Rafael Nadal has been in focus these past two weeks not just because of his performance in the 2011 US Open, reaching the final, losing to Novak Djokovic in a four set slug fest which left Nadal badly beaten and worn out. The scheduling problems caused by the rains along the Eastern Coast led to some weird times of play and players ordered to play on a wet surface under a light drizzle. Nadal was the most vocal out of the players against the USTA’s handling of the situation.
But the problems that rose during the US Open aren’t a two week thing alone. The entire year of the ATP tour is problematic and too grueling in the eyes of many. Along with the Davis Cup matches, which most top players attend, especially before and Olympic year, hardly leave any time of rest and off-season for the players.
While putting his nation 1-0 up over France in their David Cup semifinals, Nadal is still hurting from the loss to Djokovic. But not just that. He’s got plenty to say about the schedule – an evolution in the calendar must be made or we might get to a place where we might not want to be. Evolution, revolution, same thing.
They don’t want to change anything. You can’t always just think about the personal benefit. It seems as if those in charge aren’t aware. Chances of strike? We don’t want to get there. We want to play. But if it’s a fight about something that we think is fair, something would have to happen. Sometimes the only way to make things happen is to choose strong action.
But does Nadal and the ATP players want? Roger Federer has voiced his opinion about the scheduling and the length of the season this year and during the last couple of seasons. Veteran and rich players play less tournaments anyway. But what can the ATP do? Taking off Masters tournament seems like the only option to me. Taking off tournaments in general, and spreading the season out. Maybe making the Davis Cup a concentrated three week thing, playing the entire cup in that time.
The calender was actually altered back in October 2006 by the ITF (International Tennis Federation) after 17 of the world’s top 20 players, including Nadal, asked for a change in the gap between Davis Cup weekends and Wimbledon/US Open. From One week, it turned into two.
Personally, I don’t care for the Davis Cup, but patriotism and nationality has to be added into everything, even into completely individual sports. So be it. Unless they just take off tournaments from the board or making it a two week break between each one, I don’t see any way to solve this problem. The players have a point. Maybe if the big stars decide to skip some Masters tournament things might start rolling.