Push for change in Aus Open schedule

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:48 IST

Complaints from players about a lack of rest between seasons and the extreme heat of the Australian summer have prompted organizers of the season-opening tennis

Push for change in Aus Open schedule

Melbourne:

Complaints from players about a lack of rest between seasons and the extreme heat of the Australian summer have prompted organizers of the season-opening tennis Grand Slam to consider rescheduling.Tennis Australia President Geoff Pollard said a change had been discussed but several possible impediments would have to be overcome before switching the tournament dates.International Tennis Federation president Francesco Ricci-Bitti told a German newspaper that the sport's governing body was negotiating with the men's tour with a view to push the Australian Open back from the last two weeks of January and into March."It's logical that we're too early and the end of the season is too late," Pollard told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Thursday. "This has been on the agenda for a while, but there is no clear and obvious solution. We wouldn't move unless we were sure that players would support an Australian circuit".Former women's No. 1 Martina Navratilova, who won 18 singles Grand Slam titles, sparked the latest push for a calendar overhaul earlier in the week, writing in her newspaper column that it shouldn't take serious injuries to players to force a change of dates.Marat Safin, a former US Open champion and finalist at the Australian Open last year, complained that there wasn't enough time between seasons. A host of other top professionals, including three-time Australian champion Andre Agassi, backed calls by the world No. 3 for a longer off-season. The players were also wanting more time between the French Open and Wimbledon to allow players time to prepare for the grass season at the end of their clay-court campaigns.Pollard agreed it wasn't just the Australian Open that would need to be rescheduled in an overhaul."Everyone knows that the French and Wimbledon are too close together and there are a lot of events in the autumn after the end of the US Open," he said.Australian organizers were concerned that warm-up tournaments in Australia would not be as well supported by players if the first major of the year was pushed back. Crowd numbers could also be affected by shifting the Australian Open from its traditional time in the summer holidays. (AP)



Topics : Tennis
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