Based on his excellent performance in the last few weeks of the season, David Nalbandian moved all the way up the ATP Masters Cup Standings to become the first alternate for the year-end championships in Shanghai. However, Nalbandian elected to decline the invitation to travel to China as an alternate. David said that the trip was too far to go as an alternate and it made more sense for him to rest and then begin preparations for
the 2008 season. Nalbandian’s decision was definitely a blow for the ATP and the image of its year-end Masters Cup tournament. Would a player decline an invitation to be first alternate for a Grand Slam such as Wimbledon? It’s highly unlikely and illustrates the status and timing problems facing the Tour’s year-end championships. Although there is a lot of money at stake in both the men’s ATP Masters Cup and the women’s Sony Ericsson Championships, the top players are usually very tired mentally and physically after a long season. Unfortunately, a player’s interests are not always completely in sync with the Tour’s primary interests. In the end, tennis is an individual sport and players must focus on their own best interests.