I wonder how long players would get suspended? Say someone pulled out of a big event before a Grand Slam, would the suspension cover the Grand Slam?
Also, looks like Madrid is getting a joint ATP/WTA event before RG, especially if Tiriac is backing them
Tennis: ATP boss imposes strict pull-out sanctions for 2009
Posted: 22 February 2007 0033 hrs
ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands : New strict sanctions for withdrawals from ATP events are set to be imposed in 2009 when players in top eight elite events will be fined and suspended if they do not show up, the ATP Tour said on Wednesday.
ATP chairman Etienne de Villiers announced a major renovation of the men's game including 1,000 ranking points for each winner of an elite event.
"We had 384 withdrawals last year," said de Villiers, who formerly ran the Disney operation in Europe. "On the basis of 2,000 players jobs, that's a fifth.
"It's like going to a U2 concert and one of the band members doesn't bother to show up. That's the kind of thinking we have to impress upon the players."
This week's Rotterdam event is a perfect example of the chronic problem, with pullouts through injury and other reasons from the likes of Tim Henman, Marcos Baghdatis, Mario Ancic and - the day before his opening match - Lleyton Hewitt.
"This is a complicated issue," said the ATP boss. "Our sport is incredibly demanding physically. I would say that most injury pullouts are legitimate.
"But we are now offering them as a (no-penalty) option. We want to close that door."
"There are no options for these events, it's eight of eight for the players. If you (a top player) don't show up, you will be fined and suspended.
"We have to put some teeth into this - and you can guess how popular I am with the players right now."
De Villiers said that the organisation hopes to end the tournament entry cutoff three instead of the current six weeks before the start of an event to help players plan their schedules better.
And in an attempt to lower player fatigue, best-of-five set finals will be scrapped.
And on the new system of allocating ranking points, de Villiers added: "We will probably call them "1,000 pointers," because that's what they will be worth to players."
The doubling of ranking points - de Villiers hopes the four Grand Slam will obligingly lift their own awards from 1,000 to 2,000 point to maintain separation - is the carrot part of an equation designed to address the plague of mounting player pullouts.
De Villiers said that plans are to stage a combined men's and women's event in Europe before Roland Garros - Madrid with super impresario Ion Tiriac are said to have the inside edge - and also one in China in the autumn.
In addition, the season-ending championships - to be re-named from the Tennis Masters Cup - will return to Europe.
"This makes since, China has a huge potential in almost everything and our sport has resonated in the country through the Masters Cup (currently staged in Shanghai in November)," said South African de Villiers. "It also makes sense to end the tennis season in Europe."
- AFP /ls