Is the end of the season important?


As the tennis season is fast approaching its conclusion, we start to see news feeds containing information like “He can still qualify for the year-end championships, if he reaches the semifinal in this tournament and the final next week.” This talk increases week by week. The tour organizations are the main forces behind these statements, but the journalists are still letting them go in print. Every week from this point on we can hear who still has the chance to qualify.

I would like to hear somebody actually saying NOT wanting to qualify. The ATP and WTA would not allow any player to say so, but there are always players who don´t see taking part in the YEC as a priority.  There have been numerous occasions when the ATP and WTA have literally had to tempt players already spending their beach holidays to travel to the YEC host city. Those players had missed the cut-off for the YEC weeks before but the injuries and illnesses of the qualified players and the two alternates made the move necessery.

If a player is already very tired because of the hard season, I bet he would like to skip the YEC and the whole season after the US Open altogether. Novak Djokovic was not a great sight in any tournament after he topped his magnificent run in 2011 with a title at the US Open. He would have preferred to rest, but was forced to play on.

Serena Williams already told she was too tired to take part in the tournament in Tokyo starting today. Maria Sharapova pulled out, too, although she has a shoulder injury as an explanation. She is already “officially” trying to come back in time for the YEC. I bet we will have some more big name casualties besides Andy Murray when the men´s Masters tournament in Shanghai is going to start.

There have been suggestions that the season should stop immediately after the US Open for years. But what would happen to the tournaments in September and October then? There are just too much financial things there to let that ever happen.

Still, there are some situations where the YEC can be seen as a highlight, not as an anticlimax. Last year, Victoria Azarenka needed to attain some amount of points to assure her No. 1 ranking at the end of the year. She did not play her best the whole tournament, but toughed out some hard three-setters to reach her goal. It looks like Vika will be around for many tournaments this fall, too. She wants to assure No. 2 ranking behind Serena in order not to meet Serena before the final in the Australian Open.


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