Tue, Nov 23, 2010 - Page 19 News List

TENNIS: Men’s ATP calendar to be shortened

Reuters, LONDON

The men’s ATP calendar will be shortened by two weeks from 2012, Tour chief Adam Helfant announced at the season-ending championships on Sunday.

The changes were agreed at an ATP board meeting on Saturday after players campaigned for a longer off-season than the current five-week breather they get from the grueling circuit.

“Our 2012 and 2013 calendars each provide for the seven-week offseason, meaning that our players will have an additional two weeks to spend away from the rigors of life on tour before taking up the cause again in the following year,” Helfant told reporters.

The main bone of contention, and a possible headache for the ATP, will be the end-of-season showpiece will start on Nov. 5 in 2012, immediately after the Paris Masters. This means the world’s top eight will no longer have a week in between to prepare for the lucrative event.

The new calendar will mean certain tournaments have been re-scheduled, although the amount of events will remain unchanged, former Nike executive Helfant said.

“I’ve been open about the fact that we recognize our offseason is too short,” Helfant said. “That is, that we have a problem. Our players do not have adequate time to rest, work on their fitness and work on their game during our off-season. I have acknowledged that it is our responsibility as the governing body of the tour to see if we can find a way to address this issue, which arguably has been one of the biggest issues confronting our sport.”

Helfant said that no decision had been taken by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on the date of the Davis Cup final which is traditionally held the week after the Tour Finals.

“We’ve talked to the ITF, as we’ve talked to the WTA and others in the tennis family,” he said. “It’s really up to the ITF to decide what they want to do. [Moving it] seems like a sensible thing to do, however.”

The changes will please the likes of Andy Roddick and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who have both spoken openly about the need for a longer off-season.

Players on the women’s tour already enjoy an extended break as their season-ending WTA Championships took place in the final week of October.

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