London 2012: How the Olympics Held at Wimbledon Impacts the Men's Tour

Martin BaldridgeCorrespondent IIJuly 28, 2012

From Wimbledon to Wimbledon for Roger Federer
From Wimbledon to Wimbledon for Roger FedererSusan Mullane-US PRESSWIRE

Amidst sounds of jubilation, London was announced as the venue for the 30th Olympiad in July, 2005.

But how does the tennis event, held on the lawns of the All England Club at Wimbledon, impact on the rest of the men's season?

There's no doubt whatsoever that the Olympics ranks amongst the most important events in a tennis player's career.

With the exception of defending champion Rafael Nadal, who is missing the tournament due to injury, all the world's top players are entered into the 64-man draw.

Coming just three weeks after Roger Federer won his seventh title, it remains to be seen how the newly-laid grass courts will hold up for the nine days of play shared with women's and mixed doubles events.

I, for one, am really looking forward to watching it. 

But how about the fans and people who run the Rogers Cup Masters Series 1000 event in Toronto?

Usually, following the conclusion of Wimbledon, the world's best players take a few weeks off before embarking on a period of either physical training or practice for the upcoming US Open series events.

This year saw Federer beat Andy Murray in the men's final played on Sunday, July 8.

After his defeat Murray took a few well-deserved days off. He relaxed with friends, attended comedy clubs and went go-carting before beginning his preparation for the Olympics, which begin July 28.

The final of the Olympics tennis event takes place Sunday, August 5.

Meanwhile the Toronto Masters qualifying event starts Saturday, August 4! Go figure?

Do we have a problem?

I'd expect Federer, Murray and Novak Djokovic all to be involved in the latter stages of the Olympics, yet all are entered, as they are contracted to be, into the Toronto event.

Okay, in these days of private jets, it's conceivable that the Olympic men's finalists could board a plane on the evening of August 5 and arrive in Toronto the following afternoon. 

After a couple days rest, adjusting to the hard courts, jet lag and a bye in the first round, they'll probably be expected to play their opening matches on Wednesday.

Is there a doctor in the house?

After last year's US Open, Federer required some six weeks off. He missed the Shanghai Masters, complaining of niggling injuries, and then he came back to end the year winning consecutive titles in Basel, Paris and London.

In 2009 Federer withdrew from the Japan Open and Shanghai Masters claiming that his doctor had advised him that he risked serious long-term injury if he didn't take a much needed rest.   

Okay so if Federer was to win the Olympics, how likely is he to be stepping onto the hard courts of Toronto some four days later?

I'd say it was unlikely—"Doctor for Mr. Federer please!"

Why, when the announcement of London for the Olympics was made some seven years ago, was the tennis tour schedule for 2012 not adjusted accordingly?

Surely the Rogers Cup should not be starting before the Olympics has even finished!

Is it so difficult to change tournament dates to take into account events as extraordinary as the Olympics?

It was announced July 19, 2012 that the dates of Wimbledon 2015 had been pushed back by one week to allow for one more week's grass court events, and to create a longer break between the French Open and Wimbledon.

Need I say more!