ATP may shorten tour by 2-3 weeks from 2012

The ATP Tour may shorten its 11-month season by two or three

weeks from 2012 to give players more rest and help them avoid

injuries and burnout.

”We are taking a good, hard look at our calendar to see if

there is a meaningful way to lengthen the offseason that would

allow players more time for rest, fitness and working on their

game,” spokeswoman Kate Gordon said on Friday.

The ATP board of directors will meet during the ATP Tour World

Finals in London next month to vote on schedules for the 2012 and

2013 seasons. Some of the proposals being considered would shorten

the calendar by two or three weeks.

”The issue of season length has been around for a long time and

there is no quick fix, but we are committed to giving it real

consideration,” Gordon said.

The top players have advocated for a shorter tournament calendar

for years.

Rafael Nadal, who admitted to being tired this week after

playing three tournaments in a row and 16 overall this year, has

suggested allowing the top players to stop playing after the final

top-tier Masters events in the autumn and forgo late-season smaller

tournaments without having to worry about giving up ranking

points.

”The perfect schedule is if you have the chance to play and you

have the chance not to play,” he said at the Shanghai Masters this

week.

Andy Roddick, too, has wanted longer offseasons for players.

”I’ve been pretty upfront with saying I think (the schedule) is

too long,” he said in Shanghai. ”I think luckily our voices seem

to be getting to the point where they’re being heard.”

Roger Federer, playing his 14th event of the year in Shanghai,

also supported a shorter tour, but realized the top players were in

a better position to pick and choose their tournaments than others

who were chasing money and higher rankings.

”It’s a smart idea to cut the calendar short without hurting

too many tournaments, and I hope that we can reach a good agreement

there,” he said.

”I don’t remember the year finishing so late ever. But it’s

what it is. I think if the season is long, you have more breaks in

the season than you do normally, if you’re smart about it. If you

ran after points and tournaments, it’s normal that the season

becomes endless.

”I can live with either one. I think if you’re injured for a

period of time, you can get some points down the stretch and your

ranking is not going to drop like a stone.”