Thursday, March 22, 2007

ATP abandons round-robin format

After the Blake/Korolev fiasco at the Las Vegas Open, it was only a matter of time before the ATP took action on the round-robin formats for its tournaments. The ATP Board voted to end its experimentation with the round-robin format on the ATP tour.

Originally seen as an opportunity to give fans more opportunity to see local and favourite players in action, in addition to allowing tournaments to showcase marquee players into later rounds and creating more predictable tv scheduling, the round-robin format was found to have caused confusion when it came to deciding who would advance from the round-robin stage, and ultimately, both the media and fans had difficulty following the results/standings. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, no format or rule could address the overwhelming player concern that their destiny was not in their own hands as a result of dead matches or withdrawals (as was the case in Las Vegas).

All remaining events that had volunteered for the round-robin format will revert back to the traditional knock-out format.

ATP Chairman and President Etienne de Villiers summed it up best by saying:

It was a good experiment and we learned a lot from it. Some experiments will work and others won’t, but we will keep trying to find new and better ways of growing the appeal of men’s professional tennis.

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