I found this while I was cruising all the Aussie papers. Yet, another reason to be irritated at the ATP. While I can understand some of this stuff the thing that pisses me off the most is expecting these guys to give some sort of sound bite as they walk on
the court. Do they really need to be answering stupid, petty questions before they go out to play a match? Most of the hard core fans understand the need to concentrate and the "casual fans" won't give anymore of a crap then they did before because i doubt the questions before a match would be very insightful. And it's not like this requirement
will introduce the casual fan to a new player because it sounds like this is geared towards the "stars." And for those of us here in the States we know what (or who) that means
. As if we don't see them enough. Anyway, here's the article. Sorry for the rant.
From "The Advertiser":
By LEO SCHLINK in Melbourne
THE world's leading male tennis players have been ordered to become accessible to the media, including a demand for competitors to take part in television interviews as they walk on to court for matches.
In a plan designed to further popularise the sport, ATP players have been given a list of commitments which, if not fully met after a three-month trial period, will result in fines that double with every offence.
ATP executive Chris Clouser says the changes in media commitments are "an effort to enhance the media-player relationship and to hopefully expand the amount of promotion dedicated to tennis".
There is no mention in Clouser's letter to players of former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt's multi-million dollar legal action against with the ATP over interview requests ahead of his first-round match in Cincinnati 15 months ago, a dispute which has now reached the South Australian Supreme Court.
Under the new rules, which will be introduced from the weekend, players are required to:
TAKE part in pre-tournament interviews of up to an hour's duration;
PERFORM a pre-match interview with television during walk-on before a match.
The interview is not to exceed two minutes.
Broadcasters (not players) will have the option to request the interview take place at the practice courts on the day of the match.
SUBMIT to an interview of up to five minutes with host broadcasters after winning a match.
APPEAR within 30 minutes at a post-match press conference. Exceptions to the rule will be made only for injured players or those with good cause.
Clouser has told players no fines will be applied during the first three months of the 2004 season to "allow players, ATP staff, broadcasters and tournaments to adjust to these changes".
The ATP board will then meet at the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami, where the new rules will be ratified and will take immediate affect.
Clouser said ATP player council and board "felt that a stronger commitment was needed to ensure standards and expectations are consistent for all matches and players".
"Today's ATP players are among the most interesting and talented athletes in the world," he wrote.
"This new media initiative was undertaken to provide the best forums to demonstrate this fact to the press."
In his letter to players, Clouser indicates the ATP will continue to order players to forfeit half their prizemoney – or a specified fine – if they violate the Tour's STARS program, which requires competitors to complete certain obligations to media, sponsors or the tournament.