The Doha Dilemma

Posted by Brodie under: London, YEC

21 Oct 2010

Serena hurt herself again. Venus is on crutches. JJ is sick and tired (literally). Elena has a screwed up foot. Justine can’t step in, she’s still out.

What the hell are we doing here people?!

It’s supposed to be the next biggest event to the slams. The showcase of your greatest players. Now, instead of having trouble attracting fans, you can’t even attract the players. Not to mention, they sometimes get hurt once they get there anyway (Ana, 2008, Dinara, Caro, 2009).

It’s a tricky situation, and no option is easy. I’ve got a bit of a crazy one, it’s not do nothing or move it back to New York, but it might work.

Move it to the beginning of the year.

Huh?

Yeah, you heard me. This can apply for the ATP too. Think about it. It’s the end of the season. Players are exhausted, injured. For the guys, they’re even more exhausted and have to play two Masters tournaments post USO. Poor Nole has to play Davis Cup and in London. There’s a lot of points and money at stake, sure, but how much do players really want to have to battle it out against the toughest opponents in the world at the end of the year when they want to go home?

What about players at the beginning of the year? It’s quite the opposite. They want to get ready for Australia, they want to get some matches in, they want to get rolling. They’re rested and healthy. Hell, top guys have been playing exhibitions so they can get in match play against top guys by-passing having to play much lower ranked players.

Why not throw them the carrot of all those points (and cash) and have them go at it?

I think us sports watching folk have it in our brains that all seasons must come to an end with a bang. The final series, the final round, the final game. There should be nobody but the best standing. Other than the obvious fact that tennis isn’t a team sport, how necessary is that for a season that lasts longer than any others? How bad does Rafa really want those 1500 points when he already knows he’s the year end number 1? Does Kolya winning the WTF mean that he was the greatest player of 2009?

Exactly. Instead of quietly kicking off the tennis season with events like Brisbane, Hopman Cup, or non-tour exhibitions, why not start with a bang? Get your best players together and say “this is what we’re all about, and this is why you should watch tennis this year.” Then follow it up with the Australian Open.

It’s food for thought. I understand there are a lot of hoops to jump through here. “Is it fair to have them play in London and then fly to Australia?” “Does that mean all the WTF/YECs will be held in Australia now?” “What if someone, like Fed, doesn’t want to play matches before the Australian Open?” All fair points. But I also don’t think a sick and tired JJ wants to have to grind herself into the ground at the end of the year in front of a half empty stadium against the best players out there. There’s probably some marketing issues too (though I can’t imagine London selling out in December and comparatively half empty in January).

In all honesty, this blog has been lonely, and this is the first time I’ve written something with some serious opinion behind it. I’d love to read some comments.

The Changeover Podcast:

Episode #56 – Indian Wells Wrap