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Women's tennis body aims for shorter season

india Updated: Nov 23, 2006 00:58 IST
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Tournaments will face a vetting process as the Women's Tennis Association (WAT) aims to slice up to a month off of the crowded women's tennis schedule from 2009.

The WTA announced on Tuesday that the re-upping process will allow it to decide which events stay and which ones are cut from a calendar which is expected to run from January to October under the Roadmap 2010 plan.

The decision was taken at the board meetings at this month's season championships in Madrid, the WTA said.

"Today marks a shift into the implementation phase of the Roadmap that will deliver to fans the stars and rivalries they want to see, and which addresses the issue of player withdrawals caused by a season that is simply too long and gruelling," said WTA boss Larry Scott.

Scott said that the organisation wants to modify the tournament calendar "so that fans can clearly follow the circuit".

"We want our biggest stages to consistently feature the best players competing against one another."

Other points to the Roadmap plan include a shortened season to end in October; creation of four combined mandatory events with men's tennis body; a simplified ranking system; more breaks for top players after Grand Slams and reduction in number of Tour tournaments top players must play from 13 to 11.

Top players will now be required to compete in 12 events instead of the previous 13, with two of those events to be chosen by the Tour for each player.

Tournaments in the autumn after the US Open will all use the same surface and same ball. Players who withdraw will find their fines doubles, up to a maximum of $40,000 for third and subsequent late withdrawal offences.

Statistics show that withdrawals by Top-10 players have increased by 72 percent over the past five years.