Australian Open Begins a Challenging Season in Tennis

“In my opinion, it’s not about the crazy calendar,” Rafael Nadal, back at No. 1, said in a recent interview. “For me it’s about how long the calendar is in terms of mandatory events for the top players. For me, that’s more the issue.”

With the Australian Open in January and the Paris Masters and World Tour Finals ending in November, it is a marathon for the elite: an ultramarathon if they play in the Davis Cup final, too.

Chris Kermode, executive chairman and president of the ATP Tour, says tour studies show there has not been a rise in injury rates over all but only among the highest ranked players, most of whom are now 30 or older and most of whom already have earned exemptions from some of their tour commitments. Still, the bottom line is that these are the athletes, with their collective drawing power, who need to be preserved to protect the economic model.

Are modern tennis’s demands simply too great?

“You see how physical it is on the court, and then you see the traveling and the challenge of our sport versus others in terms of time zone changes and the variables in conditions,” said Justin Gimelstob, an ATP board member and former player and…

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