SBD/Issue 51/Leagues & Governing Bodies

ATP World Tour BOD Approves Extended Offseason Beginning In '12

Helfant Announces Extended Offseason
For ATP World Tour Beginning In '12

ATP World Tour Exec Chair & President Adam Helfant yesterday announced that the tour has approved the extension of its offseason to seven weeks, starting in '12. The ATP BOD approved the increased break for the '12 and '13 ATP World Tour calendars at its London meetings held in conjunction with the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (ATP). The AP noted the move extends the offseason in men's tennis "from five to seven weeks ... without reducing the number of tournaments." The seasons "will end sooner in 2012 and '13 with the rescheduling of four late-season events along with the removal of the off-week between the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals." This year's ATP Finals started yesterday, but in '12, the event will begin on Nov. 5 (AP, 11/21). ATPer Andy Murray said, "We've been trying for a few years to make clear that it's too short an off-season. I hope this will make a difference." Roger Federer also "backed the changes." However, he wondered, "Will we have less or more injuries because the calendar is more packed? I don't know" (BBC.co.uk, 11/21).

TAKING CARE OF MATTERS THEMSELVES: In N.Y., Christopher Clarey reported Helfant "decided that the ATP should act on its own by juggling events it controls without demanding cuts from the other big power brokers in exchange." Helfant: "We've decided to try to do what's in the best interests of the sport but be practical about it. So we haven't gone to the Grand Slams and asked anyone to move. We haven't gone to the ITF and asked them to move the Davis Cup." Helfant added, "Nobody else has the calendar that tennis players have. When the NFL goes overseas or the NBA goes overseas, they try to block out the time in a way where players can perform not only when they're over there but that when they come back, they're not shot. Our guys have just had to get used to it." Clarey wrote, "This is no revolution. The tentative plan is not to eliminate tournaments but rather to shuffle dates in the period after the United States Open by pushing the same tournaments into fewer weeks or into a different part of the season. But this is still significant evolution" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/21).

GAMBLING WOES: In N.Y., Joe Drape reported when the ATP in '07 "began a crackdown on gambling and disciplined five lower-ranked Italian players for making bets on matches, it knew that gambling accounts were maintained in the names of some of its top-ranked players, who bet on matches, and did not take any action, according to evidence revealed in a federal lawsuit." Attorney Robert Elgidely, who represents players who were fined and suspended for gambling, said, "They went after the low-hanging fruit that would not impact their bottom line. In the course of discovery, the ATP produced documents that reflected the maintenance of gambling accounts by high-ranked players. I am prohibited by a confidentiality agreement to disclose those names to third parties and even my clients." The ATP, "citing the court's confidentiality order, declined to comment" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/20).

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