Becker questions current ATP schedule

08-09-2002, 12:41 PM
Don't think it has been posted:

Becker Says Streamlined Schedule Would Promote Player Rivalries

By Richard Pagliaro, 08/08/2002

While some longtime tennis fans long for the days where riveting rivalries between Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe were consistent championship climaxes before giving way to serve-and-volley showdowns between Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg, others celebrate the depth on today's ATP Tour that produced eight different champions in the eight Grand Slams prior to Lleyton Hewitt's Wimbledon win.

Asked to assess the current state of the ATP Tour, Becker believes that time — time for young players to develop and a schedule that permits players to take time off from the tour — is the most crucial element necessary in developing player personalities and more men's rivalries.

"The schedule right now is so full that these young players don't really have a time to breathe, they don't have an offseason, and they're really in this system where they have to play constantly every week," Becker said. "Therefore, it's very hard to let their heart and soul out on the court every single time they go out."

The three-time Wimbledon winner said a streamlined schedule that permitted the top players to play fewer tournaments would allow players to enter events playing at their physical peak and promote the type or rivalries that women's tennis has produced in the past.

"This (player schedules) is one of the reasons you have very clear rivalries (in women's tennis)," Becker said. "The Williams sisters, you have Capriati, Davenport, hopefully Kournikova one day. On the other hand, they play 14 tournaments a year, 14 or 15. They gear for the Slams, maybe another handful where they really want to win. On the men's side, top guys play 20, 25 events. It's impossible to play that many tournaments in your top form."

For Becker, the solution is simple: reducing the quantity of tournaments on the ATP scheduled would increase the quality of tennis.

"We talked about the issue for years and years," Becker said. "Obviously, there needs to be a change of schedule. There needs to be less tournaments. You see top guys playing more each other, and that's the way you start with the rivalries in competition."

08-09-2002, 12:57 PM
All true.

The Crow
08-09-2002, 01:43 PM
I wonder why Becker didn't mention Dokic ;)

Anyway, the players can still organize their own schedule. If they are playing more than in the past, it means they want to.

08-09-2002, 01:43 PM
i wanna see more meets between

Marat and the Potato
Tommy Haas and Marat
Tommy and the Potato

Guga vs Marat
Moya vs the Potato :D

and alot more

08-09-2002, 02:47 PM
Yes, there needs to be more rivalries, but I don't think the schedule is the cause of that. It's the parity. A shortened season would not prevent upsets. In fact, shorten the schedule and you might have even fewer matchups between the big guys. And besides, shorten the season, and I guarantee you that the big guns will be flying here, there and everywhere on a lucrative exhibition circuit. I'd rather see tournaments that count than exhibitions. Besides, the ATP is making strides in lowering the number of tournaments -- it was 80-plus a few years back and it's now below 65. While I like the current set-up -- mandatory masters and grand slams in the rankings -- they might consider knocking out a few Master's events (maybe 7 vs. 9) and lower the minimum number of tournaments to 16 or 17.

08-09-2002, 03:43 PM
We hear this argument often to shorten the schedules. I think the quality will increase with fewer tournaments.

Parity will decrease when the players can stay healthy and focused during the shorter season.

That's my hypothesis. :)

08-09-2002, 03:51 PM
I think that quality will increase too. Less injury risk, less risk that some players might seek refuge in dope,...

I see only benefits.

However I am not so sure that it will lead to more rivalry. It takes more for that than reducing a schedule.

08-10-2002, 05:57 PM
Don't know about a shorter schedule, but certainly reducing the number of t'ments where their points count would help.
If it was the Slams, Masters and 4 others instead of 6, many of the top players would play less t'ments.
However those lower ranked would still try & play more t'ments to try & get better results in those 4, besides those who just play as many tourneys as possible just for the money - & that just won't change.