The MIAMI MASTERS 1000 'BATTLE OF THE BOARDS' PICK 'EM contest is now open for entries at http://www.britishtennis.net/Competitions.html
Qualifiers will be placed at about 22.00 GMT (6 pm US EDT), but you are welcome to enter before that if you need to, as long as you don't mind picking matches involving qualifiers 'blind'.
Entries will close at 14.00 GMT (10 pm US EDT) on Wednesday.
As usual, if anyone would like to encourage potential new team members by telling them how much fun these competitions are, please go ahead.
--------------------------------------------------------Advance notice - schedule for the rest of the year
The next BOTB pick 'em after Miami will be for the Rome Masters 1000. We have decided to drop Monte Carlo from the pick 'em calendar this year now that it is not a mandatory event any more. We have never run a pick 'em for the last clay court Masters event before RG, so we will not do Madrid either.N.B. 2008 MC and Rome points will come off after Rome 2009 and players will continue to count their best 7 scores over the previous 12 months, so with points for slams continuing to be available to count twice, it will become best 7 from up to 13 scores instead of best 7 from up to 14.
However, the main reason for cutting the number of events we run pick 'ems for by one is to keep them fresh. As well as the teams comp and the different scoring and ranking systems, one of the main things that makes our pick 'ems different from the ATP bracket challenge is the way they generate so much discussion on many of the forums taking part and it was noticeable that a bit of pick 'em 'fatigue' set in last year after a run of virtually back-to-back contests, not just among the organisers (though that is obviously a big issue too!) but also among the entrants.
I think the calendar that follows gives us a good spread of competitions through the year. It certainly gives us a more manageable workload so that we can do each competition justice with reports and so on. Also, since there will now be at least two free weeks between each competition, we hope it will leave most of you refreshed and eager to take part each time a new contest comes around! If 9 pick 'ems (covering 14 weeks) per year is not enough for you, there's always the ATP Bracket Challenge to keep you going!Jan 19-Feb 01 : AUSTRALIAN OPEN
(slam - points can be counted twice in your best 7)Mar 25-Apr 06 : Miami(no pick 'em for the Monte Carlo Masters, which is now a non-mandatory tournament)Apr 27-May 04 : Rome (no pick 'em for Madrid)May 25-Jun 08 : ROLAND GARROS
(slam - points can be counted twice in your best 7)Jun 26-Jul 06 : WIMBLEDON
(slam - points can be counted twice in your best 7)Aug 10-Aug 17 : Montreal(no pick 'em for Cincinnati, unless the organisers both end up on holiday during Montreal in which case we'll do Cincy instead of Montreal)Aug 31-Sep 14 : US OPEN
(slam - points can be counted twice in your best 7)Oct 12-Oct 19 : ShanghaiNov 08-Nov 16 : Paris