It looks like the "kinky" kinks in the proposed WTA Roadmap for 2009 have been ironed out after lengthy discussions with the top ladies in Doha last week. Specifically, the players agreed to a compromise regarding top player entry into certain midlevel tourneys, and while byes will generally be eliminated for all tourneys, they were reinstated in Rome and Tokyo for the semifinalists at Madrid and Beijing:
Upon reviewing the finer points of the plan, some top players expressed unhappiness with details of the provisions. Those have been smoothed over during meetings and discussions with players this week, Scott said.
For example, restrictions were lifted on midlevel ($700,000) events to avoid a situation where players were denied entry or tournaments were forced to increase prize money to meet the criteria for higher-quality fields.
Also, byes will be awarded to semifinalists at tournaments in Rome and Tokyo, allowing them first-round passes at tour events the following weeks in Madrid and Beijing. Scott said this decision was based on players' health, since going deep in the back-to-back tournaments could potentially force them to play 11 matches in 14 days.
The rationale for permitting byes for Rome and Tokyo:
“Rome is a 56-draw tournament followed by Madrid which is a 64-draw tournament (beginning) on Saturday.
“Similarly in the fall, Tokyo is a 56-draw tournament followed by Beijing, which is a 64-draw tournament. Those tournaments overlapped very closely. Players were concerned it was too many matches in too few days.”
The solution was to re-introduce byes for the semi-finalists in Rome and Tokyo.
“Specifically, what we’ve agreed is that we are going to award four byes to the semi-finalists in Rome, into the Madrid tournament, and four byes to the semi-finalists from Tokyo into the Beijing tournament,” said Scott.
“Therefore, for those players that have to play the most matches in Rome and Tokyo respectively, they can start later and have one less match in a subsequent event.
Sounds like everyone's happy.