The curious case of Pol Toledo Bagué

The readers of this blog and my followers on Twitter know very well how many times I wrote about bad conditions of some ITF pro tournaments and about the low prize money for players.

Last Friday I noticed some tweets of the spanish player Pol Toledo Bagué

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At first sight you could understand that the spaniard could not play ATP Barcelona quali because of the behaviour of Mr. Pier Luigi Grana, ITF Supervisor of this week ITF Italy F6.

On Saturday Pol explained the situation in a letter published by PlanetaTenisFM and also on Twitter you could see some attention about this

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Here is a little summary of what happened.

On Friday at 5 PM Pol Toledo Baguè started his doubles match in Reus (Spain F9 final).

At 5.30 PM Pol’s coach was informed that his pupil received a WC for ATP Barcelona quali draw.

Pol was on Acceptance List of the Main Draw of Italy F6 of next week, so he should have withdrawn from the tournament

You have to know that players have to withdraw before the “Freezing Deadline

The Freeze Deadline occurs at 14:00hrs GMT on the Thursday preceding the tournament week. At this point, players who have moved into a Main Draw or Qualifying Draw Acceptance List are then committed to play in that tournament

But ITF allows some execptions

How can I withdraw from either the Main Draw or Qualifying Draw?

There are only two ways to withdraw:

1. Prior to the Freeze Deadline, players can withdraw online

2. By faxing or emailing a completed and signed ITF Withdrawal Form to the ITF Office, and if withdrawing after the Freeze Deadline also to the ITF Supervisor on-site, so that it reaches the Supervisor by the Qualifying Sign-in Deadline. Withdrawals cannot be made over the phone.

Please note:

• You may withdraw late, for any reason and without incurring a fine, from up to three tournaments in a calendar year as long as you submit each withdrawal prior to the relevant Qualifying Sign-in Deadline.

So Pol was allowed to withdraw “late” but as Mr. Grana told to the spaniard’s staff he had to send a signed letter to officially inform ITF Office and Supervisor.

Mr. Grana also said that he had to receive that letter within 6 pm. Unfortunately Pol was playing the doubles and could not send any letter. You can understand how much he was disappointed and angry but in my opinion there is a big problem in this story.

Pol wrote in his letter:

La cuestión es que no está escrito en ningún lado que yo tenga que enviarlo a esa hora.

So he was angry because, in his opinion, Mr. Grana should have not put the deadline for receiving the Withdrawal Letter at 6 pm. Translating from Spanish to English he wrote “It’s not written anywhere that I have to send within a certain hour”.

Unfortunately for Pol, ITF rule is very clear and I write it again

• You may withdraw late, for any reason and without incurring a fine, from up to three tournaments in a calendar year as long as you submit each withdrawal prior to the relevant Qualifying Sign-in Deadline.

Guess which was the Qualifying Sign-In Deadline for ITF Italy F6?

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Oh yes, 6 PM.

So in the end I can understand Pol being sad for missing his home tournament but there are a few things that I do not understand:

  • How can a professional player complain without knowing the rules of his job
  • Why ATP Barcelona organizers informed him about the WC so late
  • Why noone of the journalists involved (or the player himself) wrote anything about this after I explained (via twitter) them the true situation

I wonder also which will be ITF reaction to this, having a player attacked (just with words of course) an ITF Representative that just did what he is paid for and supposed to do.

ITF has very big margins for improvement but I think that this is not the right way to ask for a better situation.

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