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Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray: Are They Right To Complain About the ATP Schedule?

Van Sias@@Van_SiasContributor IIISeptember 20, 2011

Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray feel the players need to be heard on scheduling matters.
Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray feel the players need to be heard on scheduling matters.Al Bello/Getty Images

"Strike" can be such a dirty word in sports, and now it's crept its way into the goings-on of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour.

Fourth-ranked Andy Murray has gone on record in the past couple of days saying that the top players weren't against going on strike if something wasn't done to moderate what many consider a heavy schedule.

Rafael Nadal, who played in the Davis Cup semifinals over the weekend just days after making the finals of the U.S. Open, has long called for revisions to the calendar.

And now that top-ranked Novak Djokovic will be out of commission for weeks due to a back injury, it seems that their argument has even more weight. The number of events they're required to compete in is just too much.

Or is it?

Former ATP star Michael Stich has responded to the strike talk by saying that the players aren't competing more than back in his day, and also that the stars of the tour are forgetting about their lower-ranked peers who have to get out there and play as much as possible to get their rankings up.

But you have to wonder, what would Stich's opinion be if he were out there competing now?

He did maintain a pretty heavy playing schedule in his day, competing in the Davis Cup and doubles at the Grand Slams, while getting himself up to a career-high No. 2 ranking in singles.

The way the game is played now, more physical than ever, forces one to eventually choose to concentrate on singles or doubles. Right now, there are fewer than 10 players on the ATP Tour who maintain top-50 rankings in both disciplines.

So the evidence is there on how tough the game is.

But today's players aren't exactly always doing what's in their best interest when it comes to protecting their health. Exhibition events, with their lure of big paychecks, are always going on, even during the regular season. And top-10 stars don't always have to compete in an event the week after winning a Grand Slam, which is one of the toughest things to do in all of sports.

An agreement was already reached for the 2012 season to be reduced, but is more needed?

Murray says a compromise is what's being sought between the players, the ATP and the International Tennis Federation. Will it be reached, or will the news in the weeks and months ahead be all about the "s-word?"?

That dirty word can make things messy going forward.