Friday, 3 January 2014


'Pampered' , let's define the word , it means to 'treat with excessive indulgence' , so what does this meaning have to do with the game of Tennis now days ? I have a long list of examples ;
Why are Tennis Professionals allowed to go for the towel seemingly after each point now days on the Pro Tour , even after an ace is hit ?! I watched that happen just the other night as a player did the usual hand gesture and asked the ball kid for the sweat soaker, after he was aced , what did that point take out of him ? The ball kids do a fantastic job but should be allowed to concentrate on their job , not continually look to see whether the players include them in their pedantic routine , let's face it , that's all it is , on most occasions. What's wrong with taking a leaf out of the older generation's book and simply wipe the face with a sweat band ? Answer is simple ; the player can take a little longer between points with the request for the towel, time to regroup , physically and mentally.
I mentioned the Victoria Azarenka 'farce' some time ago where she was obviously 'choking' against her way less experienced opponent Sloane Stephens at the 2013 Australian Open and took a rather 'extended' injury time out. She even admitted the 'choking' in a later press conference in her own rather 'uneducated' way. This 'pampering' of Tennis Professionals sets an ugly example to the youth of the game , it shows them that time wasting and gamesmanship is as much a part of the sport as playing, here's another. The 2003 Davis Cup tie in Australia between Spain and Australia was on a knife's edge in the fourth rubber played between Phillippoussis and Ferrero but at the end of the fourth set , the 'mind games' commenced. Ferrerro had all the momentum having secured the third and fourth sets easily 6-1 and 6-2 , the 'Flip' was in all sorts of trouble , so he resorted to the old 'bathroom break' trick , from memory it was a long one too. He came back and won the final set 6-0 , legitimate or a 'con trick' within the rules of the game ?
What's with the break now after a player wins a set even if they have changed ends the previous game at say 5-4? You see this sometimes , just the other night I witnessed it at the Brisbane International as the station went to another break while players grabbed another drink and  another wipe with a towel, how many breaks do these guys need? What's with the ball change every seven games ? Sure the balls are hit with a huge amount of spin and power but wouldn't it make for an interesting spectacle if the entire set was played with just one set of Tennis balls? A big server would not have a continued advantage with a regular ball change and would actually have to do a bit more work on his groundstrokes in practice, surely this would be of benefit to their game?
The 25 seconds between points is rarely enforced , it's usually 30-35 seconds when matches get tight yet the umpire doesn't want to get himself off side with the players so generally turns a blind eye , it's a way for players to breath in some fresh air a little longer. Can you imagine if at a lower Club level Tournament all of the above examples actually took place ?? It would be the stuff of jokes at the end of the day over a round of beers that would surely also involve an invite to behind the club house to 'sort each other out , Man to Man', many a player would be incensed by these obvious rule benders.
Time to 'Man Up' , 'take it on the chin' and to follow a more recent saying , to all those 'pampered Tennis Pro's out there 'Toughen Up Princess'.......

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