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Little piece I did on the new lta wild card reforms for wimby

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djlovesyou
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Little piece I did on the new lta wild card reforms for wimby Empty Little piece I did on the new lta wild card reforms for wimby

Post by LuvSports! Tue 17 Feb - 0:03

Pretty much spammed everyone related to tennis in the twitterverse.
Please read if you get the chance.
ta

http://www.swlondoner.co.uk/tennis-stars-weigh-new-lta-wild-card-reforms-wimbledon/

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Post by Born Slippy Tue 17 Feb - 21:15

Nice article. Have to say I'm not sure I have got to grips with the new system. Will it make it less likely that GB players will get wildcards or does it give greater flexibility?

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Post by LuvSports! Tue 17 Feb - 21:30

Ta.
When I spoke to the LTA spokesman he made it quite axiomatic that they wanted to cut down on the large numbers of wildcards always falling at the first hurdle; which kind of seemed like it was to cut their losses somewhat.
Less wildcards maybe but I feel they are setting perhaps too draconian standards and very few will meet them.
I liked Goodall's proposal.

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Post by Born Slippy Thu 19 Feb - 3:48

Had a read through the new policy. It gives more discretion although I can see some players being fairly unhappy if it isn't applied consistently.

Agree with you - Goodall's system is simple and makes sense. I would probably change the boundaries slightly (maybe top 350 for 18-20, top 250 for 21-22 and top 175 for anyone 23 or over) with total carte blanche for anyone exceptional aged 17 or under.

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Post by djlovesyou Thu 19 Feb - 8:15

Wildcards generally fall at the first hurdle in any tournament in the world from 10k Futures to the Slams.

The only event in which this seems shocking is Wimbledon.

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Post by LuvSports! Thu 19 Feb - 8:29

clap

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Post by ListenUp Wed 25 Feb - 12:42

djlovesyou wrote:Wildcards generally fall at the first hurdle in any tournament in the world from 10k Futures to the Slams.

The only event in which this seems shocking is Wimbledon.

This is very true.

I'm not sure how the LTA spokesman expects to stop wildcards falling at the first hurdle. They are nearly always playing higher ranked opponents, so why should they be expected to win? Those who do successfully negotiate that first hurdle are often just helped by the luck of the draw.

The sort of players who crop up from time to time and go on a good run are usually those who are already heading rapidly upwards but haven't yet reached a high enough ranking for direct entry. I'm thinking of players like Taylor Townsend at Roland Garros, Nick Kyrgios and Jiri Vesely at Wimbledon last year. Vesely's ranking, only just missing direct entry at the cutoff date, was up to 68th by the time Wimbledon started. These are exactly the sort of players who should be given the wildcards—but there are never going to be enough of them for the 8 wild cards in each of the men's and women's singles available in the Slams.

Players from the host country are where most wildcards go in most tournaments at all levels. Of the Slams, Wimbledon is already the least generous to its 'home' players. In 2014 only 3 women's and 5 men's wildcards went to British players. In contrast, Roland Garros and the US Open gave all their wildcards, apart from the "reciprocals" (arrangement among all the Slams but Wimbledon), to home players. As they are paid back with wildcards at the other two Slams, they are virtually giving all 16 singles wildcards to home players.

Roland Garros might justify giving so many wildcards to French players as they have a much 'deeper' pool of players than Britain does—24 men and 12 women in the top 250s, contrasting with 5 British men and 5 women (at the entry points for last year's events). Still, only one of the men (Axel Michon) made it to the 2nd round, while one woman (Pauline Parmentier) reached the 4th and another (Clare Feuerstein) the 2nd. The majority, unsurprisingly, still fell at that first hurdle.

Both the US Open and the Australian Open have systems for their players to earn or win some of the Slam wildcards, and I wonder if Wimbledon might consider anything like them, if it wants to give some wildcards to British players but steer away from this idea that they don't deserve it. Australia holds a wildcard playoff event. One of the US wildcards is won by the player who wins most points during a series of Challengers. Others go to NCAA champions and USTA junior champions—one of those was CiCi Bellis last year, and I'd imagine the US Open was well pleased with that wildcard decision. These sort of choices aren't governed by ranking limits, and they also favour younger players who are seen to have exceptional potential.

I like the idea of a wildcard playoff, and the collection of points over a series of tournaments. I don't know if that's a practical idea here, since the USA holds many more tournaments than Britain does, but maybe they could come up with something along those lines. I think it would be helpful for the morale of players receiving the Wimbledon wildcards going into the tournament. Those who reach the main draw through qualifying must be full of confidence—they've earned their place and they've just won three consecutive matches. I doubt the wildcards feel anything like that, but maybe if they could say "I earned my wildcard through winning such-&-such" it would be a start.

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Post by ListenUp Wed 25 Feb - 12:47

Sorry, that was very long. Erm

Or...

Maybe they should give out fewer wildcards. 8 per event is quite a lot, maybe they should cut it down to 4.
They don't have to award them all anyway—I think they didn't a couple of years ago—the spare places go to the next in line for direct entry.

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Post by laverfan Wed 25 Feb - 14:19

At one point Caroline Garcia was given a wild card @USO. Oudin had WCs, IIRC. It is very tough to put numbers/ranges which will usually weed out exceptional talent.

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Post by LuvSports! Wed 25 Feb - 19:57

Great post ListenUp! I am..... listening!

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Post by Born Slippy Wed 25 Feb - 21:00

I would be keen to see the winners of the junior slams given wild cards to all four slams the next year, if they wished to take them.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon 2 Mar - 8:33

I think nationality should not be a factor in the awarding of wild cards at slams. It gives a boost to British players which is unfair as players from many other countries do not have a home slam. Because the system of rankings only counts points from the last 12 months, I would give most wildcards to people that were ranked high enough but not recently enough, due to injury or other reasons. For example the following people ranked outside the top 100 might deserve a wilcard:
Ranked within top 50 in last 2 years
Ranked within top 20 in last 3 years
Ranked within top 10 in last 4 years
Ranked within top 5 in last 5 years
Ranked 1 within last 6 years

An age based system makes sense as well, e.g.

Ranked within top 200 and aged 17 or less
Ranked within top 400 and aged 16 or less

I don't think nationality should be a factor. Maybe at 250s where there are scores of them in all sorts of countries.

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Post by ListenUp Mon 2 Mar - 11:25

LuvSports! wrote:Great post ListenUp! I am..... listening!
Thanks, LuvSports.

When I chose ListenUp as a username years ago for the old 606, it wasn't intended to sound bossy. I actually named myself after a horse. Laugh

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Post by ListenUp Mon 2 Mar - 12:58

Henman Bill wrote:I think nationality should not be a factor in the awarding of wild cards at slams. It gives a boost to British players which is unfair as players from many other countries do not have a home slam. Because the system of rankings only counts points from the last 12 months, I would give most wildcards to people that were ranked high enough but not recently enough, due to injury or other reasons. For example the following people ranked outside the top 100 might deserve a wilcard:
Ranked within top 50 in last 2 years
Ranked within top 20 in last 3 years
Ranked within top 10 in last 4 years
Ranked within top 5 in last 5 years
Ranked 1 within last 6 years

An age based system makes sense as well, e.g.

Ranked within top 200 and aged 17 or less
Ranked within top 400 and aged 16 or less

I don't think nationality should be a factor. Maybe at 250s where there are scores of them in all sorts of countries.

I assume you only meant Wimbledon, rather than Slams in general, giving a boost to British players. I think a lot of people are concerned about the Slam nations' players getting an unfair advantage and would like to see a limit on the number of wildcards a slam can give to players from its own nation. I would like to reiterate though, that Wimbledon is currently the only Slam which regularly offers a significant number of wildcards to players from non-Slam nations. In the last year, the Slam wildcards have gone to:
France - 16
USA - 16
Australia - 15
GB - 8
Other nations - 9
Seven of those nine wildcards came from Wimbledon, the other two from the Australian Open.

While Wimbledon may be struggling to find British players it deems worthy of wildcards, they must at least have some sort of rationale for where to send all those others. The winner of the Nottingham Challenger is one (Marcos Baghdatis last year). It looks as if they have considered what Henman Bill suggests about previously high-ranked players, as they've recently included people like Vera Zvonareva, Andrea Petkovic & Lucie Hradecka (she has been top 50 - I checked  Smile ). I wonder though how many recently injured players have protected ranking they could use for entry, and leave the wildcards for someone else.

One reason I'm not keen on the reciprocal wildcard arrangement held by three of the Slams is that it kind of hides that they're keeping virtually all their wildcards at home. France in particular could do with a more transparent system; as far as I'm aware, they don't have any sort of wildcard challenge tournaments as the others do.

I read an interesting article about the unfairness of wildcard distribution about a year ago. It's here, in case anyone wants to read it. It's about wildcards in general, but does discuss the Slams.

Solving the wildcard issue in tennis
http://www.sportdw.com/2014/03/tennis-solving-problems-wildcards.html

The writer has lots of suggestions for making the allocation fairer. One is to give last year's junior winners a wildcard to the main draw, which Born Slippy suggested. Actually, I could have sworn a few years ago that this is something the Slams did in fact do, but it seems I was mistaken. The writer also suggests opening up those wildcard-winning tournaments to other nationalities. Another suggestion is reduce the number of main draw wildcards while increasing those into qualifying. As many tennis-goers do like to watch and support their "own" players, they could go and watch them there, and see more of them win than in the main draw. (This probably wouldn't work for Wimbledon as the qualies are held off-site and aren't well-attended, but why not, for the others?)

My own opinion is that eight wildcards per singles event is too many. Let a few more players ranked just outside the top 100 have direct entry.

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Post by MMT1 Thu 5 Mar - 13:27

I think tournaments should be free to give wildcards to whoever they want for whatever reason they want. The whole purpose of the wildcard is to give entry to someone who hasn't met the standard criteria for it, so what is the point of having standard criteria for the wildcards or pseudo-standard criteria like attitude and professionalism. Nobody's career has ever been turned around or saved by a wildcard that I can think of, and that's never been the purpose of them anyway. Let's not forget that tennis is a business, and if you want someone in the main draw that's going to put @$$es in the seats then by all means.
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