easy jet travel, the top players in Europe and the U.S. preferred to stay at home rather than undertake the lengthy journey.

Even now, the top players are regularly missing and the problem is made worse by Australia's scorching summer heat where on-court temperatures often exceed 45 degrees Celcius.

Former world number one Martina Navratilova famously described the Australian Open as dangerous, writing in a newspaper column:

"It could take someone dying before things will change but I firmly believe the Australian Open should be put back a month until at least February."



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Last edited by mangoes; 01-11-2006 at 02:19 PM.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 06:47 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

When should it be held then?

It's not that easy to move it around.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

I guess they want it moved to February



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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 08:52 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

I agree with Andy Roddick that something must be done to give players mopre time to recover but it never occured to me that the timing of the AO was the problem. I'll have to mull that one over a bit....

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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 08:56 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

We gave them a leap second this year and they're still not satisfied!

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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 09:03 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

Some players like Jiri Novak, Greg Rusedski and Gustavo Kuerten decided to skip the Australian Open for personal reasons, though they are not injured. Roddick could do the same if it bothers him so much to go down to play it.

Seriously now, the only solution would be to cut off a few tournaments from the calendar, but there are many persons who are not willing to do this.

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Last edited by shotgun; 01-11-2006 at 09:51 PM.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 09:18 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

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Originally Posted by mangoes
Martina Navratilova [...] I firmly believe the Australian Open should be put back a month until at least February."
Could this be done?

Intuitively, and as a non-expert, I also feel that the AO is too early in the season. But I don't think it could be moved back by more than a couple of weeks. Or could it?

I also think RG and Wimbledon are bunched too close together.

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 09:26 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

I think Australia has too many sporting events in February/March. They wouldn't be able to move the Aus Open.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 09:46 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

Personally I think they should have the Aussie Open in March or even April. The weather then (Autumn) is generally quite calm and moderate and it would make more sense from a player and tour perspective.

It is currently held in January during traditional holiday season, guaranteeing bumper crowds and volunteers. So moving it to an off holiday time could jeopardise those things - although I would still take holidays at another time to coincide with the tennis.

The other alternative is to rearrange the Davis Cup so it's not an annual event. I think it should be played every two years or even every 4 years. And then when the Masters Cup is over the season could end then and there.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 09:56 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

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Originally Posted by tennisvideos
The other alternative is to rearrange the Davis Cup so it's not an annual event. I think it should be played every two years or even every 4 years. And then when the Masters Cup is over the season could end then and there.
I think Davis Cup should have its format merged with the World Team Cup. A Round Robin tournament played in a week in a given place, with 2 groups of 4 teams each, and then the winner of each group qualifies to the final, which would be held in another week in the actual DC format.

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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 10:09 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

Has anybody thought about traveling issues for players as well when tournie schedules are moved?
Nice post Shotgun- there has been loads of discussion in regards to the Davis Cup and its play as well.

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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 10:11 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

Well this problem could be equally viewed as a problem of the previous season going on too long (till December) rather than the A.Open starting too early

Its not one tournament or another that is at fault, it is the whole jingbang. Each tournamente looks for their own interest, and does not take into account when the others are, etc
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 10:21 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisvideos
Personally I think they should have the Aussie Open in March or even April. The weather then (Autumn) is generally quite calm and moderate and it would make more sense from a player and tour perspective.

It is currently held in January during traditional holiday season, guaranteeing bumper crowds and volunteers. So moving it to an off holiday time could jeopardise those things - although I would still take holidays at another time to coincide with the tennis.

The other alternative is to rearrange the Davis Cup so it's not an annual event. I think it should be played every two years or even every 4 years. And then when the Masters Cup is over the season could end then and there.
January is the long summer holiday for schools here. Thus it enables many school age children and teenagers to attend (including ballkids) who would not be able to attend otherwise. Lleyton Hewitt got his love for tennis attending the AO every year as a kid, for example.

However there are arguments on both sides. I find it interesting that the article says "leading players" but in fact they can only quote one who is actually prepared to say moving the AO is the solution

Last edited by Lisbeth; 01-11-2006 at 10:23 PM.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 10:23 PM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

Well if there is a longer offseason then I don't think timing becomes an issue, but compared to other sports tennis gets little time off.

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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 01-12-2006, 02:52 AM
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Re: Timing of Australian Open comes under fire (US News Item)

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Originally Posted by Corswandt
I also think RG and Wimbledon are bunched too close together.
I agree... The Grand Slams need to have equal intervals of months between them so the players can recuperate well after each one.

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