The "9 TMS repartition" discussion... Where should they be?
As I see, there is a couple of TMS that are indisputable. Indian Wells and Miami (Hard), Montecarlo and Roma (Clay), and maybe Canada Open and Cincinnati (Hard) -even when I disagree a little about having 50% of TMS in a subcontinent- are supposed to be there. As I see, there are 3 TMS spots remaining (1 for Indoor Carpet, 1 for hard -or grass- courts, and 1 for clay -or grass- courts) and a lot of candidates. Let's see:
-TMS París-Bercy: Good infrastructure and enviroment (french crowd is not such a big deal), the calendar doesn't help this tournament at all. Federer doesn't go there, Nadal neither. It hasn't an "indoor carpet" tour before, barely a couple of tournaments, that's negative for Paris-Bercy too. Also, I don't like a single city with a GS and a TMS... it's Safin's favourite place. Berdych will win this year again.
-TMS Madrid: I consider this tournament as one of the most "democratic" of all, because almost every style of game allows you to win (as we'll never see Volandri winning Paris or Mirnyi winning Rome, for example). The Madrid winners list (Federer, Safin, Agassi, Nadal, Ferrero) proves that to me at last, and shows that there are no "dominant players". Anyway, the lack of tradition is harmful to this TMS, and playing this hard court tournament in a country with a strong "clay-court" tradition, is at least weird. Anyway, I like this Madrid TMS, so I must admit I'm very biased at this.
-TMS Hamburg: The calendar is his worst ally. Even if Hamburg is known as a very good spot for a big tourney, you can't do it inmediatly after Rome, before Düsseldorf and RG. Federer is the "dominator" here, except in 2003 when 4 argentinian players monopolized the semis. As I see, if Hamburg wants to remain being a Masters Series, it has to do some changes: 1) looking for another good spot in the calendar, and 2) thinking about changing the surface -they could fit perfectly for a indoor court or a grass court-. I'm afraid the "Does clay deserve only 2 TMS tournaments?" thread is about to be open...
-London: Good spot, good crowd, money... As I've said before, I don't like the "2 big tourneys in 1 big city" terms. The calendar is a problem too (the grass season is very short to put a TMS in there, also the indoor court). It sounds to me that the London TMS grass tournament would be a great way to put Murray artificially in the top 10. I'd prefer the TMC here, in an indoor hard court, at the end of the year (is the land of tennis after all, isn't it?).
-Shanghai: "Money makes the world go round the world go round the world go round"... anyway, it's a good way to end the Asian Tour, who is still looking for a place in the calendar (I would like the Asian tour at the beginnig of the year, mixed with the reduced Australian Open series), and also a good way to leave behind the diminished TMC in this city. The Tokyo alternative also sounds good to me... how about alternate spots, like in Canada?
-Buenos Aires or Acapulco: I think money is the main problem. None of the Latin American tournaments is the most important one in its week, and I don't see this changing soon. Any TMS in Latin America would need a lot of investment, so I see BA or Acapulco TMS very distant. Watch "Does clay deserve only 2 TMS tournaments?" thread in the future.
-Moscow or St. Petersburg: The "Russia TMS" sounds reasonable to me. They have 2 "one million dollar" tourneys and they can easily turn them into an official Indoor Carpet TMS that would replace Paris.
What do you think??