ATP ace urges rethink of tennis scheduling to stop ‘pushing’ players to exhaustion
Emil Ruusuvouri has called on the ATP consider tennis scheduling changes to players feeling ‘pushed’ into playing too many tournaments.
Scheduling in tennis is a hot topic right now in both the men’s and the women’s games. Key WTA figures, including world number one Iga Swiatek and Paula Badosa, have spoken out against plans to up the number of mandatory tournaments they must play a year.
Meanwhile, ATP stars have pleaded for a change in the ball policy with Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev among others saying changing ball manufacturers for almost every tournament is causing too many injuries.
Ruusuvouri says he is concerned about both, and makes the point that players are often compelled to play tournaments when they should be resting, and the ever-changing conditions are putting extra strain on their bodies when they do.
“The amount of travel and playing time with a ranking like mine, that’s how this sport works,” he told Punto de Break.
“Only Novak Djokovic can play ten tournaments a year and be number one. For the rest of us things are not so simple.
“We have to play a lot because there are many results that count, 19. The trips, the balls, all that influences you.
“Everyone says they would like to play less, but we end up playing almost every week. This is how we have to do it, that’s what the circuit pushes us to do.
“What I can guarantee you 100% is that it doesn’t help at all that we are constantly changing conditions.
“I also have to take a look at my schedule with the team, put together a schedule in which I can play two weeks with the same ball, because if you change every week, you are taking too much risk.”
Why is tennis scheduling so difficult to fix?
Tennis players find the Tours so exhausting mainly due to the fact that it is a global sport. There are certain points in the year, such as the beginning of the season in Australia, when tournaments are generally localised, but they are few and far between.
Generally speaking, tournaments are dotted around in different countries and require a lot of travel to go from one to the other, and the more tournaments players play the better chance they have of building their ranking.
It is difficult to see how that can ever change, but what can happen, and what players are asking for, are changes to minimise the disruption to players.
Reducing the number of ball changes from tournament to tournament would be one way of doing it, as would looking at ways of making sure players do not lose out in the rankings if they miss tournaments to get adequate rest.
However, given that tennis decisions have been primarily commercially motivated in the modern era, few will be expecting any real tangible change any time soon.
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