It’s always fun to imagine being head of the ATP, so if you’re listening Brad Drewett, here’s my 2 cents!
1. Longer Grass Court Season
Confined to a 4 week period, grass court tennis is a welcome break from the never-ending clay court grind and grinders. You could play under a roof to protect the grass and not have to worry about only having the summer months. The rankings would be more interesting with serve-volley players, doubles specialists and older players most likely doing well. For some people, especially in Britain, tennis does not exist at other times of the year so there’s a market right there.
2. A Shorter Season or Better Schedule
We love tennis but with all the injuries many of the top players have to skip events to avoid injury. Obviously, there are hundreds of players that need to make a living from constant playing, but look at how Nadal’s 2012 season went. At only 26, the amount he plays and of course wins, has taken it’s told. Many will point to Federer as the rule but I think he’s the exception.
3. More Ranking Points for Davis Cup
Davis Cup continues to bring out some of the most exciting tennis during the season, but too few top players play the early rounds. With a better schedule of tour events and more ranking points available, this could incentivize more participation.
4. 5th Set Tie-Breakers at Wimbledon
We love to talk about the Isner-Mahut match, but would you want to sit through that again? Not me. Tie-breakers were invented for a reason and make matches exciting. C’mon Wimbledon, we don’t have all day.
5. Stricter Time Wasting Rules
In an era of long baseline rallies, matches tend to run long but when you have Nadal and Djokovic playing, it’s tiresome. I can make a cup of tea between points. If other players can keep up the pace then these two can. Also I would introduce a 5 bounce rule, mentioning no names.
6. Stricter Drug Testing
It seems every year there are a few, not often top players, but when Murray and Federer are making noises about stricter drug testing something’s up.
7. More 500 Level Events
These events get lost in the mix often. Sometimes the draws are strong and sometimes weak. Lots of players like Almagro hoover up the smaller 250 events and have impressive title counts, but what if they had to play more 500 events? A tournament like Queens has a prestigious draw and surely should be upgraded to the 500 level.
8. Less Back-to-Back Masters Events
I’ve never understood why the toughest events on tour are back to back in the case of Indian Wells, Miami, Toronto and Cincinnati. Often the winner of one, has to pull from the next due to tiredness or preservation. The Toronto/Montreal event is right before the US Open, so often loses many of the top 10, which does not seem fair. With only 9 throughout the year, these could be spread out more evenly.
9. Better Ranking Protection for Injuries
Comeback stories are great but very players are able to claw back hundreds of places. A bad injury can last a year and so I would freeze a player’s ranking. They have probably lost a lot of earnings by being injured, so having to play Challenger events to get going again seems unfair.
10. No Lets on Serve
What if 2nd serves weren’t punished all the time or more chance was entered into the game? It would make things more exciting but I concede could make for some controversial situations. Worth a try in doubles perhaps with already one player at net for the pick up.