Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon explains a bizarre story in the world of tennis.

A week ago in this space, I wrote about the weird story of a young man who had awoken from an 11-year coma to find out that his favourite Roger Federer was still a dominant player on the ATP World Tour.

It’s not an especially great column, but we can only make the most of what we have. And what we have, in October in North America, is a whole lot of football and, very soon (i.e. this week? Already? It can’t be), hockey.

In the column, I explained that now is the time to revisit some of the ideas I had shelved for later. Except that this year, the post-US Open period has been rather fruitful for relevant and timely ideas.

For example, the following was announced on September 22.

One of the most powerful women in sports—that’s officially, according to Forbes—Stacey Allaster had been chair and CEO of the WTA Tour from July 2009 until this past Oct. 2, 2015.

As has been hinted, notably in the embedded press release, the 52-year-old Canadian resigned for personal reasons and cited the loss of her brother-in-law and also the death of her ATP World Tour counterpart Brad Drewett. In an exclusive interview with The New York Times, she’s admitted to being not ill but «profoundly weary.»

There’s no doubt that the WTA is losing quite an asset. If she was one of the most powerful women in sports, it’s because under her leadership the Tour has secured one billion dollars in something called «diversified contract revenues,» as the press release states.

There’s no real point in discussing what exactly those revenues include, or don’t include; we’ll just mention that one billion dollars just sounds like a whole lot of money. Under Allaster’s guidance, the association became perhaps the most powerful professional women’s association in the world.

She’s fought for, and obtained equal pay for her players at six WTA events and all four Grand Slams. If that sounds admirable, it’s because it is.

If there’s one thing we do find a little odd, it may be the timing of Allaster’s decision. It comes at the end of September and went into effect at the beginning of October; this means that Allaster was foregoing the rest of her contract, which had been extended until 2017. It also means that she was stepping away before finding a main sponsor for the WTA.

Both are fine.

It also means that the BNP Paribas WTA Tour Finals, from October 25 to November 1 and a huge success in their Singapore debut a year ago, would be played without the WTA chair and CEO who has most been associated with the Tour’s efforts to grow the game in Asia. Though, oh well I guess, the heart knows what the heart needs and if it needs a break then so it is, and so on.

All that being said, you might have thought about something else this past week; there’s the news of Allaster stepping down, yes, but that’s not all. There’s also something called Jello Tennis; click «Play» if you must.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG


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