Doubles players proposed changes by the ATP

The world's top men's doubles players have taken their organization to court, contending proposed changes by the ATP will run them out of the game.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Houston, says doubles specialists will be undermined by the ATP's call for enhanced doubles competition. The ATP recently announced changes in the rules concerning scoring in doubles, as well as how players would qualify for doubles tournaments, according to the plaintiffs. The players contend the ATP has unfairly changed the system to exclude doubles players in favor of singles players, upsetting long traditions in the sport. Other doubles specialists who joined the suit include Knowles' doubles partner, Daniel Nestor of Canada; brothers Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States and Mahesh Bhupathi of India. The complaint, filed Thursday, seeks a court order to stop the ATP's and its directors' "alleged unlawful and anticompetitive conduct against athletes who excel in doubles," according to a news release released by the players' lawyers. The new requirements will not extend to the four Grand Slam tournaments or the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup, which are governed by the International Tennis Federation. The players argue, however, the rules will keep most doubles stars from those events because of the ATP ranking system changes, AP reports.

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