September 06, 2005
Doubles Controversy Just About Over
The raging controversy over the future of men's doubles is virtually over after newly hired chairman of the board Etienne de Villiers delivered a very promising settlement proposal to the 45 players who last Thursday sued the ATP Tour.
The key points from de Villiers:
* Revocation of the "2008 Rule," which would have prohibited any player from participating in doubles at an ATP event who was not concurrently in the singles draw. That would have effectively killed doubles.
* Accept the several low-financial impact proposals from the players, including the hiring of a director of doubles, who would be a sort of advocate for the doubles players. Other items on that players list include requiring tournament directors to post placards on the grounds showing the doubles rankings and the doubles draw and making a full effort to promote doubles with free clinics and radio, TV and newspaper spots.
* Continue with plans for an experimental use of altered scoring for the rest of the season, beginning after the U.S. Open. That means no-ad scoring (receiving team getting choice of ad or deuce box on the seventh and final point), tiebreaks at 5-5 instead of 6-6 and super-tiebreaks is sets are one-all.
There is still a hard core of players who want to get rid of the scoring changes as well, but there appears to be a growing feeling that de Villiers is going to be reasonable to deal with in settling all the issues that have driven doubles players to sue, and they're willing to drop the suit.
Players are scheduled to meet again Wednesday with representatives of de Villiers, who is in London recovering from successful prostate cancer surgery.
Posted by Charles Bricker at 01:24 PM