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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Wildcards

From: Jeff Davies <>
Date: Wed 29 May 2002 10:32:01 -0400

Phil Azar and other contributors on this subject simply do
not understand the wildcard system.

The French tennis authorities are not "discriminating" by
using their wildcards to promote up-and-coming, talented
French players in the French Open. That is their absolute
right and privilege and one of the specific reasons for
which wildcards exist.

Wildcards are designed to be awarded at the discretion of
the tournament director/organizers and, apart from providing
opportunities for talented local players, may also be used
to provide entry to top players who have been injured or
become available to play in the tournament after entries

A tournament director/organizer's job is to run a successful
tournament. At major tournaments, that equates to getting as
many people through the turnstiles as possible. The general
idea of wildcards is to give a tournament director the ability
to include players in the draw that he think will attract more
spectators. How can such a system be to the detriment of

Imagine that you are a tournament director with a call from Anna
Kournikova's agent who tells you that that she can now play in
your tournament as she has recovered earlier than expected from
a foot injury. She's 15 in the World and arguably the biggest
spectator draw in Womens' tennis. Taking your job seriously,
you're going to tell her that she's too late and give your wild
card to someone unknown who is next in line with a ranking of
105...! Right! (This happened not too long ago).

Yes, there'll always be someone who wants to argue about whether
this player or that player should be included in the draw but,
in general, the system works as it was designed - to provide a
tournament director with a litle flexibility to include a few
players that he thinks will attract local spectators.

And just to make sure that this controvery continues, let me also
say: let's not forget that professional tennis is a spectator
sport for the benefit of spectators. It does not exist to provide
a means for someone to earn a living by playing tennis....!

Jeff Davies

Received on Wed May 29 2002 - 10:40:49 CDT

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