Wimbledon chairman Philip Brook joins Barry Millns and Barry Cowan on their tennis podcast
Barry Millns and Barry Cowan commentated together for Sky Sports for 17 years and are now fronting a brand new tennis podcast
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 16/01/19 12:19pm
Wimbledon chairman Philip Brook joins The 2 Barry's Tennis Takeaway Podcast for its launch and says there are too many team events in the men's game.
Brook, who will be stepping down as chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) at the end of next year, has held the position since December 2010, and he is set to end a nine-year tenure in December 2019 with the new chairman expected to be confirmed in the spring.
Barry Millns visited Brook and the chairman was very vocal when speaking about the amount of team events and ranking point system in the men's game.
The introduction of the new ATP Cup in 2020 will mean it joins the newly revamped Davis Cup and already popular Laver Cup in a busy tennis calendar.
It makes no sense having Davis Cup at the end of November and the ATP Cup in the first week of January - they're literally five weeks apart and probably both tournaments won't do very well because of it.
"It makes no sense organising tennis' calendar in the way tennis is organising it," said Brook. "I think nobody agrees with each of the people involved in Laver Cup, Davis Cup and now the ATP Cup. And all of them would agree that there are too many team events.
"It makes no sense having the Davis Cup at the end of November and the ATP Cup in the first week of January - they're literally five weeks apart and probably both tournaments won't do very well because of it.
"What actually seems to be missing is enough goodwill in the system to enable that to change.
"There isn't a governing body for the sport and that is the route of this problem. There are seven stakeholders, the four Grand Slams, ATP, WTA, and ITF, and those seven organisations operate marginally independently of each other so they have made decisions that suit them and don't suit other people - that's the issue we've faced.
"The ranking system has to be right up there as well because it cannot be right that the new Davis Cup will not have ranking points and yet this new tournament that is part-owned by ATP five weeks later, will. The reason behind that is because of who owns the ranking system, and that is a nonsense, I think."
Tennis broadcasters Barry Cowan and Barry Millns interview major figures in the sport, plus other high profile tennis fans! Click on the link below to listen to the first episode.
Millns began by asking Brook what the major challenges have been since he started his role nine years ago.
"The biggest challenge is a growing challenge," he revealed. "If I look back eight years the world of tennis was a relatively calm place and what's we've seen in recent years has been quite a lot of turmoil, quite a lot of change.
"Wimbledon is one of seven major stakeholders in the sport and does what it can in influence change, but we don't decide.
"There are things that are happening and continue to happen that are quite difficult and challenging for tennis."
Brook believes a three-week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon was one of his big successes early on in his role as chairman.
He said: "There was not enough time for players to fully recover properly and then prepare on a different surface on grass. From 2015, the three week period was created.
"We have four years of a three-week gap and each year has got a little bit better as we've worked to improve that period of preparation. I think now it's in a pretty good place."
Brook also discusses the new No 1 Court roof at Wimbledon, which will open this spring, the introduction of the 12-all tie-break in the fifth set, and the acquisition of the nearby golf course in the aim to bring Wimbledon qualification over from Roehampton to the main site.
"In a few years time the All England Club will have the opportunity to use all of that land for the benefit primarily of the All England Championships. We've had a long-term ambition of bringing Wimbledon qualifying on site," Brook said.
"It's a big piece of land, it's about 88 acres of land - we are currently 40 acres to the west of Church Road. If you close your eyes and imagine 10 or 15 years from now, Church Road being bridged over and it being one site rather than two. You can start to imagine the queuing experience, as an example, being so much better.
"You can imagine increased ground capacity, you could imagine a second 'Henman Hill' for example, and maybe some Championship courts, but we are very respectful of the heritage of the piece of land so whatever we do, we will do with the agreement of Merton council."
The 2 Barry's Tennis Takeaway Podcast will be made widely available on different platforms and supported by a new website The2barrys.com where visitors can catch up with any feature interviews they might have missed or want to hear again. You can also follow them on Twitter @the2barrys