ATP World Tour: The Case for a Longer Grass-Court Season

Nick Nemeroff@NNemeroffCorrespondent IIDecember 15, 2011

Roger Federer (Wimbledon).
Roger Federer (Wimbledon).Julian Finney/Getty Images

Wimbledon is often considered sacred ground from the perspective of a professional tennis player. Victory on these revered lawns presents the ultimate tennis glory.

A majority of professional tennis players would cite Wimbledon as the most desirable title in all of tennis. There is a distinct, indescribable eminence that comes with claiming the Wimbledon trophy.

No player better represents not only the brilliance but pure elegance that is characteristic of a Wimbledon champion than Roger Federer.

The graceful nature with which Federer plays the game has no comparison and is truly visible on grass. It is on this surface that Federer’s fluidity and variety really provide him with the upper hand against virtually every opponent.

Unfortunately, the beauty associated with grass-court tennis is only seen for an abbreviated time span.

The grass court season begins the Monday following the French Open and ends around a month later. With four warm-up tournaments over a span of two weeks, transitioning from the slow, high-bouncing clay courts to the fast, low-bouncing grass courts presents a formidable challenge.

Many players such as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have even opted to skip these warm-up tournaments and jump into Wimbledon cold.

For the surface on which the most striking and highly technical tennis is played, it would seem a just exploit to the tennis world to extend the season much beyond its current length.

The clay-court season, which spans from February to June, is four months of relentless backcourt grinding that presents an extremely demanding physical challenge.

The hard-court season, which lasts from July to the end of November, arguably takes an even bigger physical toll on players.

A prime example of this is Rafael Nadal.

Nadal plays the game with a never-say-die attitude, but unfortunately because of this has encountered various knee problems throughout his career due the incredible effort and grit he puts into every single point.

The toll taken on his knees on grass is not nearly as severe as the aggravation experienced on the hard and clay courts.

The grass courts are considerably less destructive to the body and allow the players to focus more on what’s being done on the court as opposed to what the court is doing to their body.

Despite all of this, I fully recognize that there are obvious obstacles in the way of extending the grass-court season, such as a lack of venues and scheduling.

If the ATP is in fact able to extend the life of the grass-court season, it would not only be a positive improvement for the health of the players, but would also be nothing short of a gift to tennis fans all around the world.