This just in, sort of: ATP players won't boycott the Australian Open
. The dispute and the rumor were catalyzed by players' candid and verbal disdain for the prize money at the Melbourne-based Grand Slam, and then perpetuated among some tennis media and blogs. Then there was this today from ATP Players Council vice president Eric Butorac: “I think I can speak for all the players when I say that we'll be in Melbourne in January with smiles on our faces.”
First, it's interesting, and well and good, that the 34th-ranked ATP doubles player
has the recognition and the standing of council VP, voted on by his peers. Second: Was there ever any doubt? Gone are the days of tennis professionals not competing Down Under, and it would be a sorry loss for the sport, to its incredible detriment, if ATP stars and journeymen (oh, that word) alike didn't appear in Australia. Wonderfully, that will not be the case. And apparently a problem can still be solved by throwing a little bit of money—okay, $4.15 million—at it.
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It is simple and easy to pity Alexandr Dolgopolov for his physical ailment when he loses, as with his 7-6 (9), 2-6, 6-1 loss to Jurgen Melzer in Beijing
. Though his condition seems less severe in its side effects, he's fast becoming the relative Venus Williams of the ATP tour, a position in which any loss leaving fans wondering if it's Gilbert's syndrome
(in Venus' case, Sjogren's syndrome
) that keeps the pro from reclaiming former glory, large or small.