Having tennis back is absolutely incredible for us fans.
A problem for players though is a lack of events. Tennis has come back but it feels like we are losing more events. Some players may not be keen on some travelling and that’s acceptable but could more have been put in place for players a little closer to home?
I think the ATP missed a trick not looking at more European based events in early August for those not willing to travel instead they tied players hands. Restarting three weeks after the WTA with no European events on the main circuit
Since the restart of tennis we have lost all events in China and Japan, Washington and Madrid and it wouldn’t be surprising if we lose more.
For the top players it isn’t a big problem because they will pretty much get first choice but for players outside the top 60 in the world options outside of the Grand Slams opportunities on the main circuit will be tough to come by.
Excluding the Grand Slam tournaments there are eight weeks of tournaments and ten events on the ATP Tour where as on the WTA Tour there are nine/ten weeks of tournaments and eleven events since tennis resumed in early August.
This is good for Tennis a lot of these events are high profile events so does bring a problem for lower ranked players to build ranking and prize money.
Obviously there are some events that could not be played but surely options could have been addressed. After Roland Garros there are weeks of events at 250 or 500 level but the sign ups could be crazy!
The ATP have had a reshuffle with Madrid cancelled moving Rome into it’s slot and the week before Roland Garros will be the usual ATP 500 event in Hamburg. Unfortunately for tennis which may put players off going to Hamburg is that Roland Garros are still insisting on opening play on the Sunday which is the Hamburg final so the finalists might have to play Tuesday at Roland Garros.
We will see a lot of top 100 players dropping down to sign up to play some challenger events over the coming weeks and months with Wawrinka in Prague which is the right decision for him but at the same time it bumps someone lower ranked further down the line which is not his fault but the situation we are in.
Even on the ATP Challenger tour there are only seven weeks of tournaments left to play and it could leave some players hopes of playing in a tricky situation and may have to drop to ITF level.
After Roland Garros in early October there could just be one WTA event left on the calendar in Moscow in early November, it’s going to be a fight for players to get matches in.
ATP Kitzbuhel which is running in the second week of the US Open usually has around 60 players sign up as alternates on a yearly basis. Despite a 32% decrease in prize money there have been 206 players sign up as an alternate as far low as a player ranked outside the top 350 in the world.
Borna Coric is the first alternate and Alessandro Bago down at 353 is in too as well as just over 50 of the top 100 on the alternates list.
Having tennis back is good but a limited calendar will continue to be a problem throughout the remainder of 2020 and maybe in 2021.
I’m pleased to have tennis back but just because it is it doesn’t mean players are now sorted especially lower ranked players who have struggle to bring in income and it will be tough until a full calendar is back on schedule.