Tie-breaking talks set to end overcrowded calendar

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The Independent Online

Having practised with Roger Federer and Carlos Moya, two contrasting Masters Cup rivals, Tim Henman ended last weekend helping to promote the ATP's official magazine, "Deuce".

Having practised with Roger Federer and Carlos Moya, two contrasting Masters Cup rivals, Tim Henman ended last weekend helping to promote the ATP's official magazine, "Deuce".

The publication is aptly named, because the sport itself appears to have arrived at deuce, where its fortunes could sway either way. Much depends on how the various constituencies - players, governing bodies and tournament directors - deal with the vexing issue of an overcrowded calendar.

This week, a political game within the game is being played out here in the Lone Star State, one of the aims being to ensure that the ATP's Masters Series events feature more than a lone star, which has not been the case recently.

Meetings are scheduled involving the ATP Tour, the Grand Slam Committee and the International Tennis Federation.

Mark Miles, the ATP's chief executive, has spent a decade attempting to balance the needs of the players with those of the tournaments. Two things went wrong for Miles: the ATP's television deal with the now defunct ISL, and his campaign, on behalf of the players, to wring money from the Grand Slams to subsidise the ATP Tour.

Miles warned his colleagues that the proposed nine events were too many when the ATP's "Super Nine" became the Masters Series in 2000.

Miles advocated a Masters Series of seven tournaments, and events have done nothing to change this view, which is shared by the British No 1. "The Masters Series are great events," says Henman. "Do we need nine? I don't think so."

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