Rule Changes for 2015

Discussion in 'College Tennis Talk' started by TopDawg, Aug 1, 2014.

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Changes Are Good or Bad?

  1. Good

    10 vote(s)
    14.7%
  2. Bad

    58 vote(s)
    85.3%
  1. TopDawg

    TopDawg Legend

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    The great NCAA/ITA are at it again and have decided for next year during the regular season and in the NCAAs that doubles will play a set to 6 with no-ad scoring and there will be no-ad scoring in singles. They just can't seem to leave it alone - I'd like to see the TV contract before they continue to dumb the game down.


    Div I - Men's Tennis

    DI Tennis Committee recommends changes to reduce length of matches

    The Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Committee, in collaboration with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and the United States Tennis Association, is recommending several changes to reduce the length of championship matches.

    The recommendations from the committee’s July meeting include all matches being played with no-ad scoring, effective in the spring of 2015. For example, in games tied at 40-all, the player who wins the next point will win the game.

    After months of coordinated discussions, experimentation, research and vetting with college coaches and administrators, the committee concluded that reducing the overall length of play will enhance student-athlete well-being and increase the level of excitement of the matches, making collegiate tennis more fan-friendly.

    The ITA is also adopting these format changes for its regular-season matches. All recommendations made by the committee must be approved by the Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet, which is scheduled to meet Sept. 9.

    “We’ve known for quite some time we needed to make a change,” said D.J. Gurule, chair of the committee and head women’s tennis coach at Gonzaga University. “Sometimes even a good change is a difficult one, if only because of unfamiliarity. We’ve worked collaboratively with the USTA and ITA, experimented with formats, had many, many hours of discussion and reached a consensus.

    “The ITA is adopting these format changes for the regular-season matches, and we believe it is the right thing for the championships. Some student-athletes compete for 11 of the 12 days of the tournament, which includes competing in both singles and doubles matches on the same day. Currently, some team matches might last five to six hours, and something has to be done. It’s tough on the student-athletes as well as the fans.”

    David Benjamin, the executive director of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, was pleased that a collaborative approach was taken with the goal of enhancing the sport.

    “The ITA has worked closely with the NCAA tennis committee and the USTA on this most important issue,” Benjamin said. “We look forward to continuing to work together to promote and grow the sport of college tennis.”

    In the team championships, three doubles matches will be played with no-ad scoring, with each match consisting of one set to six games. A tie-break will be played at 6-all.

    Following a 10-minute intermission, six singles matches will be played with no-ad scoring, with each match consisting of a best two-out-of-three with tiebreakers at 6-all. In addition, there will be no warm-up with an opponent once the players have been called to the court for the start of the match.

    As in the past, the matches will be played “clinch/clinch” -- when the doubles point is clinched, the remaining doubles match is stopped. And in singles, once the team match has been clinched, any remaining singles matches will be stopped.

    For the individual singles and doubles championships, all matches will be played utilizing no-ad scoring. In doubles, matches will consist of the best two-out-of-three sets, with a match tiebreak in lieu of the third set.

    In addition, the winners of the singles and doubles championships will continue to earn opportunities for wild card entries into the U.S. Open.

    USTA player development staff believe student-athletes will continue to develop in the college setting by learning to play in highly competitive situations where each point counts.

    “What an exciting time for college tennis,” said Virgil Christian Jr., the USTA senior director of marketing/facility development and collegiate tennis. “Increasing the relevance and profile of a varsity tennis match on campus is vital to the sustainability and growth of the sport. These changes will play an instrumental role in accomplishing this goal -- and will draw more fans.”
     
    #1
  2. srichey96

    srichey96 New User

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    This is absolutely absurd
     
    #2
  3. Kirijax

    Kirijax Hall of Fame

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    Great. College tennis continues to be one of the worst run sports in college athletics.
     
    #3
  4. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    Two things:

    1. Their rationales for everything are moronic.
    2. If it's really "for the health of players" and "for the fans", these rules would be adopted for every division, not just DI. Unless there's a TV deal or something, this is stupid. That's the only reason it would make sense to have DI exclusive rules like this.
     
    #4
  5. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    There is nothing good about no-ad scoring. This is really a shame.
     
    #5
  6. Rochus

    Rochus New User

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    This is freaking terrible
     
    #6
  7. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    Pretty bad ideas. In TB's, it is chance, not skill which can dominate, especially if the opponents are evenly matched. And No Ad? Hate that idea immensely.
     
    #7
  8. Kirijax

    Kirijax Hall of Fame

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    To be honest thought, this rule change means absolutely nothing for those of us watching from afar. Most college scoreboards don't tell us what the score is in each game anyways. They don't even tell us who's serving so no-ad is irrelevant when watching the scores online.
     
    #8
  9. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Doubles so often has swings back and forward and becomes very exciting in college tennis. This, I just don't know who comes up with these. Does anyone know a coach that likes it?
     
    #9
  10. Clemson_tennis

    Clemson_tennis Legend

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    I love how it says "we all knew a change had to be made". Who was saying this? Certainly nobody here. No coaches, no players.
     
    #10
  11. goldy0084

    goldy0084 Rookie

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    and why is the Gonzaga coach from a small school with an extremely weak team the head of this committee?
     
    #11
  12. Kirijax

    Kirijax Hall of Fame

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    Colette Lewis from ZooTennis is so fed up with the whole thing that she's thinking about cutting back on covering DI. Wants move "up" to DIII.

    ZooTennis
     
    #12
  13. DaveKB

    DaveKB Rookie

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    Match time now will 2 to 3 hours. Now makes TV and streaming

    much more likely. We will see what happens. As to live attendance, it will help some, but college tennis just is not very popular.

    I just got back from ATP 500 event in DC. Excellent field for a non 1000 or GS event. I went 3 days and live attendance was not good. Today's semis between Raonic and Donald Young was maybe 30% full. Other days were less.

    Tennis may be becoming a TV sport as are many others. TV has schedules and events have to fit in or they will not be on TV.

    I expect changing 3 of 5 sets to 2 of 3 at GS's will happen in few years.



    .
     
    #13
  14. JLyon

    JLyon Hall of Fame

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    I understand no-ad, but the coaches hated the shortening of the doubles matches, leave it pro-sets if they still want no ad
     
    #14
  15. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    Gurule says 'Currently some team matches can last 5 or 6 hours.' I attend a fair number of college matches and have not seen one go that long. Maybe if they're playing it on only 3 courts or something. Back when I played college tennis we played best of 3 sets for both singles and doubles and I don't remember a dual match going 5 or 6 hours. Has anyone here seen a 5 or 6 hour team match?
     
    #15
  16. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    This is precisely why I prefer watching college tennis vs pros. The matches start at a set time, start all at once, and end with more emphasis as a school nears the 4th team point. Pro tourneys (250&500 level) run all day and either run way ahead of schedule (blowouts create down time) or are behind (b2b 3-setters). Plus, pro tourneys are expensive.

    I would much rather spend 4 hours watching good college tennis than navigate a pro tourney all day. Not sure how I'll feel about watching no-ad BS.
     
    #16
  17. DaveKB

    DaveKB Rookie

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    Only about 15% of games now go to deuce and less so in pro tennis where serving really dominates, so no ad does not really change much, except in those rare close matches that do not clinch early.

    Very few college matches end up 4-3. My guess is about 10%.

    I have seen women' matches go 5 hours at the NCAA's and men's go over 4. It is pretty rare, but having NCAA team matches end at 1 AM is ridiculous.
     
    #17
  18. Kirijax

    Kirijax Hall of Fame

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    The NCAA has only two goals in mind; cut costs, time and effort needed to put out a good product, and make money. That's it. They can dress their reasons for whatever doing with lies and misconceptions all they want. their agenda is pretty clear. Players, integrity of sports and the fans are way way way down their non-existent list.
     
    #18
  19. tennisbuck

    tennisbuck Professional

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    wait so is this for sure happening or just a proposal?
     
    #19
  20. The Wreck

    The Wreck Semi-Pro

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    I have actually. But they were both women's matches that tend to last longer anyway. It's not the norm though.

    I just don't think the sport is made for TV. I didn't even really enjoy watching the USTA College Match Day things online. It's okay, but you just miss too much action and it fails to capture the elements that make college tennis what it is. Rule changes won't do anything about that.
     
    #20
  21. Clemson_tennis

    Clemson_tennis Legend

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    I disagree with this entire post. No ad matches vs ad matches are completely different in the way the players approach them. Players will play a 40-30 point differently if there is a deuce or no deuce. It changes how aggressive players are. And also the few games that do go to deuce are completely undone by this new rule. Remember in the Big 12 championship when Pradella beat Alvarez in a very very long deuce game. 10 or more. The drama was unreal yet in this new format it would have been a crapshoot winner take all point and not been memorable in any way

    If we are talking about evenly matches teams 4-3 is actually not uncommon. Quite a few go 4-3
     
    #21
  22. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I won't get into % and time tracking. In a nutshell, a competitive match will take an hour for doubles & a little over two hours for singles. It is rare they go longer than 4 hours. It's shorter than a golf match so I don't know why the NCAA doesn't knock golf back to 9 holes or let them use carts or something.

    And, just to clarify, no-ad scoring only matters in your opinion "in those rare close matches that don't clinch early."

    ...and those are the ones that you want to abbreviate? Really?
     
    #22
  23. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    This strategy analysis is accurate. The mindset of no-ad (as well as 10pt TB in lieu of 3rd) is totally different than 2 of 3 full sets.
     
    #23
  24. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth New User

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    We love tennis so it's easy for us to pretend that the length of matches isn't a problem, but we'd be burying our heads in the sand.

    Maybe TV is a part of it, but there are problems beyond that. I can't tell you how many ACC and SEC matches I've been to where there is a great crowd with great atmosphere at the start of doubles, only to see less than 10% of them left four hours later when the match ends. And some of these are 4-3s coming down to the last match on court that end up finishing in a morgue-like environment.

    If college tennis is going to attract and keep casual fans then the average match cannot be 3.5 hours, which is longer than any NCAA spectator sport.

    Obviously there will be an impact from the playing side, but I think the hysterics are a little overblown. Purists predicted doom and gloom when pro doubles went to no-ad and a match tiebreak, but now it's accepted. The internet wasn't around back then, but I'm sure people similarly freaked out when college doubles went to a pro set.

    The argument that the new format won't prepare players for pro tennis is a non-starter for me. There's already big differences between college and pro, the biggest one being that on tour you never have to go out and play a singles match 10 minutes after you play a doubles match. There's never a situation in the pros outside of men's Grand Slams where you'd be playing four straight hours of tennis.

    Let's see how this plays out before commencing the freak out
     
    #24
  25. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    #25
  26. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth New User

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    This suggests that the matches will be stopped when clinched during the regular season, which I haven't seen mentioned anywhere else.

    There's arguments on both sides of that, but I think it makes sense to stop at a clinch if we are going to treat college tennis like a team sport.

    In baseball, you would never play out the bottom of the ninth if the home team was winning just to help a player's individual statistics. And I think it would be the most fan friendly change of all. You can go to a college tennis match planning to watch the whole thing and know that it's only going to go long if it's a really good match.
     
    #26
  27. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    This is like saying that you stop a swim heat when the winner touches. Or a track race results are null except for the top finishes.

    Tennis is an individual sport and the individual results matter. Beyond the team result.
     
    #27
  28. marco forehand

    marco forehand Rookie

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    Well intentioned or not, I don't expect these format changes to be a "success".
    I am speculating that "success" would be defined as increased viewership (live, online and as filler on the various digital conference stations that are now available on demand).
    The format changes could lead to quickly shifting changes in momentum, adding real drama. However, capturing that on screen will require more then just a couple webcams.
    Having been on site and then having watched replays of the last two years team finals, the "broadcast" has fallen very short of capturing the excitement of the events.
     
    #28
  29. Clemson_tennis

    Clemson_tennis Legend

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    Well said. Before focusing on rule changes that fundamentally change the sport maybe they should focus on providing adequate coverage for fans. That would actually go much farther in increasing interest.
     
    #29
  30. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth New User

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    Swimming & track are individual sports. I don't know about swimming, but in track pretty much the only events that even keep a team score are conference and NCAA Championships.

    By contrast, college tennis is a team sport. You play 20+ dual matches against another team for the purpose of seeing which team will win. Also, ~25% of dual matches are currently stopped at clinch, including the biggest matches of the year in the postseason. If playing for individual results isn't important there, then I can't see why it would be a big deal to stop doing it in the regular season
     
    #30
  31. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth New User

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    It's a bit of a chicken/egg scenario though. ESPN used provide good coverage of the team NCAA finals but decided they weren't interested because of the match time among other reasons. So now we're stuck with the webcams because no broadcaster who could provide high-quality coverage is interested in the current format.

    It's an argument for changing the format, not an argument against it.
     
    #31
  32. AggieTennis

    AggieTennis New User

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    The petition started by the IU Women's Coach was two-fold, #1 he did not feel it was fair that Women's coaches were not involved in the discussions nor that this came to a vote by the coaches.

    The point in his letter that I find valid, as far as stopping matches once match has been decided, if you have a really strong player on a weak team, they are likely to have a bunch of matches they were unable to complete before their team lost the match. I saw this first-hand at a A10 school where they were pretty dreadful, but had a really solid #1 player who was something like 6-2 on the season because 10+ of her matches went unfinished, despite the fact she had a solid lead in 9 of them.
     
    #32
  33. tennis_tater

    tennis_tater Semi-Pro

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    Zoo tennis referencing comments from top juniors saying move to no ad may impact their decision to play college (rubin, Altimarino, Donaldson)
     
    #33
  34. Kirijax

    Kirijax Hall of Fame

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    This.
    This.
    This!
     
    #34
  35. Clemson_tennis

    Clemson_tennis Legend

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    Exactly!! That to me is the #1 worst thing about this. Do these people realize how much momentum college tennis had right now as far as quality? The Wimbledon junior champion just chose to play college tennis for the first time since 2005. Young juniors are now seeing college as a viable option to do for a year or two. This format is different than the pro format and if these players have any aspirations of playing pro ball then how on earth is an abbreviated format going to help them? It will hurt the quality of the sport. Would guys like Harris,Rubin,Schnur,Altamirano,Rola etc etc choose college with the new format?much less likely
     
    #35
  36. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth New User

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    I disagree that the format will have that big of an impact on players choosing to come to college. It''s not like they will he playing match tiebreaks instead of third sets.

    The biggest reason that these good players have chosen to play college tennis in recent years has nothing to do with college tennis. It has to do with how hard it has been to have success as an 18-year old at the professional level. I looked a couple months ago and there were no players under age 20 ranked in the top 200 in the world. If the college changes go through, it's still not going to make it any easier for an 18-year old to compete at the pro level. And if you aren't ready for the pro level at 18 then you're going to go to college and get free coaching, etc. I don't think playing no-ad will be enough to change minds there
     
    #36
  37. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    If one player comes to the net all the time and another grinds from the baseline, the former will finish almost all of his matches and the latter will only get to finish half his matches. This is not good practice and experience at closing out matches.

    Baseball is not analogous. Another half inning is no particular kind of experience for anyone. In tennis, even if the team has won, you want to win your singles match. It affects rankings and is important experience.

    We are also hoping to attract the top juniors to spend at least a year in college before turning pro, to increase the quality of the sport and fan interest. Pro tennis is not the kind of sport where a match is abandoned late in the second set because the team has won.
     
    #37
  38. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    Pro doubles went to no-ad (in some events) and match tiebreak (in some events) because it was not being televised anyway and they wanted them to get off the courts. This is sad for those of us who love doubles and wish we could see some of it on TV, but it is a fact. This is not analogous to an effort to make college tennis better for TV, unless the NCAA/ITA have the same attitude and just want to get the doubles off the court so they can get singles on TV. That might even be their motivation. Who knows, because they will not honestly discuss their motivation for all of this.
     
    #38
  39. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    You have no clue what you are talking about. I suggest some time spent researching such "facts" before posting nonsense.
     
    #39
  40. Clemson_tennis

    Clemson_tennis Legend

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    There were players in the SEC last year who had more unfinished matches than finished ones. Same with some PAC 12 players. Jayanshankar of Cal almost never completed a match last year. What kind of playing experience is that?
     
    #40
  41. DaveKB

    DaveKB Rookie

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    I agree with you. In terms of the alleged high quality of "college" tennis, while I like to watch college tennis when played by the big boys, the overall quality is just not very good if the comparison is to pros and even those who play the Futures.

    Of course this is not really surprising as few college players in any sport are good enough to play in the pros and make a living at it. It seems pretty clear that the #150 guy is basically breaking even after expenses. In women's tennis with much less over all money the break even point must be about #75.

    I just finished watching Steve Johnson (USC's two time NCAA champ and the winner of some 40+ college singles matches in a row). I also saw him play in college at the NCAA's. He actually made to the QF's in the ATP 500 event in DC. He rather miraculously beat Isner and Karlovic when both double faulted at 6-6 and then 7-7 in 3rd set TB's. He is a much improved player from his college days and is much less of a screamer and he concentrates better. IMO he is the best college player since Isner and I think will be ranked around #50 tomorrow. He held serve very well and that kept him in the two matches I saw. Yet I just do not see how he will get into the top 25 and certainly not the top 10. So this quality thing is really mostly a myth. IMO kids do not go to college to become pros. They go for the reason you stated.

    Service breaks were rare as hen's teeth in the 8 or so singles matches I watched. Hit your serve at 125+ and hold and then the other guy does the same thing. It was actually pretty boring to watch as serving has become the be all and end all in pro tennis these days with of course some exceptions. I wish they would change things to make serving less dominant, but I doubt it is going to happen. I firmly believe that people do come to tennis matches to watch ace after ace or service winner after service winner. They would much prefer to watch more rallies, but I doubt the powers in charge will ever change anything.

    College tennis has something like several hundred schools playing it and that includes DIII. Most of these players men and women are low 5.0's and some just high 4.5's. They are certainly better than the USTA players in all of those leagues and they are fun to watch, but 98% or so will never become touring pros. They are basically lucky to get a college education either paid in full or partially for the men in D1 and still enjoy playing the sport they grew up playing.

    No ad scoring is just not that big a change for college tennis and it will eliminate those 4 hour singles matches mostly on the women's side. Traditionalists abound in tennis, but I would not be surprised to see the pros go to no ad (or maybe one ad) and only two out of three sets in the majors at least in the early rounds. I would bet nearly all the players would vote for that. TV runs on schedules just like the trains used to and there has to be a way to limit the length of matches to a reasonable amount which I think is 2 to 2.5 hours.

    The clinch rule is a tough to understand in regular season dual matches where there is no match to play the next day. Maybe coaches will be permitted to play out the other matches if both agree. No one will be watching, but it would be fairer to the players, especially the grinders who always play long matches.
     
    #41
  42. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

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    How can you disagree when players have already stated that it might change their decision? For someone on the border, this could push them to the pros. Admittedly this probably isn't a ton of players, but still. College tennis was attracting some really, really good players. And now it might, or it might not.

    I'm glad I'm playing DIII so I don't have to deal with this garbage.
     
    #42
  43. The Wreck

    The Wreck Semi-Pro

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    Every single UGA match this season was stopped at the clinch. So my guess is it's a bit more than 25%. I agree it would be better for the players to just let the matches play out. But it's more important that there be uniformity across teams/conferences. Either everyone stops at the clinch or no one does (weather related circumstances aside). Especially if individual rankings are going to have any sort of importance and validity, I think you have to play it out.
     
    #43
  44. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth New User

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    Most people's initial reaction to change is that they don't like it, so I wasn't surprised to see the quotes. But when it actually comes time to make a decision, I find it hard think that this is going to be a huge factor.

    These top kids have been playing with ads their entire life and will still be playing a bunch of Futures with regular scoring. It's not like they are going to forget how to do it. And a typical college dual match will still be much longer than what you would be playing as a pro, so I don't think any loss of conditioning will be an issue.

    Are players on the borderline between college and pro really going to treat no-ad scoring as a more important factor than the ability to have their expenses covered and receive free coaching? I find it hard to believe
     
    #44
  45. NoChance

    NoChance New User

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    I'm still banging this one around in my head, but I find Virgil Christian's comments interesting. He played collegiate tennis at Penn State, where the indoor facility has only four courts. Had such rules been in place then, he would have had a lot of unfinished matches on his record, and some days where he would have have barely started a match when it would have been pulled.

    But then, the facility issue is Penn State's problem, not the NCAA's or the ITA's.
     
    #45
  46. chris-swede

    chris-swede Hall of Fame

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    especially in the NCAAs the lucky one will win it all...no one else...
    it will not change the blowouts, but the close ones. A net clip can change the whole match now....
     
    #46
  47. chris-swede

    chris-swede Hall of Fame

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    a real bad one
    cause if you player little slower then others, you will never finish a match....thats boring...and annoying for every player i think.
     
    #47
  48. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    A big part of competitive sports is learning how to close it out. That's where you show if you have the mental or not, especially in tennis.
     
    #48
  49. matchplay

    matchplay Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Messages:
    147
    i say they should just change the sports name with these changes, because what it is about to become in not tennis
     
    #49
  50. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth New User

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Messages:
    59
    The ITA just put out it's official release on the changes, pointing out that no-ad scoring was used in college tennis for 15 years and college players from that era like McEnroe, Gilbert, Annacone all went on to pro success.

    Also seems like a lot of notable coaches are on board, including Manny Diaz and Peter Smith.
     
    #50

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