Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

ATP making a racquet over schedule at U.S. Open

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LONDON -- The ATP opposes the U.S. Open's switch to a Monday final in 2013 and is not satisfied with the prize money increase for the tournament.

The U.S. Tennis Association announced last Friday that the women's final would be moved to Sunday and the men's championship match to Monday next year.

While the move builds in a rest day ahead of each final for the first time, the ATP said Monday it was against the change and would continue to fight it.

"The ATP and its players have made it clear to the U.S. Open that we do not support a Monday final," the governing body for men's tennis said in a statement. "We strongly believe the U.S. Open should keep a similar schedule to the other Grand Slams, with the men's semifinals completed by Friday and the final on Sunday.

"It is unfortunate the U.S. Open response did not reflect our views on this issue and the ATP and its players will continue to pursue this matter in its discussions with the USTA."

Rain forced the USTA to postpone the men's final from its scheduled Sunday slot to Monday for the past five years.

Complained

Some top male players complained the U.S. Open was the sport's only major tournament that put their semifinals and final on consecutive days. The men's semifinals in New York will stay on Saturday under the new plan.

A decision about 2014 and beyond probably will come after the 2013 tournament.

Wimbledon, the French Open and Australian Open follow another pattern: women's semifinals Thursday, men's semifinals Friday, women's final Saturday, men's final Sunday.

The USTA also announced Friday total prize money in 2013 will jump $4 million to a record $29.5 million. The increase is the largest in tournament history, doubling the roughly $2 million hike from 2011 to 2012.

The ATP said the increase was "appreciated" but did not go far enough.

"Over the last nine months the ATP and its players have asked that the U.S. Open fully recognize the fundamental role of the players in driving U.S. Open revenues, which are the largest in our sport," the statement said.

"The ATP therefore remains committed to continuing discussions on this issue, with the objective of ensuring that the players' share of the revenues at the U.S. Open truly reflects the value that they generate for the event."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 18, 2012 C13

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