Mornin', everyone. We'll be starting our book group live discussion of Pete Sampras's autobiography A Champion' Mind a little later (starting at 2 PM, EST, with another round at around 9 PM tonight - if there's still interest), but meanwhile I have a little misunderstanding to clear up.
In my recent ESPN post, I wrote a fictional "Help Wanted" ad for the ATP's CEO job, and included this line: Senior employees might be intractable and exacting, and often at cross-purposes. A number of ATP staffers and/or board members read that literally (and you can't blame them), as a reference to the ATP's in-house staff. I want to make clear that I was playing around and meant "employees" metaphorically - as a reference to the top players, agents and tournament promoters, all of whom loosely can be said to work for or under the ATP CEO. This was an obtuse and ill-chosen device, because it sure reads like a criticism of ATP staff - which is an extremely professional, diligent and cohesive unit. It's always been a great pleasure to work with them.
I had a conversation about this and other matters a few minutes ago with Kris Dent, ATP Corporate Communications Director. We cleared up the above matter and had a good conversation about things in general, and Kris mentioned something that really bears repeating here. The Hamburg case was a momentous event in ATP history. Had the ATP lost that case - and many pundits and knowledgeable insiders predicted just that - the ATP as we know it would have (as Kris put it), "ceased to exist as we know it." It's a sobering thought to keep in mind when you ask a question that begins with something like, Why can't the ATP just. . .
And that entire series of events was launched by nothing more earth-shattering than the change in the status of an existing tournament and the addition of another, with a slight calendar tweak.
Here's some good news. Kris agreed to get a senior ATP staffer to field some of your questions about the upcoming year (and the ATP in general), because some of the changes (ranking points, the relative importance of various tournaments, etc. etc.) are confusing, and the ATP knows it. The designated ATP staffer will also answer any Big Picture questions you may have, including those that begin with, Why can't the ATP just. . . We're going to try to make this happen sometime between now and the start of the new ATP year. I've asked that we make it a live chat, so you'll be able to post questions in the comment section, and the ATP representative will answer you in real time. Stay tuned for more information on that.
Please stay on topic if you wish to comment on this post.
PS - I am still pondering the endless and difficult debate over Off-Topic comment posting, and have decided that Watercooler posts will be wide-open for any discussion y'all wish to have, including OT. There will be a Watercooler post every other day until we return to Your Call and Crisis Center posts once the tennis year begins, at which time those posts will be open to OT chatter before and after the day's play is done. But more on that later. . .