They better not implement this policy until the calender has been overhauled.
Updated: Oct. 31, 2006, 4:58 PM ET
ATP chief says tour will tighten up on withdrawals
PARIS -- ATP chairman Etienne De Villiers said he was in favor of bans to punish players missing top tournaments without a good excuse.
"We're going to tighten up on withdrawals," De Villiers said on Tuesday in the French capital, where he was attending the Paris Masters.
"At the moment players get too much flexibility. They take options on tournaments and then withdraw with no penalties. It's just not right for the fans and for the tournaments."
De Villiers's comments came a day after world No. 1 Roger Federer pulled out from the Paris event citing exhaustion. It left the tournament without five of the world's top six players.
The head of men's tennis did not blame Federer, who had to play a best-of-five-sets final to win the Swiss Indoors on Sunday, but said changes needed to be made to the structure of the calendar.
"There's no guy that's more dedicated and shows more sense of responsibility than Roger Federer," De Villiers told reporters. "I will never criticise him for anything but it is indicative of the players' level of exhaustion.
"There are too many back-to-back tournaments. It does seem crazy that Federer was playing a [best of] five sets final the weekend before he was due to play a Masters Series tournament."
A reformed calendar, which is scheduled to be introduced in 2009, was not the only option, De Villiers said.
The ATP chief said the showcase tournaments should be made more attractive with increased prize money and more ranking points to gain.
"We need focused fans, focused media and focused television on the tournaments that matter. It's a combination of how the calendar is structured, where the players get to play and when.
"We need to get these guys sufficiently motivated in terms of rewards, prize money and difference between bigger tournaments and the smaller ones in terms of points.
"That way you get players to focus on the number of tournaments they should be playing. We do need to get the top guys playing the top tournaments."
On the other hand, De Villiers said, there should be sanctions such as fines, points deductions and suspensions for unjustified withdrawals.
"The sanctions should be quite significant", he said.
"If you've made the Tour playable, if you've taken away back-to-backs, if you've given the top players more points relative to the other tournaments and 20 to 30 per cent more prize money, then I believe we can expect to have the corollary which is if you don't do that, then we're going to take things away from you -- money, points and your ability to play.
"We have to start considering suspensions."