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Tennis10sBalls • If I Were Commissioner Of Tennis For A Day By Lloyd Emanuel

Tennis balls are seen ahead of round one, day one at the Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia, 15 January 2018. EPA-EFE/JOE CASTRO



When Gene Scott (Eugene L. Scott) was alive, so many of us believed it would be in the best interest of professional tennis to have a Commissioner of Tennis and that Gene would be the most suited to the job.


Extraordinarily Bright, thoughtful, independent, former world class player, tournament director and respected by virtually all constituencies in the game, Gene was already a strong voice in the game through his Globally read “Tennis Week” publication.


Ascension to the hypothetical top of the tennis pyramid could have been the consummate cap to his stellar career as a tennis insider and Power Broker.


While I don’t have even a scintilla of Gene’s knowledge of and respect from within the game, I do have the active fantasy that continually asks me “What changes would I make if I were Commissioner for a day”?


Without addressing any of the thornier issues such as injury prevention, doping, gambling, tanking, scheduling, length of season, prize money distribution and others, these are the few scoring/rules modifications I would make in my fantasy role as “Commissioner of Tennis ” for a day.


1) Eliminate the no tiebreaker rule in the final set of all Aussie Open, French Open and Wimbledon singles matches. How is it that the U.S. Open gets it right , that a dramatic final set tiebreaker is a player, fan and television favorite and the other 3 majors get it wrong? Time to get it right.


2) Eliminate the let rule on the serve. Half the time a let serve favors the server, half it favors the receiver. Just allow it to count, the game won’t crumble. They’re already doing it in college tennis.


3) Let’s make the tiebreaker easier and more fair. The first point should be served to the add court, thereafter each server serves two, beginning on the deuce side. Sides are changed after the 1st point, and thereafter every 4 points, ie. 1/5/9/13/17 etc.


In this format, in doubles, the side (north-south) each player has elected to serve from at the start of each set is preserved (unlike in the traditional format) throughout the tiebreaker, and the unfair practice of making the server of points 6 & 7, 12 & 13, etc. have to switch sides between the 2 points is eliminated.


4) Finally, I want to have a little fun. I want to designate one men’s tournament a year(tour directors can bid—imagine the publicity!) a one-serve-only event. Let’s have more rallies, point development and tactical play, and let’s see who has the ballsiest serves.


Purists please remember that tiebreakers have only come along in the last half century and match tiebreakers more recently than that. They are now an accepted part of the game (except in the final set in singles matches at 3 of the 4 majors). Change will not destroy the game.


Finally, changes proposed in 2, 3 & 4 are already in the rules of platform tennis. This 2nd generation racquet sport, invented by tennis players, has gotten it right, and the tennis powers should look into their adoption.


Editors Note: Gene Scott believed in one major thing. It was simple • “Common Sense”

Tennis is diluting itself. It’s rarely marketing the sport. The players. Most of all its so odd to see the prices of tennis so high…. The tourneys in the old days kept the ticket prices down and the stadiums full. The prize money was paid by the SPONSORS. Kids free. Or half price. Tennis is becoming a sport that is expensive in every direction with the exception of the price of balls. That’s barely changed.

Gene Scott is the inspiration behind this website. There’s a bunch of us that were blessed to be mentored by him or friends with him, ex – staffers. Lloyd calls Us “Lifers”. We prefer “Guardians of the Game”.

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