Monday, February 19, 2007

Bridging the Gap

The men and women are playing together this week - and they're not at a major.

In Memphis, the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships kicked off this week. This event models what the future of the tours should look like: men and women playing together, at all levels, attracting fans, television audiences and growing the community of the two tours together.

Scheduling issues are wreaking havoc on both tours: the men are trying out round-robing while the women are slowly, but surely cutting our big events (bye, bye San Diego) because the tour is trying to please all parties.

Having more conjoined events would mean bigger crowds would get to see more players playing top-level tennis. I really enjoy the way that Toronto and Montreal have continued to switch their tournaments every other year. If the men and women were to join together at one location on year A and then jump to another location on year B, the tour(s) could continue to hit as many locations as possible while hopefully gaining more fans.

Creating community between the two tours is something that not only should happen, but needs to happen. This sort of connection would foster good relationships between players, coaches, agents and all those other inside people to make sure that the tours are attractive events that culminate four times a year at the Majors.

Meanwhile the WTA has caught on to the success of's player blogs. This week, Vania King (who already lost in a heart-breaking first round singles match) is the blogger on the women's side while Tommy Haas (defending champion) is blogging it up on the men's side.

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