Men's Match of the Day
Long Island - First Round
Richard Krajicek def. Dominik Hrbaty 6-1 6-2
We take it back. Maybe injuries are good for the ATP Tour. Or, at least, good for tournaments with a lot of byes.
The real problem with low-level events with 48-draws is that nobody you've ever heard of plays in the first round. Pete Sampras has a bye. Tommy Haas has a bye. Roger Federer has a bye. Heck, Stefan Koubek has a bye. If you're a tournament director, how do you get fans into the stands for Monday's first round matches?
Answer: You thank the tennis gods for Richard Krajicek's bum arm. Because it gives you a one-time Slam winner who isn't ranked high enough to get a seed. Naturally, Krajicek was Monday's feature match.
And he came through. Perhaps more efficiently than anyone would like -- but that's what happens when Krajicek plays against the ever-slumping Dominik Hrbaty.
We say this every tournament: "It's only a first round match." No points worth mentioning. Except -- with Krajicek down at #123, any points are worth mentioning.
This draw gave the ATP a problem. Given the $480,000 prize money, Long Island should be a 35 Race point event. Except -- 35 point events aren't supposed to have Round of 64 matches. The points aren't even in the point table. (Really. We looked. Twice.) The ATP responded by treating Long Island as a $600,000 tournament. (It isn't the first time this year. Long Island hasn't cut its prize money; this is actually an increase. But so many other events have had to cut back that they started giving points based on criteria other than cash paid.) This seems likely to haunt them eventually, but for now, it let them give points for Round of 64 matches. Those points will move Krajicek to about # 117. And, of course, he's a lot higher in the ATP Race -- and clearly going to be higher than that by year-end. Assuming nothing else breaks down....