Andy Murray confirms strike threat

Picture of Andy MurrayGety Images

You read it right - tennis ace Andy Murray has confirmed there's a serious threat of a strike by tennis players if the demands put upon them by the people running the championships don't ease off a bit. He may or may not have an a point - but my understanding is that the most effective strikes usually inconvenience more people than the strikers and their employers.
Top players are meeting in Shanghai next month to work out some proposals to change the tennis calendar, and Murray has confirmed that he's spoken to a number of players and nobody has ruled a strike out yet. He told the BBC that he hopes it doesn't come to that, of course, but the possibility has to be acknowledged.

Masters back to back

The problem came to a head when Association of Tennis Professionals chief executive Adam Helfant announced last year that the Paris Masters and the World Tour Finals would be played back to back. Rafael Nadal has already had a gruelling schedule this year, playing three matches in three days to get to the US Open finals, having a single day off before a four hour match with Djocovic and then getting on a plane to Spain immediately for another match.

There's certainly a limit to what the human frame can take, although some of the sportspeople around today achieve feats which would have been beyond the imagination a couple of generations ago. This is because the racquets, surfaces, tennis shoes and nutrition/exercise have improved as has the prize money and therefore application of the competitors - there hasn't been a sudden evolution in the human body!

Effective strike?

The issue facing the players - and at least one tennis council says they voted for the increased workload in the first place - isn't that they need to establish that they're under strain. Many people will agree but others will point out that they gain handsomely from this strain, more than previous generations, and this is how they are tested as athletes.

It's that nobody gets inconvenienced by this strike, if it comes to that, other than the players, the sports ground, the sponsors - in other words only the people in the tennis "bubble" are actually inconvenienced. It's therefore difficult - possibly even impossible - to see who, other than we tennis fans, actually gets affected before the players and their bank balances start to hurt, and therefore why such a strike would achieve much.

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