Photo: Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray
Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray have expressed their discontent with the American Tennis Professional (ATP) and the management of the current U.S. Open.
Tension and discontent have taken over the ATP World Tour this week as the tournament heads into the quarterfinals. Several of the sport’s biggest stars have been complaining about different problems, and Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick have taken matters into their own hands, Roddick even suggesting players to go on lockout, like the NFL and the NBA have done recently.
Problems with the tournament’s rescheduling of matches that were postponed because of bad weather, plus the terribly unbalanced distribution of income from circuit play have many players very disgruntled.
In spite of numerous rain delays and rain days, ATP officials are mandating players play their matches risking injury due to wet playing conditions.
So far, eighteen players have withdrawn from the tournament, a record number, considering there are three more rounds of tennis to be played.
“We don’t want to play if it is raining” said Nadal to ESPN. “If I have to go, I will, but I don’t think is fair with us. I understand the fans, that television needs tennis, the commercial aspect of all this, but the player’s health is important. We don’t feel protected by the tournament.”
Murray also spoke about the precarious conditions he was asked to play in “When we went out it was still raining, the back of the court was soaking wet and the balls were really wet as well. Everyone spoke to the umpire, and they said, ‘No, it’s fine’. But it doesn’t make sense to get out there for seven or eight minutes and I don’t think we will be doing that again today. The players want to play more than anyone [but] it’s dangerous, the lines especially get really, really slippery.”
Currently, the ATP shares 13% of the revenue with players, something many consider abusive and insulting, as the money difference is evidently not being used by the Association to fix circuit problems, like investing on roofs for stadiums, so players don’t get rained on.
“It’s always the same story with you,” said umpire Emmanuel Joseph to tournament general referee Brian Early “you only think about the money.”