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So in the 2014 ATP Tour finals, Milos Raonic has pulled out with an injury but he is being replaced by David Ferrer.

http://www1.skysports.com/tennis/news/20876/9562596/atp-world-tour-finals-injury-forces-milos-raonic-out-and-replaced-by-david-ferrer

This seems rather unprecedented. Tennis (singles) is not really a team sport - it's not like football where one player can get injured in the middle of the game and be replaced by another player. Even in other tennis tournaments, if a player injures himself, he can't just get someone to replace him for the rest of the tournament.

So aside from wanting to know why he would be replaced, I would like to know what the competition rules are now. Raonic has already played two matches - Ferrer only has one left in the group stage. Granted Raonic lost both his matches so isn't able to qualify for the semi final anyway, but if he had won these matches, does Ferrer inherit these wins? If he doesn't, what's the point in Ferrer even playing since there is no chance for him to reach the semi finals with playing only one game.

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As you might already know, there have been alternates designated for the World Tour Finals for many years now. It's not really a new idea. The main difference between the World Tour Finals and every other event is the round-robin format it is played with versus the single elimination format that every other tournament on the calendar plays under. With a single elimination format it's simple - you withdraw due to injury or retire mid-match, then you lose, and your scheduled opponent moves on to the "next round". Since you can't do that with the round robin format, you need alternates. Also - alternates serve a purpose for the other players in the draw - since those players advance to the semi-finals based on their combination of matches won, sets won, and games won during group stage play. So they need the opportunity to play all 3 scheduled matches to see how their results can (evenly) compare to the other players in their group.

If you reference page 40 of the ATP Rulebook, it speaks about how alternates are only eligible to receive points and prize money for their play, but they cannot advance out of the group stage play unless they replace someone before that person plays their first match - in which case they are made a direct entry. Ferrer does not 'inherit' any of Raonic's wins or losses - only his own from the matches he plays in.

Also, just try to imagine all that goes into an event like the World Tour Finals - the scheduling, the ticket sales for each session, the television broadcasting schedule, everyone else involved (tournament staff, ball kids, etc..etc. There's a reason the World Tour Finals have alternate players on stand-by so that even if a player (like Raonic in this case) withdraws from injury - someone else can step in and fill his place and everything (I mentioned above) can continue to run smoothly. Even with it being tennis -it's still a business underneath it all. They don't want to just tell all of the ticket holders "sorry but the guy said he can't play" if they can bring someone else in that's (usually) just as good.

  • Since Ferrer was the official standby player in case of injury, what happens if yet another player gets injured with RR match still to play. Who comes in then. The next player in the ATP rankings? – KharoBangdo Nov 14 '14 at 5:58
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    Yes. There are 2 singles players designated as alternates before the tournament begins. David Ferrer was the first alternate and Feliciano Lopez is the second alternate. If more than 2 players got injured and had to withdraw, the ATP would solicit the next highest-ranked player to join - though participation by those players would be entirely voluntary - just as being an alternate is. I believe the only reason Feliciano Lopez is the second alternate is because Grigor Dimitrov declined being an alternate for this years event. – jamauss Nov 14 '14 at 6:50

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