A game for the seasons
Posted by North
Q: I have heard a number of players in interviews speak of wishing the season was shorter to decrease the number of injuries. Would this even be feasible? Has it ever been considered?
A: This is an issue which usually arises either at the end of the season or at the beginning of the new year as players return to the circuit and the first Grand Slam of the year all too soon from the holidays. It is also one of those debates where it is difficult to satisfy all players. For those who regularly play deep into tournaments and qualify for the Tennis Masters Cup or Davis Cup final, playing into December makes it tough to be ready mentally and physically for the Australian Open a month later. For lower ranked players who may not have played as many matches throughout the year, they are still looking for playing opportunities in November and December.
From a calendar perspective, the fall schedule is already compressed as much as possible. The Asian swing is limited to 3 weeks and six very high level indoor events have been squeezed into two weeks (Moscow, Stockholm and Vienna in one; Basel, St. Petersburg and Lyon in the other). These are tournaments which deserve, at the very least, to share their week with only one other event.
We also need to be careful not to fall into the trap of comparing tennis' off-season to those of other sports. While in team sports you play your team's schedule, tennis players can, to some extent, pick and chose what events to play and when to take time off. The individual nature of the sport allows them the freedom to follow their own schedule and create their own personal "mini off-seasons" or breaks throughout the year.