For The Record: Grass

Posted by Brodie under: London, SW19

4 May 2010

Dick offered up an interesting “thought” today that’s gotten the tennis twitterverse buzzing, (alongside of his cock fight with a dude carrying a figure skating display pic) and I figured I should explain my thoughts here instead of trying to jam pack them into tweets. He had this little nugget:

“random thought… the tournament at queens club now has 8 of the top 11 entered and its still a 250… no 500 or masters on grass…… um.. 3 masters 1000 on clay and at least 3 or 4 500 tournies on clay. please note that i have not entered an opinion here….. just repeating facts”

Here’s how the facts actually stack up: There are 9 Masters events, 6 for hard courts, 3 for clay. That equals 3 per each respective grand slam (since there are two hard courts slams). There are 11 500 events, 3 are clay, the rest are hard courts (though it’s a bit skewed because of indoor tournaments). There are 6 grass tournaments including Wimbledon. Four of them are before the slam, one is after (in Newport). All but Wimbley are a 250 event.

So why is there no Masters or 500 event on grass? As the man said, Queen’s has a whole ton of top players and it’s only a 250. It’s also the perfect time (2 weeks before Wimbledon) in people’s schedules. So?

1) Grass is hard to maintain: Duh. You have to replace the courts every season, it’s high maintenance, and if it rains, you’re all but screwed. No, we’re not having indoor grass tournaments!

2) Everyone’s gonna play Queen’s anyway: In the eyes of the tournament organizers, why would they want to up the tournament to a 500 event? They have to pay more for prizes, and everyone and their dog is already playing the thing. So the tournament isn’t going to be pushing for an upgrade themselves (though the tour could obviously make the change, if they were smart enough to).

3) Facilities: Queen’s isn’t a large enough tournament in terms of centre court to be a Masters event, but it might be able to pull off a 500. The other ones definitely aren’t.

4) Takes away from other tournaments: Cheers to Aniek for this idea. Considering the “grass season” is a tight squeeze after RG, lower players (outside of the top 20, for example) might choose to play Queen’s in hope of more points and thus really take away from the other tournaments attendance and appeal. An interesting idea.

5) Add one, drop one Adding another Masters tournament would mean that another one would have to get dropped, likely a clay one.

In my eye, Queen’s SHOULD be a 500. At least. Why?

1) Equal pay for equal work It’s silly to have 2000 points up for grab at Wimbledon and 750 in all other tournaments combined because 4 of the tournaments happen in 2 weeks. Literally, the winner of Wimbledon gets more points on grass than is mathematically possible for any other player to amass. Dunno if it’s just me, but that seems a tad ridiculous.

2) Queen’s can’t pay? It’s the effin’ Queen! Gonna try and tell me she doesn’t have money? Sheesh. Not to mention she could upgrade centre court easily.

3) No neutrality There was talk that hard courts are the “neutral” surface and it makes sense to have the most tournaments on it. Bullshit. I’ve always had the idea that clay is the neutral surface, because it “neutralizes” big servers and makes you win the point on the battlefield. All in all, it’s a dumb idea, however, because different surfaces are going to benefit different styles. Period. In other words “grass is a specialty surface so just leave it at Wimbledon. That’s dumb.

4) Make it 500 Queen’s doesn’t have to become a Masters tournament (it’s not going to be with that centre court) but a 500 tournament (and possibly an additional week in between RG and Wimbley) might get people taking the surface more seriously outside of Wimbledon. Because really, it’s Wimbledon + warm up tournaments. No one’s exactly playing those cause they desperately want the championship (ok, Muzz might be…)

Just some ideas. Feel free to agree, disagree, or sling shit at me in the comments.

The Changeover Podcast:

Episode #56 – Indian Wells Wrap