Another really informative post by Kamakshi Tandon at ESPN.com on the Roadmap. Two things that are new to me:
7. Marquee list
The allocation of top-six players to premier events will be determined not by ranking but by a newly created marquee list, although the format is still under discussion. According to Allaster, it could be based simply on tournament directors' ratings of the players' marquee values, or go the opposite way and be based only on year-end rankings.
The tour's current Gold and Silver exemption lists, which are a hybrid of marquee value and rankings, will no longer be in use.
I'll be honest, I didn't know there was some form of this "marquee list" already in existence. The whole concept of it is interesting though. I mean, it is really any shock who the players with the most marquee value are? But it seems kind of cold to put that on paper.
9. Fewer byes
For the moment, byes have been removed at midlevel events such as Sydney, Stuttgart and Stanford, which often attract a number of top players. That means the top four players would have to win five matches rather than four to win the tournament. For them, four of these events without byes would involve the same number of matches as winning five events with byes. That effectively would wipe out the gains of having to play 16 events next year rather than this year's 17.
Currently, there are no byes at the mandatory events in Madrid and Beijing, which require winning six matches to win the tournament. However, Allaster says that byes may be introduced at these events because they are during the week after premier five events in Rome and Tokyo, respectively. Without byes, top players would face the prospect of having to play 11 matches in two weeks.
So this gives some context to Sven and Serena's concerns, which I wrote about the other day. If you remove byes from some of the smaller "Tier II" tourneys, then you can't sell this idea that the players are playing less. They're still cramming the same number of matches into a shorter time frame.
Eleven matches in 14 days? Uh, that's the reward for being really good at my job? More work? Yeah, that doesn't fly in the real world, and it definitely won't fly with the pajama clad ladies of the WTA.