SBD/June 27, 2012/Events and Attractions

Wimbledon May Push Back Start Date By One Week

Schedule change would give players more time to adjust to Wimbledon's grass surface
Wimbledon is "considering a calendar change that would have the tournament begin three weeks after the French Open instead of two, and top players like the idea," according to Steven Wine of the AP. All England Lawn Tennis Club CEO Richard Lewis said that the proposed switch "has appeal because it would give players more opportunity to adjust to grass after the clay season ends with the French Open." Players have "long lobbied for more time between the French Open and Wimbledon." No. 1-ranked player Novak Djokovic said, "It would give especially the top players a little bit more time to get used to the surface. Logically speaking, it is the slowest surface that we're talking about -- clay -- moving to the fastest one, which takes time. Over the years we all had to adjust. We will try to find a better solution." The "earliest the change could take place" is '14 (AP, 6/26). Lewis said, "We are seriously considering it. It's often been discussed and it would be ideal to have a longer break. It would be three weeks, ideally, between the French Open and Wimbledon." He added, "We think that more time on the softer surface of grass is something that the players will definitely welcome. And they will welcome the rest and recuperation they can get between playing an intense tournament at Roland Garros and coming to Wimbledon" (BBC, 6/25). YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase noted if the AELTC "makes the move, the men's final would be held between July 9 and July 15." This would "be a welcome move by American tennis fans, who oftentimes have to deal with men's and women's finals that happen over July 4th weekend" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 6/25).

NOT CREATED EQUAL: In N.Y., Christopher Clarey noted French tennis player Gilles Simon, who was recently elected to the ATP Player Council, "told French reporters on Monday that he was opposed to women receiving equal prize money as men." Simon said, "I think that men's tennis is really ahead of women's tennis at this stage. Once more, the men spent surely twice as much time on court as the women at the French Open. We often talk about salary equality. I don't think it's something that works in sport. I think we are the only sport that has parity with the women in terms of prize money. Meanwhile, men's tennis remains more attractive than women's tennis at this moment" (NYTIMES.com, 6/26).

SOUNDING OFF: With the WTA announcing plans to reduce grunting during play, ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said women’s tennis is "about to get a little quieter.” ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said grunting "is awful” and that it has "become a plague" since former player Monica Seles became the first high-profile grunter. Kornheiser: “You can win without grunting. ... They ought to put this in right now, start deducting points (and) nobody would do it.” Wilbon said, “It was sort of cool when it was only Monica. ... Now, every little two-fisted pixie is grunting her brains out” (“PTI,” ESPN, 6/26).

LONDON INK: ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos noted the buzz at Wimbledon is "about something new this year,” as several female tennis players competing are sporting visible tattoos. Stephanopoulos: “Wimbledon rules stipulate that players dress in white, but for now at least, they are silent about tattoos” (“World News,” ABC, 6/26).
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