Google Down the Line!: THE LOW DOWN: Ana + Aggie speak out on Roadmap 2010, big concerns over mandatory tourneys still linger

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

THE LOW DOWN: Ana + Aggie speak out on Roadmap 2010, big concerns over mandatory tourneys still linger

Ana Ivanovic + Agnieszka Radwanska have followed Dinara Safina's lead and come out publicly against the scheduling changes in the WTA Tour's Roadmap 2010.

Both lady ballers, who are competing this week in Linz, sounded off against the increase in mandatory events for top ballers. Here are the highlights from the Roadmap:

* 40% increase in prize money from $63.6 million in 2006 to $84.4 million
* 26 Tier I + II tourneys will be combined into 20 Premiere tourneys with a minimum baller commitment of 10 that they will play
* Four $4.5 million tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing will be mandatory for all players who qualify
* Five $2 million stops in Canada, Dubai, Rome, Cincinnati and Tokyo of which the top-ranked players must play at least four. The WTA must have at least seven of the world's top 10 ballers at each of these events.
* Ballers will complete their schedules by playing in at least one or two $700,000 events
* Zero tolerance for withdrawals from tournaments ballers have committed to playing. If a baller does pull out, even because of injury, she will forfeit bonus money ($5 million available to the top 10 ranked players) and receive zero ranking points for that event

Based on these new rules, each top lady baller must play a minimum of 24 events, which includes the four majors. Ouch.

The French Open champ admitted the lady ballers "probably didn't look deep into it and kind of let it go" because the Roadmap was announced during the height of Grand Slam season and they would "have to talk more between us":

I do believe it's going to be a lot of tournaments we have to commit to and it's maybe going to be a little bit harder in that sense. We don't have much opportunity to choose, and at the end of the day it might be that we play more matches than we did in previous years.

I think it's good that tournaments will have guaranteed players and week after week have top players competing against each other. I think that's good for women's tennis. But on us individually it's tough to say what impact it's going to have.

Aggie was more aggressive in her stance against the changes telling the press,

After the new rules with the WTA I don't want to be top 10 because the rules are so bad and everything is for the WTA. I cannot play the small tournaments and it's quite bad. I hate these rules. I can play just two small tournaments a year.
We're all saying this, but the WTA is doing everything for themselves, for the sponsors, but they don't realise we have to choose where we want to play and not want to play.
Uh-oh. Now that the lady ballers have actually had time to mull over the new schedule they're none too pleased. As I mentioned previously, a meeting of the top ladies is desperately in order here and there's no time like Doha to make that happen.

I agree with Ana that the timing of the Roadmap announcement wasn't ideal and it didn't give the ballers time to digest the changes and make recommendations. Moreover, the decision by the WTA to launch the "2010" Roadmap in 2009 is idiotic and robs these ballers of more time to voice their concerns. But my gut tells me that's what the Tour wanted - to fast forward the launch to force feed the changes before the ladies could do anything about it. Not the best way to build bridges.

I can see why they feel the need to just speak out whenever they can and to whomever is listening because, clearly, the WTA is not.

(images via AP, Getty)


  1. Good gravy Marie!
    Rich, why don't you see if you can get appointed head of WTA, straighten out this mess, and then get me Rafa's unlisted number. :D

  2. Man, Ana's English has really improved. Quite the articulate little bugger.

    The top baller silence after the Roadmap was announced was odd and I took that to mean that they had approved of what was going on. Clearly I was wrong.

    You got a hot mess brewing, Mr. Scott.

  3. Or a men's locker room cam!

    Seriously, 24 tournaments? That would be crazy. Looking at the top 10 just now, there is only one player - Zvonereva - who has played 24 this year, and for the others there are only 2 others that could get to 24. The rest couldn't even get close.

  4. Most of the top players don't come even close to 24 tournaments. I expect this to be a fiasco as Maria Sharapova's photoshoot debacle proved. Most plyers if they don't want to play won't play; they'll either fake an injury or take the fine. In the long run 24 tournaments plus majors is bad for the tour since everyone will be too injured or mentally fatigued to play. I wouldn't be surprised if the roadmap led to more early retirements like Kim and Justine.

    PS OMG I would kill for that locker room camera

  5. This is ridiculous.Can someone takeover from Scott? clearly he can't manage.

    Now i can imagine Maria Sharapova trying to play 24 tourneys and still make time for fotoshoots and appearances at her long list of endorsement deals.Or the Williams sisters suddenly having to play 24 tourneys?

    i'm just hoping this mess doesn't blow too much out of proportion bcoz WTA definitely doesn't need that especially right now.

  6. "In the long run 24 tournaments plus majors is bad for the tour since everyone will be too injured or mentally fatigued to play."

    - Sara, the 24 tourneys include the majors. sorry if that wasn't clear in the post. it's still way too many but I wanted to just clear that one up.

  7. Huh. My first take when I skimmed the roadmap that of the 10 premium tournaments they must play, 4 of those are the mandatory ones, another 4 from the $2 million tournaments, and 2 others - for a total of 14 with the GSs. I can't believe it would 24 total - even JJ would balk at that. Well, maybe.

    Either way, looks like more work needs to be done to get everyone on board.

  8. Hi... I agree with cms... the premier events include those in Madrid, Miami, Indian Wells and Beijing, as weel as those $2 mill tourneys (check the calendar)... I think the confussion starts with the explanation of the rules, since they are not very clear...

  9. cms: Ahh - if the 10 mandatory "Premiere" tourneys included the 4 $4.5 million required tourneys that makes more sense. It's still a lot to try to make them play but it's certainly much better than 24.

    The rules are very confusing.

  10. haha, u did som baaaaad reaserch man! u should look tihings up before u wright about them :S

  11. anon: wow, very insightful comment. and by the way you can't spell - are you and Serena related? is that your Serena??

  12. So confusing. You'd think they would at least want their players to understand, let alone everyone else. I find the launch move from 2010 to 2009 very curious as well.

    (By the way, love your blog - it's totally entertaining!)

  13. Yes, rich, you make my world a better place. big kiss.
    24 tourneys = A LOT, if you're playing well and deep into the tourneys. Ask Rafa what 3 tourneys a month feels like.
    Why would WTA want to repeat ATP mistakes with annoying the players?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...