Spilled alphabet soup 

Standing at the to

Standing at the top of stadium court at the Indianapolis Tennis Center, one can see Riley Hospital off in the distance. Below, the players look far away. Unfortunately, this perspective may be the most appropriate metaphor for the status of the 2003 RCA Tennis Championships. A dispute between tournament organizers and the Association of Tennis Professionals appears ready to move the tournament from its historical place as a warm-up for the U.S. Open to late July. The lawsuit alleges that the ATP put pressure on NBC to pull out of its TV contract to show the RCAs. While the problem looks more like spilled alphabet soup than an issue affecting Riley Hospital for Children, the latter is actually the case. The RCA Championships have contributed millions of dollars to Riley over the years. The question is, will moving the RCA Championships to July actually cause any harm? Television money follows the top players and the move could create more opportunity rather than less. Many top players are represented by the omnipresent Clear Channel Communications, which also runs the ATP Masters series, a competing tournament. Absent that competition, some players believe more of their colleagues could come to Indianapolis. "This is a great tournament and we"ve always been treated well," said tournament singles champion Greg Rusedski. "Without the Washington tourney going head to head, I"d bet more guys would come here. July is still a part of hardcourt season." Tournament runner-up Felix Mantilla echoed Rusedski by saying, "I loved playing here in Indianapolis this week. Hopefully, the people of Indianapolis know that I gave my heart to them and I"d love to come back here." The tournament was able to attract the World No. 1, Lleyton Hewitt, but did not have the names most recognizable to people on the street, like Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras or Andy Roddick. While officials at the RCA Championships declined comment, the ATP released a statement saying, "As a governing body, the ATP must make scheduling decisions every year that serve the best interest of the overall circuit and all its members."

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