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Kermode Is Visiting ATP Tournaments World Wide








To the perception of many, top-flight tennis is currently enjoying a post Wimbledon hiatus or a summer break before the intensity of the US Open series begins.

Indeed the sport’s most photogenic couple Maria Sharapova and Grigor Dimitrov have been caught by paparazzi taking it easy in Mexico, Rafael Nadal acting similarly in Ibiza and world no.1 Novak Djokovic is enjoying his honeymoon.

However there is no letup in the hectic travel schedule of the ATP World Tour’s executive chairman and president Chris Kermode who is committed to sample as many tournaments as possible in his first year in office to determine what changes could be made to streamline men’s tennis is the future.

This week Kermode was in Hamburg for the bet-at-home Open, once a major event in the Masters 1000 roster, then the center of a massive law suit between the ATP World Tour and the Deutscher Tennis Bund (German Tennis Federation) and now, under the tournament directorship of former Wimbledon champion Michael Stich, making a determined effort to prove the historic Rothenbaum can still lure the big crowds.

Factions of the DTB were under the opinion the Hamburg tournament’s future was again precarious if Stich and his fellow organizers did not change the surface from clay to grass and now Stuttgart has agreed to the switch in time for the enlarged gap between the French Open and Wimbledon in 2015.

Kermode refuted claims saying: “I've definitely never heard of such a thing, and there is not anything like a threat on our side. Stuttgart has finally agreed to go to grass and that's a great thing that we support very much. But that does not mean that other tournaments in Germany have a disadvantage. The fact is that Hamburg is an important tournament for us. ”

The 49 year-old Englishman who was appointed the ATP chief at the close of last year to succeed the late Brad Drewett was not prepared to make any long term promises for any tournament beyond 2018.

“The same is true for each of our 61 events in 31 countries,” said Kermode. “We will subject all our tournaments a thorough investigation in the coming year and look where we need to make changes. Our plan is that for 2018 we can set binding prize money and formulate up the calendar so that the organizers can plan long term. Perhaps these investigations will show that everything right now is good.”

Kermode maintained his goal was to make each tournament on the ATP World Tour increasingly attractive. However he is also intent on safeguarding the welfare for the top players who need a less physically demanding schedule with the possibility of more breaks.

As being both a former player and a tournament director, with a long history at London’s Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club and more recently the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, he can see issues from both sides. “My job is to see these conflicting issues that some take for granted,” he said . “As a player, you do not have sound knowledge of the business done by a tournament director.  As the organizer you might see too much the economic side. Because I know both sides from my own experience, I see myself as somebody who can bring the two sides together.”

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