A new season of NCAA and NFL football are finally here to provide relief from the never-ending monotony of Major League Baseball!

In addition to an opening Saturday full of dramatic college football finishes, the weekend offered a memorable end to the professional tennis season. First, the men’s semifinal gave viewers a classic five-set battle between tennis legend Roger Federer and future legend Novak Djokovic. Roger won the first two sets, then gave up the next two, and had two match points in the fifth set. Novak answered with a killer forehand return to extend the match, then rallied the crowd and himself to seize victory, celebrating with a trademark dance. He outlasted Rafa Nadal in the final on Monday to take his first U.S. Open Championship.

Serena Williams cruised through the tournament, but lost her composure and the championship to Aussie Sam Stosur in straight sets on Sunday.

Longtime JETLaw Blog readers are probably asking, “Hey, it looks like you just watched a lot of awesome tennis matches and football games this weekend instead of choosing a blog topic with legal relevance. What gives?”

Let me finish. This U.S. Open did raise an important legal issue. Andy Roddick may lead the charge to create a players’ union after concerns over dangerous, slippery courts delayed certain matches. According to Roddick, tennis players only receive about 13% of total revenues, far less than some other sports. A union would provide far more leverage to negotiate higher pay.

Another consideration is that professional tennis has thus far avoided a steroid scandal; will a players’ union affect steroid use? The greatest success of the MLB players’ union was avoiding steroid testing, thus ruining the game of baseball. Hopefully a tennis union will avoid providing a similar cushion for its athletes.

- Andrew Ralls

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3 Responses to Andy Roddick et al. Push for Tennis Players’ Union

  1. spals says:

    It would be interesting to see how tennis players would function in a union because they will each be coming from an individual perspective, rather than as part of a team. That’s a lot more people to make happy.

  2. Andrew Ralls says:

    I agree that Andy isn’t ideal, but he’d still be better than Serena, right? I think Federer would be perfect for the job.

  3. Jeremy Gove says:

    I think that a tennis union might be a good idea because in addition to the 13% figure of revenues that you mentioned it is a sport that has one of the shortest off seasons. The year-end Barclay’s Championship for the top-8 players doesn’t finish until November 27, and the new season begins in early January with Australian Open tuneups. However, I think that Andy Roddick is the wrong person from a tennis perspective to lead such a movement. On court and in the press room he seems like a petulant child who doesn’t get his way. If the movement were to have true success I think that some of the game’s elder statesman like Ivan Ljubicic or some of the younger more respected players like Federer and Nadal are going to have to become involved. Otherwise I would imagine it will not gain the popular support it needs.