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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 October 2006, 07:13 GMT 08:13 UK
ATP to trial round-robin format
Tennis
The ATP has announced that 13 men's tournaments will have round-robin formats for the 2007 season.

The Stella Artois Championships at Queen's Club in London is one of the events that will use the system.

The round-robin format, which has been opposed by some players, will be trialled for one year.

"Our research with fans, tournaments and media indicate a preference for round-robin," said ATP Executive Chairman Etienne De Villiers.

"We are going to test different formats and see which ones we will introduce and into what type of event for 2008.

This will be good for our tournaments, for us the players and especially for fans and television

Rafael Nadal

"It is the 'do it, try it, fix it' approach.

"I recognise some players are opposed or indifferent but we will diligently build our research based on the results and do what's best for the fans."

The ATP hopes the new format will increase spectator value for money and boost interest from the media and sponsors.

And world number two Rafael Nadal has given his support.

"I think this is a great idea," the Spanish star said. "Finally we really move forward and we do something really good for our sport.

"This will be good for our tournaments, for us the players and especially for fans and television since they will be able to have and see their favourite players more than once for sure."

But critics, including former women's world number one Lindsay Davenport, say the new set-up could lead to players not trying if they knew they would not be eliminated with a defeat.

There will be three different types of round-robin competition, 24, 36 and 48-player formats.

The Adelaide International, which starts on 31 December, will be the first tournament to trial the system.

Delray Beach and the RCA Championships in Indianapolis will also have round-robin formats although none of the Masters Series are included in the trial.

The ATP added that some tournaments, including the Masters Series events in Monte Carlo and Montreal, would start on a Sunday.



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