Tennis: ATP propose Super Seven plan

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The Independent Online
The men's ATP Tour has proposed a restructuring of the sport for the year 2000. The plan centres on seven tournaments, featuring both men and women, in addition to the four Grand Slam championships, and a new calendar-year rankings system.

Simplifying the world rankings into a yearly race as opposed to the current 52-week rolling system under which only a player's best 14 results are counted, might help the public to take a greater interest in the circuit. Apart from the four major championships of Australia, France, Wimbledon and the United States, the sport has lacked a coherent structure.

The proposed "Super Seven" would mean that two of the nine main events on the ATP Tour would lose their top-tier status. One would be a European clay court tournament - the Monte Carlo Open, the German Open in Hamburg, or the Italian Open in Rome. The other would be a north American hardcourt event, Cincinnati or the Canadian Open. The mixed Lipton Championships in Florida would be played on clay instead of concrete.

There would also be 18 second-tier tournaments, seven of which can count towards rankings.

The ATP Tour's proposals embrace a combined year-end World Championships, amalgamating the ATP Tour Championship in Hannover, the WTA Tour Championship in New York and the Grand Slam Cup in Munich. The showpiece would move to a different location each year.

To finance the new championship, the four Grand Slams would be asked to contribute towards to the players' bonus pool.