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Sharapova, Wozniacki differ on Roadmap





March 13, 2012



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Maria Sharapova, who will be 25 next month, is at the point her career when she has no desire to add tournaments to her already fairly full schedule. Caroline Wozniacki, 21, is not. The Dane says that the WTA Roadmap, which defines tournament entry  and player obligation rules, is restricting her too much.

For top 10 players, WTA rules mandate that players must compete in the four Grand Slams, the WTA Championships if a player qualifies, four Premier Mandatory tournaments (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing) , four Premier 5 events, and two Premier 700 tournaments for a total of 15. They are also given the option of playing two International Series events.

Former No. 1 Wozniacki attempted to enter  the 700 tournament in Charleston next month, but also had put 700 tournaments Dubai and Stuttgart in her requested schedule last fall, and those were the two tournaments she was designated to play.

Tournaments like Charleston can only have two top 6 players in the field and if they want more they must hike up their prize money.

Samantha  Stosur and Maria Sharapova were the two top 6 players who entered before Wozniacki, which left the Dane on the outside looking in.

"I think [my] schedule would look just a little bit different," said Wozniacki, who is a member of the WTA Players Council.  "Of course, as a player everyone wants to play the four Grand Slams and Indian Wells, Miami -- the biggest tournaments.  But sometimes the ones in between you would probably think, 'Okay, what suits me? Where do I like to play? Where is the places where I do usually good results?  Or where do I feel like my body just needs a break?'

“Think you would just make some adjustments and make it better for yourself.  In other sports they definitely don't have as many restrictions as we have. Going into the New Year I know exactly what I'm going to play.  I don't really have a choice, to be honest. Everything is set and I can maybe decide what two small tournaments I want to play.  One of them is [and international series tournament] in Copenhagen, which I don't have to, but I want to play.  So I have one more tournament that is actually flexible. Then we have the rules with only two top six players allowed to play the 700,000s, which also says, Okay, I want to play Charleston [ a $700,000].  No, you're not allowed to.  Why not?  I'm defending champion.  Why can I not play? Well, you had two other commitments. It's just bad luck.  I think there are some rules that could be done better.”

Sharapova - who underwent near career ending shoulder surgery in late 2008 -- has no desire to go beyond 15 tournaments and actually said that it would be mini miracle if she even played 15.

“Oh, yeah.  I'm doing jumping jacks,” she said with a laugh.  [Caroline]  likes to play a lot of tournaments.  I think, to be honest, when the new rules came in a few years ago with the Roadmap and everything, it didn't really change much of my schedule because I pretty much had that same schedule before that Roadmap came into place, usually the big tournaments are the ones that I wanted to play. I'm not really the one to play extra tournaments throughout the year.  I think it just depends on the player.  I know that she's someone that likes to play a lot of tournaments and matches.  In a way, that's great if she can be healthy and play that much. That's just too much for me.  So I can't say bad things about it because it's really what I had before it came out.”

Wozniacki is still open to playing Charleston, March 31 - April 8 at the Family Circle Tennis Center, and it looks like in the end she may have the opportunity, because even though Sharapova entered, a source told Daily Tennis News at this point she has not intention of playing it because she is trying to save her body for the wear and tear of the summer, which this year will include the Olympics.


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