It’s the slack patch in the tennis year—at least that’s what the media would have you believe. Sure enough, a quick look at the calendar shows that the men do not begin competition until the first week in January.
And in theory, they all hung up their rackets after the Paris Masters on 14th November. So a healthy six weeks to lie back on that beach and soak up the rays.
The women do even better, it seems, finishing in mid-October for more than two months of rest and relaxation.
Yes, the ATP and WTA make great play of the holiday season afforded the men and women who tour the circuit in search of wins. And sure enough, there are reports of Roger Federer in the Seychelles, Robin Soderling in the Maldives and Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo.
They may spend between 10 and 11 months of the year touring the world, living out of suitcases, zigzagging through dozens of time zones and hitting a new surface in a new city with just days to acclimatise, but now is the time to recuperate, put up the tired feet and have a few drinks.
Forget it. The top men, those who reach deepest into the big events, play the most matches and are committed to the lion’s share of media and promotional activities, played into the last week in November, expending every last ounce of energy at the World Tour Finals. Some even carried on into December for the Davis Cup: Djokovic, raise your hand.
The top women have their end-of-season tourneys, too, with the top eight playing off in the WTA Championships through the last week of October and the best of the rest heading to the albeit glamorous destination of Bali for the Tournament of Champions in early November.
Then check the ATP and WTA websites and they are awash with headlines about exhibitions, charity activities and, believe it or not, talk of training blocks and warm-up events for the new season.
But that’s no excuse for the rest of us not to have a bit of fun over the festive season.
All the fingers and feet featured in this selection of events leading up to the Australian Open were taken at 2010 tournaments—and are playing in the event described. Can you spot them?