Google Down the Line!: THE LOW DOWN: Rafa's frustrated with March Madness and he's not gonna take it anymore!

Monday, April 7, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Rafa's frustrated with March Madness and he's not gonna take it anymore!

Miami finalist Rafael Nadal isn't happy - and it's not because he lost a winnable final to Nikolay Davydenko. The World No. 2, who recently blogged about his annoyance with doubles policies, thinks the March US hardcourt swing is too tightly scheduled and compromises the success at the tourneys for many European players, including himself.

After Rafa dismissed nemesis Tomas Berdych on Friday he told the press,

It's not fair to have one month, two tournaments, and after go back to Europe and we have to play three Masters Series on clay. We only have three Masters Series (Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg) during all the season, and we have three in four weeks. For us it's terrible. And three Masters Series in the middle of the biggest tournament on clay in the world: Barcelona. So if you see the calendar, that is unbelievable.
And what does the 21-year old blame for the 'unbelievable' scheduling in his mind?
I know here it's very important, the college basketball, because I saw always the American players and the men in the locker room watching always this. But, we can't have the (ATP) thinking about the college basketball, no? So we are 100 per cent disappointed about this (scheduling) decision of the ATP.
According to Rafa, he's not the only baller feeling this way either:
European players are very angry about these decisions. For me it's terrible. I'm a clay player, but I can play very well on all surface. But playing four weeks it's impossible if you are playing well.
Me thinks Rafa doth complain too much. A baller can be successful at both tournaments and sometimes win the Indian Wells-Miami double, though it's rare. But the same argument could be made for American ballers and their love for the European clay-court swing, including Roland Garros, and then the grass-court warm-ups leading to Wimbledon. If you throw a Davis Cup match on foreign soil in the mix, which falls right after Wimby, you're screwed.

I believe the schedule is too long in general, but the it effects everyone in one way or another. That's the way the yellow ball bounces so suck it up.

(image via AP Photo/Alan Diaz)


  1. Is Rafa just upset because he didn't win his bracket pool? Damn that Stephen Curry, he ruined brackets for (almost) everyone!

    For serious though, I know tennis players aren't the sanest of people, but where did his whole March Madness-ATP scheduling connection come from?

  2. i'm not sure ellie. you would think they would want to avoid college basketball season instead of compete.

    i think rafa's just frustrated about not winning a title yet this year and getting beaten by someone he shouldn't lose to.

    davydenko is a solid player but c'mon!

  3. You would think that, but they're not really competing anyway. The NCAA has a ridiculous contract with CBS for the tournament whilst the ATP & WTA have a contract with the woeful Fox Sports for Indian Wells and Miami. Network and cable sports just can't compete with each other - look at the drop in ratings for Monday Night Football when they moved from NBC to ESPN.

    Totally agree that he's just getting a little frustrated not winning yet and losing to some people he shouldn't be, but at least he can console himself with the idea that Roger hasn't had a win and has had some inexplicable losses too. And I can see how someone can become frustrated with the 3+ weeks of media bombardment and obsessiveness of viewers that comes with the NCAAs (after that Saturday games I'm with those who are bored/frustrated with it myself) but that still doesn't take away from his amusingly odd statement.

  4. there seems to be some frustration about having to be in the US for such a long period of time also. i think the noise and distraction that comes with US sporting events bothers him.

    he doesn't perform particularly well here besides at Indian Wells where, from what i've heard and read since i've never been there, it's more serene and slower paced.

    maybe that's what he really wants to say...

  5. I went to the Indian Wells tourney this year and it is definitely a lot more laid back than I thought it would be, considering it's one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world.

    I agree that Rafa just seems frustrated at not having won yet. Then again it always seems that when there is something to complain about, Rafa is usually on the front lines doing the complaining.

  6. From what I understand, Indian Wells and Miami were pushed forward in the calendar this year so that CBS could show the Miami finals without affecting their NCAA coverage. This has a knock on effect for the clay court season.

    To me (a non American) it seems insane that the ATP have messed up the tennis calendar like this to accomodate US tv coverage of a US college basketball event.

  7. Now, I have some complaining to do.

    There were changes in the schedule which compressed the clay season, and it takes little poking around on the internet to find this out.

    Further, the interview happened before the loss to Davydenko, in the middle of a very fine tournament for Rafael Nadal...interview transcriptotherwise it would have been an interesting point you made - that he's just mad about losing :)

    A little more research, my dear Blogger. I'm watching ;)

    P.S. I think it's fortunate for tennis that he speaks up.

  8. No worries T - it's good we all speak up.

    Clearly I'm not the only one who was questioning his comments. I never claim to be an expert, only a fan with a forum to bring up one perspective.

    The blog is an open forum. As far as my opinions and "lack of research" take it or leave it.

  9. To those saying the ATP moved the schedule around on Indian Wells and Miami, for what it's worth, both tournaments were played at the same time last year (2007 Indian Wells: March 5-18; 2008 Indian Wells: March 10-23; 2007 Miami: March 21- April 1; 2008 Miami: March 24-April 6). In perspective we're talking about 5 days either way, it's not like we're talking about a week or two or three.

    If the 5 day discrepancy - if you want to argue about it - was caused by the NCAAs then it's a money thing not only for the network but for the sporting organizations involved. The NCAA draws a lot of attention, huge contracts, and a lot of advertising revenue, but at the same time CBS also paid a lot of money for the rights to show the finals of Miami, etc. so they want to capitalize on the revenue potential for that - why not show it on a Sunday when there is nothing else but golf, one or two NBA games and an early season baseball game on at the same time? It's better for the network's ratings, which in turn is better for tennis. If tennis TV contracts can demand more money the ATP and WTA benefit from more lucrative contracts and those contracts in turn increases the prize money available to players. And, sure, for the top tier players on tour it is all about winning and not the money per se, but for many of them it is about earning a living doing what they love to do, so the more money available the better. It's just business and that is ultimately what professional sports are all about.

    And, yep, Indian Wells is usually laid back - I didn't go this year but the two previous years.


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