While most tennis watchers are taking a break after focusing on Wimbledon for the last two weeks, some of the players who didn’t make it through the first week on the lawns of SW19 have had enough of a hiatus and are spending something of a working vacation playing in a variety of ATP 250 events this week mostly located in sunny and fun coastal cities.
The events in Bastad, Newport and Umag are very popular with many pros since each event takes place close to a beach and organizers often pull out all the stops to ensure the players enjoy themselves even if they lose in the first round. And the fans in those cities certainly like having a chance to watch some world-class tennis during one of the prime parts of the year.
But when organizers of the granddaddy of all tennis tournaments started throwing out not subtle hints in the UK press a few weeks ago that they might be considering moving Wimbledon up a week so to create a little more breathing room between it and the French Open, it was greeted at first with mostly positive feedback. After all the grass court season has often been bemoaned for not being really a season at all and not long enough to give its biggest event any sort of real buildup.
But if Wimbledon decides to change dates, even by a week, it will ultimately cause a huge ripple in the overall ATP schedule. Nothing is certain yet about Wimbledon’s possible move, but it certainly makes events held right after it, like Bastad, Newport, Stuttgart, Umag very vulnerable to either being pushed further back in the year or maybe even held in conjunction with more events in the same week thus diluting the possible pool of players who can compete. To borrow the phrase, if Wimbledon says “jump” will the other tourneys after it be forced to say “how high?”
The possibility also exists that another Hamburg type scenario could happen again that saw the former ATP 1000 event demoted to 500 status and moved in the calendar to make way for the now combined Madrid event. Organizers of the Hamburg event sued the ATP and lost, but even now they are still fighting the decision. No one wants another similar situation to take place again but don’t be surprised if a few of Wimbledon’s often gray and rainy skies, if only metaphorically, start to appear on the sunny horizons of this week’s ATP 250 events soon enough.