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Proposal for Tennis’ Grand Slams to Revolutionize the Sport with a ‘Premier Tour’ Deal

The premier tennis tournaments are seeking to form a partnership with other major tournaments in the sport in an effort to revolutionize the game. The initiative aims to create a premium tour resembling a tennis version of Formula 1, incorporating at least the 10 largest tournaments and the Grand Slam events. There is growing acceptance among top executives and players that the current state of tennis is not working optimally, with criticisms including a confusing fan experience, financial losses, and an overtaxing schedule for top players leading to injuries and mental fatigue. Recognizing the need to prevent disruptive changes like those seen in golf recently, seven governing bodies overseeing tennis are considering forming an elite collection of events and a simplified season.

Senior officials in tennis have anticipated a proposal from the leading entities in the sport to create a premium tour, with discussions remaining fluid and positive. The Grand Slams have not yet signed the next agreement with the tours, signaling that significant transformations are on the horizon. The plan is to present the proposal at the Australian Open in January, with possible expansion beyond only the Grand Slams and top-level events. One of the primary aims is to close the gaps in prestige, importance, and financial strength between the Grand Slams and the other major events, ultimately growing the premium product.

The proposed plan aligns with the ATP Tour’s chief executive’s goal of narrowing these gaps, though the role of the tours themselves moving forward remains uncertain. A major focus is on creating a calendar that is easier to follow, with top players focusing on the top-level tour and smaller tournaments featuring developing players. Professional Tennis Players Association members have expressed support for the plan.

The prospect of a premium tour offers the opportunity for players to earn more money while competing less, leading to a more simplified version of the sport. Potential changes to how rights are sold and revenues are divided are also under consideration, with the expectation that the process would take some time to come into full effect.

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