The season should be shortened, there are too many tournaments at the moment. Sure, players are playing exhibitions in December after some rest, most of these are just hit and giggle affairs, but as was said in the last entry, the competitive aspect of tennis is very tough and the week in, week out nature, contributes to mental fatigue as well and unlike golf, tennis is a physical sport and out of the other main global sports it does have the shortest off season. Well, considering all the vested interests involved in the game, it will be extremely difficult to initiate any changes without some compromise.
For example look at Formula 1, there are many things that aren't good about the sport, but they have a clear and defined off season where they do their testing, the drivers do their training and then when the season starts there is a keen anticipation as there is enough time in between the off season and the new season to generate sufficient interest in the events, whereas sadly with tennis, it seems there is a convergence from the last season straight into the next one. It hasn't affected the commercial interests and the prosperity of the sport, by not having races every week.
Football is another sport, where in many matches there are plenty of empty seats in stadia and not as much money coming through as previously, the commercial bubble has burst, many fans priced out of watching the game, it happens in tennis and could even get worse in this regard and it seems to be more about sponsors than fans and not balanced as it should be. People not caring about a Mickey Mouse trophy, even further separation between the fans and the millionaires.
There are too many hardcourts events and they adversely effect the joints and is harder on the body than the clay for example, but there needs to be a reduction of tournaments on hardcourts, clay and indoors. At the same time it's a global sport and this needs to be reflected in the calendar. There would have to be some structural changes but there will be a clear surface distinction as well for example.
- The season would start in the first week of Feb and finish in November.
- The first 4 weeks would be a lead in to the Aus Open with a TMS in the 3rd week, and then once the Aus Open in March is finished. That would be 6 weeks of hardcourt/Rebound Ace.
- Then Davis Cup 1st round matches and after that the claycourt season begins in week 8 in South America with a clay TMS in Buenos Aires in Week 10 and finishes in week 19 at the end of the French Open, which is the third week of June.
- There will be no claycourt events at ATP level after that, this would mean that there would be a two break between the TMS events, and maybe some of the other tournaments could be moved to earlier dates or have two or maybe three of them in the off weeks. Week 20 at the end of June the grasscourt season begins.
- Then for the whole month of July it's grasscourt tennis with a week 21 TMS grass event, then optional event and the last two weeks are for Wimbledon.
- The start of August the DC quarters which is week 25, then after that it's the lead in for the US Open on the hardcourts with an Asian/North American hardcourt circuit before heading to North America for 2 TMS events and a warm up for the US Open which would be in week 31/32 the last weeks of September.
- October would have the DC semis, then after that it would be much reduced indoor season, which would last 4 weeks, from week 34/37 it would have Madrid and Paris in week 35 and 37 respectively, then the TMC and Davis Cup final.
- The vast majority of players would half of November, all of December and January free from tennis tournaments. It would provide clear transition from surfaces, gives a TMS to grass, while taking a way a hardcourt one, making sure there is at least a 2 week gap between TMS events.
It would mean shedding a few tournaments, and maybe having some more tournaments where there are 3 events in non-TMS weeks, plus some will re-organise into different positions in the calendar.
This would reduce the workload, give the players and fans a break from the game and while injuries are always going to be a factor within professional sport, the calendar would not be blamed as there are clear transition periods between surfaces.
It is disappointing that it has to take the withdrawals of certain players for this issue to be discussed, then again there has always been a hierarchy in society and tennis is no different in this regard. If the top cash cows aren't playing, then the product suffers and for this reason and not to respect the players or fans, will more than likely be the cause of any changes to the tennis schedule.