|Gold medalist Andy Murray of Britain looks on as silver medalist Roger Federer of Switzerland shakes hands with bronze medalist Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina during the presentation ceremony following the men's singles tennis gold medal match.(Dominic Ebenbichler/REUTERS)
TORONTO - If you spin the clock ahead four years, you'll probably find many of the problems that plagued the Rogers Cup this year are going to be ticking people off again.
Blame the Olympic Games.
The Olympics were at least partially responsible for the withdrawl of legendary Swiss player Roger Federer prior to the Rogers Cup. And point the finger at the Games for some of the top seeds, many of whom were gassed from a hectic schedule and travel, bowing out early.
But you know what? It's probably going to happen again in 2016 when the Olympics shift to Rio de Janeiro. Those Olympics will be held around the same time as the Toronto tourney.
The ATP Tour knows it's a problem but, frankly, there is little it can do about it.
"When you have an Olympic year, it's a challenge," ATP president Brad Drewett acknowledged Saturday during an interview with a small group of reporters. "The dates of the Olympics in '16 are around about the same time as this year.
Beiijing (in 2008) scheduled tennis early in the Olympics and Sydney (2000) was later. Rio (2016) is expected to follow China’s lead with an early August schedule.
“We obviously can't dictate where the Olympic Games go, that's up to them to decide. But we deal closely with the ITF on issues like, is the tennis in the Olympic Games the first week or the second week?” he said. “Once again, we don't control the ITF but we obviously give them our input and hopefully they take it on board.
"In '16 there is going to be a challenge once again. Certainly it does create, potentially, some issues."
The Rogers Cup was tweaked a bit this year, with the singles draw being reduced from 56 to 48 players, and the top 16 receiving byes. There's little else the ATP can do to make this tournament more attractive to players — it's already a mandatory stop — and give them enough time to get back to 100% before competing here.
"We'll sit and talk again and see what we can do to reduce the challenges," Drewett said. "But I don't want to sit here and say 'Well, there's some silver bullet where you just go, wow. Bang. Sold.' Past this episode we will sit down ... and look at what happened, what didn't happen, and come up with some ideas which we'll talk to the ITF.
"It is what it is. I'm not trying to say it's not an issue, it certainly is, but it's something we face and the players face all year round in different ways and shapes and forms, not just the Olympics."
So, reading between the lines, we'd better get used to the Olympics impacting the Rogers Cup.