The Women’s Tennis Association is clearly troubled by the injuries and disaffection that have plagued the tour in the last few years, and yesterday they announced a plan to do something about it.
In a “roadmap,” the WTA announced that the amount of required tournaments will be scaled back from 12 to 10 (in addition to the four Grand Slams), and if players decide to skip out any of them, they risk suspension. The season will be shorter, the court surface transitions (hard court to clay to grass to hard court) will be smoothed out to reduce jarring changes from one tournament to another.
This is clearly an attempt to prevent everything that went so wrong for women’s tennis in this U.S. Open.
Injuries: Maria Sharapova isn’t playing due to a bum shoulder.
A taxing schedule: ’05 and ’07 champs Kim Clijusters and Justine Henin retired because they said they were burnt out.
An unjust No. 1 seed: If Venus and Serena play every tournament, and win, they’ll be No. 1 and No. 2. Right now, it’s Ana Ivanovic, who has been bounced very early in two consecutive Grand Slams.
Lack of commitment: Players like Venus and Serena show up when they want to, and Maria Sharapova, who is injured, brags that she won’t watch any of the Open because she needs to work on other “projects.”
Even though Serena vowed last night that she would be the No. 1 player in the world again, when asked last night at a press conference about the changes, she rolled her eyes.
“I think there are areas that, you know, or reasons that a player doesn’t have to go and not be suspended,” she said.