What Can Be Done About The ATP?

Donald FincherAnalyst IJune 20, 2009

PARIS - MAY 31:  Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on during the Men's Singles Fourth Round match against Robin Soderling of Sweden on day eight of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 31, 2009 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

So Rafael Nadal is out at Wimbledon.  Who can blame him?  The ATP, that's who.  This organization lords over tennis and its participants in a way that seems unsustainable...yet it continues to happen.

This is less of an article and more of a question directed to any of you out there that might know what the deal is with them.  

What kind of power do they hold?

The reason I ask that is that they seem to exert more influence than they should legitimately have.  I mean, I've heard Rafa complain about the scheduling and other players have too.  So why can't he or the others just say no?

I realize that they are defending points.  One would not want to skip a big tournament. And the warm up tournaments are important.  But why play at Indian Wells or Miami? Those aren't slams nor are they warm ups for the Australian as it has already been played.  

Why play five clay tournaments?

It seems to me that the players should hold all the power.  If Nadal were to say that his knees hurt and that he needs some rest and he's going to only play one clay tournament and then Roland Garros, how could the ATP stop him?  Does anyone really think that the ATP would win the PR battle trying to make Rafa play if he is openly saying it's a health issue?

I truly think the players would have them over a barrel if they would just exert the influence they have.  This would be especially true of Rafa or Roger as they are the biggest names in the game.

What could the ATP really do to them?  It's a PR nightmare for the ATP if they were to try to sue.  And all the player has to do is openly tell his side of the story into any of the number of microphones that are shoved at him on a daily basis and the public will immediately side with the player.

If the ATP were to try to send a correspondent out to combat the player's side of the story, it would just come off smarmy and lawyerly.  They would have no ability to win that battle because doing nothing means the charge goes unanswered (and is therefore just accepted as fact) while trying to combat it comes off worse.

So, please, anyone who knows anything about the behind the scenes stuff, can you please put it in the comments.  I'm dying to know why someone hasn't taken this mafia style organization to task yet.