DOHA Nov 9 The Women's Tennis Association has
agreed to reinstate byes in certain events in 2009 to assuage
players' fears about a congested calendar.
Several players were worried they were being asked to play
two high-intensity events in succession, with no byes meaning
there was no opportunity to rest between tournaments.
"There were several concerns expressed by our top players,"
WTA chief executive Larry Scott told reporters after conducting
talks with players at the end-of-season event championships in
"Their concerns related to two issues, primarily. One, a
concern that there wasn't enough break between some of our big
tournaments, which were back-to-back, primarily players playing
in Rome right up against Madrid next year.
"Rome is a 56-draw tournament followed by Madrid which is a
64-draw tournament (beginning) on Saturday.
"Similarly in the fall, Tokyo is a 56-draw tournament
followed by Beijing, which is a 64-draw tournament. Those
tournaments overlapped very closely. Players were concerned it
was too many matches in too few days."
The solution was to re-introduce byes for the semi-finalists
in Rome and Tokyo.
"Specifically, what we've agreed is that we are going to
award four byes to the semi-finalists in Rome, into the Madrid
tournament, and four byes to the semi-finalists from Tokyo into
the Beijing tournament," said Scott.
"Therefore, for those players that have to play the most
matches in Rome and Tokyo respectively, they can start later and
have one less match in a subsequent event.
"On the second issue, there was concern that players might
be denied entry into some of what we call our Premier 700
"We've made some adjustments and Paris (Indoors),
Charleston, Stuttgart, Stanford, and Los Angeles, we've removed
the prohibition on players being able to get into the two
tournaments of their choice. Every player will be able to play
at least two of those."
WTA Championships winner Venus Williams said the discussions
were very positive.
"We all worked together this week really hard and I think
everyone's pleased," said Williams. "I think the good part of it
all is that next year if we feel that something isn't working
we've all learnt to come together and work together."
(Editing by Miles Evans)