View Full Version : Blake, Roddick take issue with Federer and Nadal over ATP tour reforms

05-07-2007, 04:38 AM
Interesting article, especially Blake's point of view.


Blake, Roddick take issue with Federer and Nadal over ATP tour reforms
5/6/2007 4:34:00 PM

ROME (AP) -James Blake and Andy Roddick have taken exception to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's defense of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Last month, Federer and Nadal held a press conference in Monte Carlo to declare that the ATP is moving too fast with its plan to restructure the 2009 calendar.

The ATP wants to trim the Masters schedule from nine to eight tournaments by cutting Monte Carlo and Hamburg and adding Shanghai.

``I agree the tour does need to listen to it's players but I think we need to do that behind closed doors instead of just airing it out in front of everyone,'' Blake said Sunday on the eve of the Rome Masters.

Both Monte Carlo and Hamburg, which like Rome are two of the main clay court warm-ups for the French Open, would remain on the tour but no longer with Masters status. They are both suing the ATP.

``If it gets to a desperation point then maybe we have to use the media and get your point out that way,'' Blake said. ``But I really don't think we're at that desperation point yet, especially since we're dealing with the 2009 calendar.''

The Masters Series events are the most important tennis tournaments on the men's tour outside the four Grand Slams.

Federer, Nadal, Nikolay Davydenko and Tommy Robredo are among the players who have signed a petition opposing the ATP reform proposals.

``Some players, myself included, don't have the same education and background as some of these tour managers or player representatives or the board members that have the job to do that,'' Blake said. ``We have to trust them because we've elected them. We have to voice our opinions, there's nothing wrong with that, but we also have to understand that some people might have better ideas and better business savvy.''

Blake spent two years at Harvard before turning professional.

``James is very important for us because he's a very smart guy,'' Federer said. ``He thinks about something very clearly before he says something. It's important that ... all players agree to a point. We talk a lot and I agree that it should be done internally in the end.''

Neither Blake nor Roddick played at Monte Carlo this year.

``What no one is talking about is the finances of it,'' Roddick said. ``This is not a knock on (Monte Carlo). The tournament is amazing, they run it great, the players love it. It's the most beautiful stadium we have.

``But if you get 70,000 people a week in Monte Carlo and then if you have a place like Cincinnati, it may be a little further out and a lot of Europeans don't like going there, but if the attendance is 180,000 and you're looking at it as a business model and who brings in the most revenue, when it's time to make cuts, that person is going to get cut.''

Roddick said ATP president Etienne de Villiers was in ``an unenviable position.''

``When no changes are made in tennis everybody screams, then when changes start being made everybody screams,'' Roddick said. ``Each one of us is going to have opinions mostly because of how it affects us on a selfish level. For us to be able to look at it objectively, I don't know if that's possible.''

Nadal arrived Saturday in Rome, feeling fit and coming off two straight clay court titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona - both without dropping a set.

``I am fresher for sure. I've been on court less,'' said Nadal, who holds a 72-match winning streak on clay that stretches back to April 2005.

If he reaches the final this week, Nadal will eclipse John McEnroe's streak of 75 wins on indoor-carpet and establish the longest run on any surface.

``I'm going to try. Every week they find another record,'' Nadal said.

In 2005, Nadal beat Guillermo Coria here in the longest final in the Open Era - 5 hours, 14 minutes. If he wins again, he'll join Thomas Muster and Jaroslav Drobny - a Czech player in the 1950s - as the only three-time Rome champions, although he would become the first to take three titles in succession.

Third-seeded Roddick is back on tour for the first time since injuring his hamstring in a Davis Cup win over Spain's Fernando Verdasco last month.

``It's nice to be back on tour and healthy again. I haven't felt it since, so that's a really good thing,'' said Roddick, who won't be joined by coach Jimmy Connors until the French Open, which begins May 27.

Aykhan Mammadov
05-07-2007, 10:30 AM
James Blake ? He never won single Masters. He must keep silence and never express his thoughts against leading tennis players.

Similar to the education of ATP managers he must recognise that his tennis is also much worser than of leading players. How can he make statements about Masters if he never win single Masters ?

FO, Monte-Carlo are traditional places for the world tennis and world culture. How can u cancel their Masters status and give such a status to newcomer Shangai ? It would be better to add some, not exchange.

Europians' opinion and Americans' opinion always will be different because Americans are new nation and so they are not conseravtive enough.

Aykhan Mammadov
05-07-2007, 10:32 AM
Mistype. "Conservative".

05-07-2007, 01:07 PM
As a dues paying member of the ATP James Blake has as much right to voice his opinion on matters concerning his career as Nadal or Federer. As does the ATP player ranked 100 places behind him. Skill on the tennis court does not always translate to success/savvy in the boardroom or business world. (i.e. Borg). Discounting someone's opinion because of skill level is no less discriminating than discounting it because of the social-economic strata in which they were brought up.

05-07-2007, 01:34 PM
Business savvy does not always translate well into a good understanding of the sport either. That much was rather obvious when De Villiers had to admit that he didn't understand the full implications of his intervention during the Las Vegas tournament.

I have no problem at all with Blake giving his opinion but if he wants to criticize Federer and Nadal for going public with their opinions, he might as well not be a hypocrite about it and tell that to Federer and Nadal in private instead of going public with it.

05-07-2007, 02:04 PM
Agreed. You got a problem with someone deal with it face to face, if possible. And don't infere from Blake attending Harvard that he is any more/less intelligent than any other pro. I will say that James Blake seems to be a very upstanding and honest individual who was brought up well.

Aykhan Mammadov
05-08-2007, 02:05 PM
Maybe, Blake is honest and good man. Peharps. But obviously his influence to tennis as to sport and even as business is much-much less than of Fed or Nadal.

It is obvious that from financial point of view it would be better to transfer 4-th slam from small Australia say to Germany or maybe even to China. So what - to break traditions ? IMHO sportsmen in the first order shoul defend sport and its traditions not business.