After a reasonably successful men's version here, five of the top seeds have already pulled out of this week's women's Rogers Cup in Montreal because
they couldn't care less of injuries or fatigue or whatever. Thus, having in the previous post here referred to the preseasons as one of pro sports' greatest swindles, lo, here comes another in the long line of sporting rip-offs.
I'm not much of a tennis fan, I confess, but I might give it more of a chance -- or not be so quick to dismiss it -- if these non-major, meat and potatoes events weren't so prone to the last-second owie. The same thing happens in big-time golf, where a long line of "entrants" are named in press releases and advertisements in the months and weeks leading up to PGA stops, but none of them are confirmed.
But at least in women's tennis, changes are on the way, as Paul Hunter reports:
A longer off-season and in-season schedule breaks to keep the athletes healthy, mandatory player attendance at fewer top-tier events and smarter travel schedules based on geography, are all part of the proposed solutions that might fix the women's game by the 2009 season, according to Stacey Allaster, president of the women's tour.
"It's unacceptable for a Tier 1 event like the Rogers Cup not to have a Tier 1 field," said Allaster, who, given her 15 years working for Tennis Canada, is particularly sensitive to some of the withdrawals that have plagued the women's game here and in Montreal.
"We need the top players to play the premier events."
So there you go. They're taking care of it. By the 2009 season.