The Master That Should Not Be
April 8, 2011 Leave a comment
This article refelcts the writer’s point of view. Daily Scores, Inc. has nothing to do with it
I’m a very musical guy. And in case you’re wondering where I got the title from, I say this time I came back to 1986 and borrowed it from a Metallica’s Master of Puppets song. Of course I just said that because I’m trying to find another metalhead tennis freak J
The Super 9 – as it was once called, but are better known as “Masters Series” – are part of the elite. The elite of the ATP tournaments – let’s not forget the Grand Slams are not ATP events. Hence, you expect them to draw a lot of attention, to award lots of points and money and be glamorous. You also expect the best players to sign in – since they ARE mandatory for the dudes who finished the year as no.30 or better – and tight matches to be played. Am I right?
So, would you bother telling me why Monte Carlo is still a Masters? The glamour is there, as always – and you can clearly see that in the F1 Grand Prix held in the streets of the Principality. The money? Okay, there’s a lot of money involved. Also a friendly environment – how many players live there? I can think of Nole, Soderling and Stepanek without even pushing. But there’s something wrong.
The wrong “thing” is Rafael Nadal. I’m sorry if you’re a fan. Really am. But you should be pleased. Nadal is ruining and ruling Monte Carlo – he only lost there ONCE, in ’04 and is seeking his 7th title there. And wanna know something? He will clinch it. Nadal is right now way better than anyone else on clay, and playing in Monaco (in fact, it’s not Monaco, but let’s pretend) gives him an absurd, immense, unfair and many other adjectives, advantage.
I’m overreacting? So is ATP then. Because essentially, the Rolex Masters (sponsoring win… Rolex and Monte Carlo have everything to do) are not a Masters anymore. Yes, don’t call me sucker yet. I know, it still awards 1,000 points (but in the past five it awarded none – only kept Rafa’s points) and there’s plenty of money involved. But it’s not mandatory anymore. This means that a top-30 player can very well skip the week and replace its point with an ATP-500.
Please, understand I’m not criticizing Rafael Nadal – not his fault he’s that good. I just don’t see why it should still be part of the elite. Tradition? Don’t even bring that one. Otherwise, Beijing would never have a 1-thousand-points tournament. Money from the sponsors? Yeah, I’ll buy that one.
But there’s not enough money in this world that can buy you a thrilling and competitive event. And, right now, I don’t see how Monte Carlo contributes to the ATP pro circuit – besides feeding Rafa’s ego and giving him at least one Master title per year (as if he needed some help). Also don’t think choosing another location for the third Master (possibly, where? Barcelona? Only US can have multiple events) would fix the problem.
Of course, this is just my opinion. But the way things are right now, I don’t think the European pre-Roland Garros clay swing would be much different with Monte Carlo as an ATP-500 – not a Masters. I ALSO think would be awesome to have a bigger event on grass as a preparation for The Championships. But this is not going to happen. And this, my friends, is a pity.