Players speaking out more...are de Villiers days as CEO numbered? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Players speaking out more...are de Villiers days as CEO numbered?

nobama
03-10-2007, 05:21 AM
Sure doesn't seem like de Villiers has the confidence of some of the top players. And my guess is other players feel the same but just haven't spoken out (yet). One can hope that Disney's days as ATP CEO are numbered...

http://www.tennisreporters.net/roddick_blake_030907_c.html
FROM THE PACIFIC LIFE OPEN AT INDIAN WELLS – Say so long to the ATP's round-robin experiment.

In an incredible and ferocious condemnation of the ATP's trial with round robins in World Series tournaments, three of the tour's top players – Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and ATP Players Council Vice president James Blake – all said that the experiment should be blown up and it appears that the format danced its last waltz last week at the Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas.

Roddick believes that when the tour's Board of Directors holds its meetings in two weeks at Miami, that they will vote to kill it.

"I think we've seen the last of it," Roddick said "I don't see how you can get around, pull-outs, going to a match and having to win five games and hit three drop shots to advance to the quarter, a million other things. There's too much left to the players, whether if it's a friend, maybe dodging a game to let another one through; I just think there's too many holes in it. And I think it's a good example of why you can't look at tennis and treat it as a business because there are players involved and matches are won and lost. It's not completely a show." :yeah:

Blake, who was involved in the Las Vegas controversy when he was briefly advanced to the quarters and then was later told that Evgeny Korolev would get through, said that a round-robin format should only be used for the year-end Masters Cup.

"Diplomatically I'd say, we'll revisit it. We'll talk, but I don't want it anymore," he said. "There's too many variables. There's too many possibilities of matches that could turn into basically exhibitions or after one set they could turn into exhibitions. I don't want to see more round-robin tournaments that get decided on who goes through by a rule, as opposed to by who wins a match. To go out there with the scenario of going out to win by a certain score, it's not natural. You wouldn't tell a basketball team to go out and cover a line, like a Vegas spread. You'd tell them to go out and win the game.

"It's just a little bit of an unnatural feeling as an athlete. We tried it; we experimented. I don't think it's worked out all that well. I don't know the research or the results from the fans, but we need to take that into consideration, but in my opinion, it's not worth it. … I don't know how much they know about whether or not the guys are trying out there. Whether they're trying 95 percent or if they're really giving 100 percent in an exhibition match. Hopefully the best thing that might come of it is that round robins might be going by the wayside, which would be, in my opinion, a good thing."

Federer has disagreed with the experiment from the start and said he was pleased that it has begun to fizzle.

"I knew that that was going to happen, that with somebody pulling out and something," he said. "I'm not at all in favor of it. I think it's never gonna happen, but maybe one player helps another player to get maybe the top guy out, who then eventually could win the whole tournament, the whole thing. I just thought there was too many problems with the whole system, and so I'm happy a problem arose. And unfortunately, it always takes a few players involved that everybody kind of wakes up."

DE VILLIERS CALLED FEDERER
ATP CEO Etienne de Villiers actually called Federer last week in Dubai during the controversy to get his take on the situation and the Swiss didn't appear sympathetic. de Villiers had first decided against ATP rules that Blake should get through and then reversed himself.

"Your problem, you know," Federer told the CEO. "I'm over here. He apologized. I think it's terrible what happened. I didn't decide anything, I was just listening."

Speculation as to who called de Villiers in Las Vegas can now be slightly laid to rest. Blake was told when he came off court last week after Juan del Potro had retired in the second set that he would get through, but then was told he wouldn't, so he went to the on-site ATP officials and asked for clarification. It appears that it was ATP Supervisor Mark Darby or some other ATP official who called de Villiers, not Blake or Tennis Channel Open TD David Edges.

"My initiative was just going in to talk to Darby about it, learn about the rule, to find out what was going on, how this happened, how come no one let us know of the rule," Blake said. "And it just kind of spiraled into a long discussion. And before we knew it, we were on the phone with Etienne. I don't know who initially called him, but we just decided maybe we need to get more people on the line as to figuring out this situation."

Now to more politicking: de Villiers' proposal to mandate eight Masters Series tournaments in 2009 and enforce participation with the threat of suspension is also facing some serious opposition. Marat Safin has already come out against it, and now Roddick and Blake have stated that they will stand against it.

"It's not to say that it's totally unfair, because if people are just skipping [tournaments], then there needs to be punishment," Blake said. "But if people are injured, that's where the gray area is, 'cause some of the sponsors or the powers that be maybe never played tennis, maybe never played sports. They don't understand the wear and tear that your body takes over an entire year or entire career. … Sometimes, I think they're a little bit cynical and doubting of whether or not the injuries are real. If it just happens that I get injured right before an Asian swing, people might think I just don't want to get on a 14-hour trip or I get injured right before the clay, many people think I don't want to play on the clay. Sometimes those injuries do happen.

"So it's a matter of finding a way to punish those that are just skipping and not punishing those who are legitimately injured. Because it doesn't make sense to have a back injury and then get on a 14-hour flight to go over to Asia just to do a media day, and what's best for the tour, to be honest, is to have me back healthy. We need to find a way to kind of compromise."

Roddick believes that by forcing players to compete too much, the out will lose sight of its goal, which is to keep players healthy and in front of the fans eyes.

"If they don't show up for one, you suspend them from another? I don't really see how that's keeping your top players in events," Roddick said. "I don't know if that's common sense and I'm just missing something."

There are some who believe that the top players should be able to pick five or six of the Masters Series and divide them up, so every part of the world at least gets to see some stars. But Roddick doesn't believe that players should be threatened with suspensions.

"I just don't think you can set it in stone because the injuries play a part in it," he said. "You can't make things black and white when there's a lot of gray areas as far as injuries. You're going to get suspended because you have a sprained ankle and, they want like MRI proof or something like that? I think that's a little bit ridiculous, and I don't know if it totally makes sense in the scheme of sports."

Of course, the players have to realize that the Masters Series tournaments pay huge dollars to earn that designation and they won't keep putting up the big bucks unless they are guaranteed top stars. Plus, the ATP Board of Directors has forever been tipped in favor of the tournaments, so the players might be fighting a losing battle in this instance.

"I agree with [the Masters Series getting top players] as long as they can understand the rigors that take place in tennis," Roddick said. "I understand to get the support for it, you have to have the guys showing up, and I understand the premise of it. And I respect the premise of it. There was no wiggle room in the round robin. I just don't want to run into another problem like that and I fear that might happen."

scoobs
03-10-2007, 05:30 AM
It sounds to me like he has problems getting his agenda through now. After the Las Vegas debacle, players seem much more sceptical of what he's trying to do and why - and more prepared to publicly question it.

I think he's in for a rough ride, and much more scrutiny of his proposals.

euroka1
03-10-2007, 09:19 AM
Matt Cronin's account sounds very plausible but one still comes away with a sour feeling about James Blake's behaviour in all this.

----------------
"ATP CEO Etienne de Villiers actually called Federer last week in Dubai during the controversy to get his take on the situation and the Swiss didn't appear sympathetic. de Villiers had first decided against ATP rules that Blake should get through and then reversed himself.
"Your problem, you know," Federer told the CEO. "I'm over here. He apologized. I think it's terrible what happened. I didn't decide anything, I was just listening."

Speculation as to who called de Villiers in Las Vegas can now be slightly laid to rest. Blake was told when he came off court last week after Juan del Potro had retired in the second set that he would get through, but then was told he wouldn't, so he went to the on-site ATP officials and asked for clarification. It appears that it was ATP Supervisor Mark Darby or some other ATP official who called de Villiers, not Blake or Tennis Channel Open TD David Edges.

"My initiative was just going in to talk to Darby about it, learn about the rule, to find out what was going on, how this happened, how come no one let us know of the rule," Blake said. "And it just kind of spiraled into a long discussion. And before we knew it, we were on the phone with Etienne. I don't know who initially called him, but we just decided maybe we need to get more people on the line as to figuring out this situation.""

--------

Mark Darby and/or the ATP official must have known the rules and their local authority. So apparently they were urged to call de Villiers. The issue was apparently not one of just stuffing the empty stands.

Blake took part in the phone conversation when the ATP rule was reversed.

Federer was called afterwards. " de Villiers had first decided against ATP rules that Blake should get through and then reversed himself." By this time other dissenting voices had chimed in.


I believe it is time to move on but I walk away with diminished respect for our top tennis players.

Kalliopeia
03-10-2007, 10:37 AM
Matt Cronin's account sounds very plausible but one still comes away with a sour feeling about James Blake's behaviour in all this.


Agreed. I mean, the rule was there, and everyone understood it. What's to figure out?

MaryWalsh
03-10-2007, 03:01 PM
I hope the players continue to speak up more actively against bad decisions, and are more vigilant looking out for their interests. And if De Villiers steps down, that would be a bonus!

danton
03-10-2007, 03:06 PM
Totally disagree - the ATP and players should be working as a team. This division is not going to help in the long run. ATP have already said that Round Robin will be discussed at the next meeting. That should be end of discussion to the press.

If the ATP then presses ahead with something that the players as a majority disagree with then they should speak out about it but to speak out about it before anything is seriously discussed does not help.

Too many players thinking about themselves and not the big picture.

PS- This has nothing to do with whether I agree with the ATP or not just basic management and team work 101.

jazar
03-10-2007, 03:08 PM
so now de villiers feels he has to check up everything with federer? the man is lost, he can't control everything and his experiment has gone horribly wrong with almost every top player against it. the atp tour isnt a theme park, so he shouldnt treat it that way

Johnny Groove
03-10-2007, 03:09 PM
Blake: "To go out there with the scenario of going out to win by a certain score, it's not natural. You wouldn't tell a basketball team to go out and cover a line, like a Vegas spread. You'd tell them to go out and win the game."

i love how he must use a vegas reference. :lol:

I also must say im impressed with Roddicks comments as well.

Sofyaxo
03-10-2007, 03:19 PM
This is the first job de Villiers has had in sports right? He has no history with tennis or how to run it correct? I know he worked for Disney.

I just want to get that straight before I comment on how stupid it was to bring someone in from outside of the sport to run it.

The whole having to call Roger to check with him thing bothers me. Why does a CEO have to double check his choices with a player? He should be secure in his position. I'm very sure that Miami is going to be very rough for this man.

Blake just looks worse and worse. I almost feel bad about it.

tangerine_dream
03-10-2007, 07:45 PM
Kind of funny that Mr deVillain felt the need to call Federer, for what exactly? To hold his hand over the phone? Is Roger is the Wizard of Oz, calling the shots from behind the curtain or something? Mr Disney must not be feeling too secure right now if he's gotta run to Roger everytime something goes down.

Good comments from Andy and he's right, treating tennis like it's all business is the wrong strategy. There are player's careers on the line here.

Socket
03-10-2007, 08:13 PM
de Villers was trying to get buy-in from Federer, since he's the No. 1 player and gets the most media exposure and coverage. He wanted to find out before hand what Federer would be saying to the press about this issue, that's all.