When the ATP brought out their updated calendar in mid-June it came with a certain term and condition which ultimately has tied the top players hands behind their backs.
On the ATP’s release in June regarding top 10 players, the US Open and Kitzbuhel it said:
The revised calendar includes the Generali Open, an ATP 250 event in Kitzbühel, which coincides with the second week of the US Open. Top 10 singles players will not be eligible to compete in Kitzbühel unless they have played, and already lost, at the US Open.
Top ten players who may be unsure of heading to the USA and would like to kick off their return on clay court tennis won’t be able to play until Madrid which begins a month later than the restart.
We don’t obviously know if/what any isolation rules will be in place travelling from USA to Europe but it just doesn’t seem fair.
If you have no intention of playing at the US Open then you have no intention of going to the USA for Washington and of course Cincinnati which is being played at the US Open site at Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic and Nadal have cast doubt but won’t be able to play until Madrid if they don’t go to New York. It is similar for Dominic Thiem as well who would have to travel to US Open and lose to play at his home event in Kitzbuhel, something that means a lot to him.
This unfairness in dictating the players scheduling has now been contradicted by their statement and changes regarding rankings.
The changes made by the ATP to rankings where no one will lose points but can only pick up points if they better their previous result at an event have been done to:
• Provide flexibility & fairness to players across all levels in parallel with the condensed number of points available as part of the revised provisional 2020 calendar.
• Provide stability for players who cannot or prefer not to compete in 2020 due to health & safety.
These are the first two “key objectives” they list on their website…
Are they providing flexibility? Fairness to players in all levels? Stability for players who prefer not to travel?
The ATP have told top 10 players they can’t skip US Open (and essential Cincinnati) and play Kitzbuhel. They can’t make the choice they want and be able to play where they want.
If they don’t want to play in USA they aren’t allowed to play for a month… all of this whilst being flexible and fair apparently…
The WTA also has a tournament on clay in Istanbul which begins in the second week of the US Open (same as Kitzbuhel) but they have no written rule that says players cannot skip US Open and play Istanbul.