Sunday, 21 May 2017


I read something just recently regarding the ATP's new rule changes to be used at the Next Gen ATP Finals this November, 2017. The same word keeps coming up, 'Tradition'.
A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. ( Wikipedea )
There you have it, says it all doesn't it ? ' the past'.
The ATP are endeavouring to make the sport more appealing to a wider audience and don't forget that they are also trying to hold on to a viewer's attention span that can wane after 3 or 4 hours of watching clay court tennis in particular.
I for one believe the idea will take off. Why ? Because it breaks from tradition and spices up something that is as stale as an old beer.
It dares to be different and it dares to challenge a system that has been around since the 12th Century when the palm of the hand was used to strike the ball before rackets were introduced in the 16th Century. Tennis goes back a long, long way and perhaps for that reason alone the ATP is in favour of trying something else. Traditions can get a little dull and uninteresting after a while.
My biggest argument against the current scoring system is that it favours the fitness Zen Masters who are too afraid to have a beer at night for fear they will lose half a step the next day when they play. The current scoring system does not reward bravery, it rewards players who have muscle tone in their eye brows.
The current system of tennis scoring is about as exciting as watching paint dry and grass grow. It does not dare to be imaginative, it asks a player to win by two, everything must be by two but life in general does not have to be won by two, you simply just have to get your nose over the line first to be successful in life.
If you look at a sport such as Golf you will see that there are around a dozen different ways to score including Four ball, Match play, Stroke play, Stableford and even Skins. Now the latter is a ripper though I have not seen a Skins Tennis Tournament for years.
I recall once Ivan Lendl won around $750,000 against Pat Cash in a winner take all Skins event where the losing Semi Finalists went home with around $250,000. I believe Ivan offered to buy Pat tea sometime which received a bit of a run in the Pat Cash book. Back to the main story.
In the 80's the sport of Squash received a much needed facelift which allowed either player to be awarded a point on the score board and not just by the player who served the ball as the original rules stipulated.
Either player was awarded the point whether they were serving or not which I suppose made a lot of sense as the original rule book was obviously written by someone who did not appreciate the receiver's efforts, it simply favoured the server.
Squash and Golf have evolved over time.
I have made mention in previous posts on this site that the new Doubles format for non Grand Slam events is rather entertaining in my eyes to say the least and it is almost an impossibility to 'own' the sport of doubles now as the Bryan Brothers have done in the past with over 100 tournament wins. It will never happen again.
Singles players can now beat Doubles players due to short deuces and third set super tie breakers which now reward cavalier type of play and it also does one very important thing, it actually brings singles players into the World of Doubles. Why ?
Time frame, matches are shorter, players participate now for some extra match play rather than do a boring hour in the gym. It's a win/ win situation now for all players on the tour.
To prove just how even the field is now in Mens Doubles on the ATP Tour you only have to look at this week's matches in Rome. Up to the Semi Final stage there were 22 matches played and no fewer than 11 went to a third set super tie breaker. The ATP would be rubbing their hands together with delight at this response to the new rule changes which I find to be nothing short of brilliant.
It has breathed some life back into a format that was becoming a burden to the smaller events rather than a spectacle.
For a player such as Nick Kyrgios to win a doubles match ( with Jack Sock ) against the Bryan Brothers proves the system is working beautifully. The playing field is now even, hallelujah.
So now for singles.
If the new system is introduced into the main ATP Tour we may never see a 'Big 4' again and we will never see someone like Rafa win 10 Barcelona titles, 10 Monte Carlo titles and 9 ( so far ) French Open titles because the sport will no longer favour the fitness fanatic. It will look after players such as Gael Monfils who lost the third set of Monte Carlo to Rafa two years ago 0-6 because he ran out of gas and let's face it, we all know Gael is good to watch for two sets until he gets tired.
Monfils is just one example, there are scores of shot makers out there who could give a top ten player a real fright on any given day with a 'tweak' in the rules, no risk at all. It will share the prize money around and the $350,000,000 or so that the Big 4 have won in Mens tennis will be a thing of the past as the top 400 players will all be able to afford a night on a bed rather than in the foyer of a Hotel.
The new rule change by the ATP for the up coming November event has more up side than down and who knows, it may even win over the 'traditionalists' of the sport......

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