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Wimbledon chairman eyes ticketing change, hits out at tennis calendar

All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) chairman Philip Brook has said the organisation is considering changing its traditional ballot process for tickets to the Wimbledon grand slam tournament and has also criticised the ongoing battle for power in the sport involving the revamped Davis Cup and the new ATP Cup.

The ticketing system has been part of the traditions of Wimbledon with UK fans being asked to send in an application for the ballot via mail, rather than online. However, in an interview with the 2 Barrys Tennis Takeaway podcast, run by former player Barry Cowan, and broadcaster, Barry Millns, Brook said AELTC is open to changing this.

“It is hard work,” he said. “You have to send in a form with a stamped-addressed envelope. We have for the last three or four years put our overseas ballot online. This is a bit of a test to see what happens.

“We are looking closely at the whole question of the ballot and whether we might move it online. We are a bit worried about that, (as) we might be completely swamped with demand. Secondly, we think with a paper-based system it is harder for people to cheat.”

Meanwhile, Brook has hit out at the battle between the International Tennis Federation (ITF), and its plans to revamp the Davis Cup, and the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals, whose new ATP Cup team competition is set to launch next year.

The ATP and Tennis Australia this month confirmed that Sydney and Brisbane will host the new ATP Cup, with a third city to be confirmed soon. The ATP first unveiled the new competition, which is set to compete with the Davis Cup, back in November. The event is due to start the men’s tennis season from 2020, with Australia having been lined up to host ahead of the Australian Open.

Brook said: “It makes no sense organising the tennis calendar in the way that tennis is going about it. Probably both events won’t do very well because of it. What seems to be missing is enough goodwill in the system to enable that to change.

“It’s better for the sport as a whole for some of things at the heart of the sport to be owned by everybody and not by individual parts of it. The calendar would be a good example, but the ranking system would be right up there as well.

“It cannot be right that the Davis Cup will not have ranking points and yet this new tournament that is part-owned by the ATP will. The reason is because of who owns the ranking system (the ATP) – and that’s a nonsense.”

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