Swedish Davis Cup captain Mats Wilander thinks tennis should be dropped as an Olympic event as players' level of interest is too low. "It's a disgrace to the Olympics that tennis doesn't take it more seriously," Wilander told the Swedish Aftonbladet paper on Monday.
"I don't know if I like tennis at the Olympics personally, I have to admit. I think it's wrong to the other sports and I can't say it's wrong that players don't participate."
In Sydney 2000, Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov won in the absence of players such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Gustavo Kuerten.
"We already have four Olympics a year," Wilander added, referring to the four Grand Slam tournaments.
The International Olympic Committee will meet in Mexico City in late November to decide how to cut down the number of Olympic participants to a desired 10,500.
Wilander also suggested the alternative of playing Olympic tennis in teams similar to the Davis Cup or the Federation Cup instead of having both singles and doubles draws.
"I like the idea of having tennis as a team event at the Olympics," he said.
"You ski for your country, but I don't think tennis players think that way unless they play in teams. Then they would also prepare for the event as much as a skier or a swimmer does."
Wilander, who won seven singles Grand Slams during his career, skipped the Seoul Olympics in 1988. That year proved to be his most successful as he won the Australian Open, the French Open and the U.S. Open.
supplied by Reuters
10-21-2002, 11:32 PM
Guga played Sydney 2000 and lost to Zhenya :p
so thats wrong :p
10-21-2002, 11:52 PM
:D Reuters frequently is
10-22-2002, 12:05 AM
Yeah, that error was gross. Guga was even involved in some battle because of his sponsorship, Diadora, since he was supposed to wear the official clothing for the Brazilian Team, made by Olympikus. He ended wearing Olympikus, and later on he changed it for them definitely.
And about Mats´ suggestion, I hate taking it out of the Olympic Games, but I agree it should be some team sport. It would be more exciting, and it has more to do with the Olympic spirit.
10-22-2002, 02:16 AM
I think it should be a team competition, too. The format now makes the Olympics just another tour stop. That's why it's not special.
10-23-2002, 05:05 AM
Yeah, the team competition is a good idea
Chloe le Bopper
10-23-2002, 08:02 AM
I always thought they should do something like the hopman cup - but maybe expanded a bit.
10-23-2002, 01:17 PM
I totally agree :D
Only a better idea: a team of 2 men & 2 women from each country in the biggest team event. That will be awsome.
10-23-2002, 02:27 PM
Andre Agassi won the Olympics once, so its wrong to imply that top players like Agassi dont play :rolleyes:
And i agree it should be a team sport, but separate mens and womens, not mixed. Currently I dont think any of the Olympic sports are mixed.
10-25-2002, 03:41 AM
Well why not let tennis take the lead? A mixed event is a great idea.
10-25-2002, 04:00 AM
A mixed event would be fun.
10-25-2002, 07:11 AM
They shouldn't drop tennis from Olympics at all...team or no team.
10-25-2002, 10:27 AM
It should stay in :)
Sampras and Agassi hardly played Davis Cup and no one suggests that the Davis Cup be scrapped.
a Team Comp would be the best solution but tennis is an individual sport, they don't play as teams in Ice Skating, Swimming etc apart from the obvious (pairs/relays)
10-25-2002, 11:53 AM
If a player can give his all to win a Grand Slam why shouldn't they not be able to do the same thing in the Olympics, after all an Olympic medal is more rare than a grand slam title. Track and field athletes manage to compete as individuals and then come back and compete in relays.
If a team event enables the players to cope with playing in the Olympics, so be it ;).
Does anyone know if the players get paid for Davis Cup appearances?. Is the lack of interest by some (not all players) due to lack of $ for competeing?.
10-25-2002, 12:16 PM
You don't get Prize Money for Davis Cup but you do get paid from the various National Associations (how much depends on who you are)
10-25-2002, 12:47 PM
and on how wealthy your country is. most players do demand a kind of appearance fee.
10-25-2002, 07:27 PM
Chris Woodward (?) got $100,000 for his Davis Cup appearance in Zimbabwe. I think that is the standard amount for each appearance in a tie for the US team. It depends on the federation. South African players don't even get their expenses covered (a huge debate right now).
10-28-2002, 01:38 AM
I agree with Wilander.
Tennis doesn't need the Olympics and the Olympics certainly doesn't need Tennis.
For Athletics, Swimming, Rowing, Shooting etc. etc. the Olympics are The Holy Grail of their sport. Tennis has it's own Holy Grails!
And whilst I know some athletes are highly paid, there's still some of the amateur ethos that Tennis lost years ago.
10-28-2002, 12:40 PM
I think it should be three events
Men team, women team and mixed team,
That way it will make it very interesting
10-28-2002, 12:42 PM
However, I disagree that tennis should be taken out of Olympics? Despite the fact that some big names don't participate, tehre are still a lot of players who has their heart and soul on the Olympics. As much as I don't like Kafelikov, think he will list his biggest achievement as an Olympic gold, so why denied somebody a chance to flfil a dream in a legitimate sport just because some players cannot be arsed to play there?
07-09-2004, 05:19 PM
Wilander slams Olympics
by Paul Birch
Seven-time Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander has criticised the way tennis is organised at the Olympic Games.
The Swede said tennis should not be an Olympic sport unless the event is given more prestige and ranking points.
Victory in the Olympic singles is worth 400 ATP ranking points for men, opposed to 1,000 points for a Grand Slam win.
"It's embarrassing to the sport. Either take the ranking points away or give it the same ranking points as Wimbledon," Wilander told BBC Sport.
Wilander believes the event should be given greater billing and says it is demeaning to other sports at the Games.
"Either make it into the biggest tournament in the sport or not - we should be showing off the sport," he said.
"It's only every fourth year so why not give it the same ranking points as Wimbledon or even more so guys actually try to win it.
"Why not give the tournament twice as many ranking points so you have the chance to go to number one? It would create more interest."
An ATP spokesman said less points were awarded as only 64 players competed in the Olympics singles events, compared to 128 in Grand Slams.
"Given the field and volume of players, it wouldn't make sense to alter the ranking points to the same level as a Grand Slam," said the spokesman.
Wilander was the reigning French and Australian Open champion when tennis was re-introduced to the Olympics as a medal sport at the 1988 Games in Seoul.
He missed the event due to its close proximity to the US Open and since then tennis at the Olympics has suffered from scheduling difficulties and a degree of apathy from the players.
But Wilander absolved the players from any wrongdoing and instead said it is the organisers that are culpable.
"At the beginning you could blame the players for not making a bigger deal about it, but these days you have to blame the organisations," he said.
"You've got to give the guys a chance to prepare properly and change the schedule.
"If you have the Olympics in August on clay then you've got to change the schedule accordingly.
"Luckily it's on a hard court in Athens, but it could be on any surface in the future so the guys need to practice on the right surface. "
International Tennis Federation spokesman Debbie Jevans insisted the Olympics is regarded as one of the sport's most important events.
"It's not coincidence the event is on a hard court. The ITF put it on a hard court to allow players to prepare, and the fact they are at the US Open afterwards," she said.
"We do give the Olympics absolute priority, and adjust the calendar every four years, but it's inevitably crowded."
But Wilander said more needs to be done.
"In years to come it will get a tradition, but why not start it off now as a huge tournament. Either give it more [prestige] or don't have the sport in the Olympics," he said.
Story from BBC SPORT:
07-09-2004, 05:46 PM
Whoops. Article already posted. Sorry for the double post!
08-08-2004, 08:29 AM
Here's a suggestion 4,000 ranking points since it's played only once in four years. Add on 2 million in prize money No incentive like money.