SBD/Issue 144/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Talking Tennis: De Villiers Looks To Quell Player Uprising

De Villiers Meets With Players
To Discuss ATP Changes

ATP President Etienne De Villiers this week in Monte Carlo talked with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya and Player Council President Ivan Ljubicic in an effort to “check the players’ rebellion” over “plans to change the schedule of tournaments from the 2009 season and onwards,” according to Mark Hodgkinson of the London TELEGRAPH. De Villiers is believed to have told them that “he may look again at some” of the changes, including the downgrading of Masters events in Monte Carlo and Hamburg. de Villiers “had not originally planned to travel to Monte Carlo so early in the week,” but he did so after Federer and Nadal “went public this week with the locker-room grievances.” The players claimed De Villiers “had not listened to their views before drawing” up the schedule changes (TELEGRAPH, 4/19).

LEAD BY EXAMPLE: Tennis coach Brad Gilbert offers three reasons why pro tennis needs a full-time commissioner. No. 1: “The sport needs one voice. There are too many governing bodies. We’ve got the ATP, WTA, USTA, and ITF, and each entity has its own turf to protect.” No. 2: “It’ll put the fear of God in players.” No. 3: “It’d help the financial well-being of the sport” (TENNIS, 4/ ’07 issue).

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