The Men's international Professional Tennis Council announced its 1982 tournament schedule today with a new demand on players: commit by Sept. 15 to play at least 10 of the 91 tournaments or be required to play qualifiers to get into any tournament, including the four grand slam events.
The new minimum is the Volvo Grand Prix's way of combatting Lamar Hunt's newly revived and competitive WCT circuit, which has been signing up players for its $7 million 1981 tour. The Grand Prix tour is worth $14 million, plus a $3 million bonus pool at season's end.
"We are just asking the players to perhaps play a little more often," said Philippe Chatrier, president of the council and the International Tennis Federation. "If they want to play WCT, they can."
With six days left to the deadline, neither Bjorn Borg nor John McEnroe has made a commitment to the Volvo tour. Chatrier said he is "extremely hopeful" they will sign up.
The week of July 19 is on the Volvo schedule as a stop in Washington. As of now, after the folding of The Washington Star, sponsor of the Washington stop for 13 years, there is no sponsor.
"I'm still talking to Time (Inc.) about the possibility of their taking over the tournament," said Donald Dell, who was one of the organizers of the Star tournament. "If that doesn't work out, I expect to talk to Don Graham (publisher of The Washington Post) about taking over. I haven't got a sponsor yet, but I'm confident I will."
If Dell gets a sponsor, it will have to put up at least $200,000, the new Grand Prix minimum, up from $175,000.