The tennis season is way too long.
Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking:
"How can any sports season be too long?"
"Heck, I wish the NHL and NFL seasons were a whole year."
"What is this girl saying? She must be crazy."
Stay with me.
For 11 months of the year, professional tennis players travel thousands of kilometres to compete in dozens of tournaments with little to no time off.
“The schedule is crazy,” Rafael Nadal said at last year’s U.S. Open. “It’s crazy now, it was crazy before and it will still be crazy next year. You can’t make your body go to the limit for the whole year. It’s just not possible.”
Nadal has struggled with injuries his entire career and his body hasn’t been able to keep up with the demanding schedule. This year, Nadal hasn’t played since he was upset in the second round of Wimbledon due to a knee injury.
“It’s impossible to be here playing like what I did the last five years, playing a lot of matches and being all the time 100 percent without problems,” Nadal said three years ago in Shanghai.
Nadal had no choice but to skip half of the season in order to get healthy.
“It’s ridiculous to think that you have a professional sport that doesn’t have a legitimate offseason to rest, get healthy, and then train,” Andy Roddick said before his retirement.
When the top players are injured or tired, everyone suffers.
The Paris Masters is the final ATP 1000 event of the year. It’s supposed to be one of the most competitive, exciting tournaments on the ATP schedule. Well, unfortunately for tennis fans no "Big Four" player made it past the third round.
Roger Federer skipped the tournament due to fatigue, Nadal is injured, Andy Murray lost in the third round and Novak Djokovic was upset in the second round. It was the first time since March 2010 that Djokovic had lost that early in a Masters tournament.
You don’t see these weird results early in the season. Why? The players aren’t tired then. They’re tired now.
Some people, however, do benefit from the long season — the lower ranked players. Players trying to fight their way into the top 100 need to play dozens of tournaments in order to improve their ranking and make a living.
It’s not just the players who get tired after 11 months of tennis — the fans do too. Between the Grand Slams, Masters events, 500 and 250 events, there is a tournament almost every week.
Who can keep up?
Regardless of all the complaints, don’t expect changes anytime soon. The 11-month season is here to stay.