In the past year or so, we've been hearing increasing grumbling about the schedule and requirements for top players. The ATP tweaked some of the lower-level requirements to offer more flexibility as far as what counts in your ranking. (Instead of a certain number of required 250 and 500 tournaments, it's more of a "best of the rest" catch-all with those tournaments, Olympics and Davis Cup play, at least from what I've gleaned from posts here). No (right-minded) tennis fan would tinker too much with the Grand Slams. That leaves the Masters as the most obvious place for change. My first question to you: Does it need to be changed? I think it's pretty much fine the way it is. The only thing glaring is Monte Carlo, which is worth the same as the other Masters but not required, like some odd middle ground. I say make it a mandatory Masters tournament like the others or demote it to a 500. I don't put too much weight into the complaints about the schedule, but I'd be open to fixes if there were ways to improve the series. The top pros would have more flexibility with their schedules, but I'd get something in return as a fan. Here are a few things I would like to see: 1. Grass courts represented (Wimbledon is arguably the most prestigious tournament, but the next level on grass is a lowly 250). 2. More top players in doubles. Right now, they tend to only play doubles at Indian Wells because of its length. I think it would bring more interest to the doubles and also open the door to some interesting pairings (maybe Roger and Rafa will finally team up against Novak and Andy). 3. More entertainment and personality. One of my favorite things in the past couple of years was that charity exhibition for Haiti (?) at the Australian Open with fun team pairings and mikes on the court. You get to see another side of your favorite player. 4. Different names in finals. Loosen the big 4's grip by offering opportunities for them to take a break from singles. Let's see a Tsonga, Del Potro or Ferrer in some of these finals. So, with those in mind, here's what I'd do. 1. Offer 10 Masters tournaments, but players could play only half if they met all the exemptions. 2. There would be five pairs of Master's that are back-to-back and spread throughout the year, with the idea being they go from slow early in the year to fast later in the year (similar to what we have now). Players would be required to play in at least one of the pairs; this way someone who was clay-averse couldn't choose to skip out on those two tournaments without some penalty, for example. --Early spring: Slow hard courts. Indian Wells and Miami stay the same --Late spring: Clay. Rome and Madrid. Monte Carlo becomes a 500 tournament. --Early summer: Grass. Spreading out the grass season a bit, Queens and Halle become masters, and perhaps they add another 250 or 500 in there, too. --Late summer: Fast hard courts. Canada and Cinci. Keep these hard courts faster than Miami/IW. --Fall: Fast indoor courts. Paris and Shanghai. Create a court similar to Paris in Shanghai or somewhere else on the Asian swing. 3. Players could bow out of one of each of these pairings. They could decide to play them all for esteem and points; but if they do, they have no right to complain about schedule. Here are the five exemptions they could use: --One get-out-of-jail-free card. Skip whatever you like. --Play one tournament in doubles instead of singles. Much less stressful, but it has the benefits of bringing attention to doubles, offering interesting pairing potential, allowing players a chance to hone net skills they rarely practice and giving tournaments another selling point. --Play one tournament in an exhibition match. Again, it's low-stress and gives the tournaments a chance to sell tickets for big names. Maybe half the proceeds go to players' charities. The idea would be each tournament would have a big opening night before play starts the next day showcasing those of the top 32 who chose to take part. A great way to show off tennis personalities. Maybe they get one of the players to offer commentary in the booth and allow another to be the umpire. --Play one tournament in mixed doubles (when available). Top 10 players could choose to do a second exhibition to offer star power to the tournaments. --Earned exemption. Similar to what they have now, but only allowing one exemption a year for any of these: 10 years on tour; 500 matches played; 30 years of age; or 50 match wins the previous year. BONUS: World Tour Finals. Make it a two-week event. The real Super Bowl of tennis, with extra money and points (2,500 to make it the single greatest prize). Expand the pool to 16. Everyone who wins a major or Masters would be invited, then the rest of the pool would be decided by ranking. Could add some needed year-end drama and excitement. How would you change the Masters, if at all?