Lleyton Hewitt has called on tennis chiefs to be more “open minded” as
Andy Murray warns of possible strike action amid fresh unrest over
demands on top players.
Former world No.1 Hewitt has heard much
of it before – and spoken out before – but says players need more say in
where and when they play to lessen the risk of injury.
tournament scheduling issue has blown up again as world No.1 Novak
Djokovic broke down with a torn muscle and retired injured in his Davis
Cup tie decider against Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro in Belgrade on
That came six days after he won the US Open title,
following a gruelling grand slam where rain delays saw some players
forced to play best-of-five set matches on three consecutive days.
No.4 Murray held talks with other players at the recent US Open and
said they’ll continue discussions at the Shanghai Masters early next
“It’s (a strike) a possibility. I know from speaking to some players they’re not afraid of doing that,” Murray told the BBC.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that but I’m sure the players will consider it.”
No.2 Rafael Nadal also raised the issue, and didn’t rule out a strike,
in an interview while helping Spain into the Davis Cup final last
Hewitt, who last year slammed the tight Davis Cup
scheduling as a “nightmare”, said world tennis chiefs needed to be more
“I think they have got to be a little bit open minded,” Hewitt said in Sydney on Tuesday.
players have to choose a little bit more where they can play and what
they want to play, rather than force players’ hands, because that’s when
you’ll see injuries happen.”
“If some of the guys want to pull
out of … a Masters Series (event) here or there just to give
themselves a break through the year I think they should be allowed.”
Hewitt also noted that concerns over the jam-packed tennis schedule had
been floating around for years and any real solution remained elusive.
“Where do you start cutting tournaments, and which ones do you cut?” Hewitt said.
“Ever since I came on tour, the players have been saying the same things and nothing’s really changed.”
Murray suggested the players would sit down and come up with a list of things they wanted changed.
sit down, talk about it with the Association of Tennis Professionals
(ATP) and International Tennis Federation (ITF), see if they will come
to a compromise and, if not, we’ll go from there,” Murray said.
just want things to change, really small things. Two or three weeks
during the year, a few less tournaments each year, which I don’t think
However, the sport’s administrators have also claimed that the players have themselves to blame for the heavy schedule.
president Francesco Ricci Bitti said complaints by Nadal over the Davis
cup scheduling were “inconsistent” as players voted for the current
dates, against the ITF’s wishes, back in 2009.
The ATP too has
hit back saying it has taken into account the stresses on the players by
reducing most finals to the best of three sets, allowing top eight
seeds byes into the second rounds of tournaments and also increased the