Monthly Archives: January 2017

With the Tennis Season Beginning, a Wish List for 2017

But the sport also checked some long-empty boxes. Novak Djokovic won his first French Open to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four major trophies at the same time. Serena Williams tied Australian Open Tennis  Live Stream Graf’s record for Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era by winning her 22nd. Argentina finally won its first Davis Cup, and Andy Murray became Sir Andy Murray, even if he sounded as if he could have happily waited quite a bit longer for the honor.Tennis needs to follow the lead of other sports and get better at prologue. A draw is too good an opportunity to waste, but for now, the major events are not taking full advantage. There should be more spectacle and, above all, more suspense. Consider the buzz generated by the draws for the World Cup or the Champions League. Or by the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament selections in the United States.

Professional tennis can do better. At the Grand Slam events, cutting back to 16 seeds in singles from the current 32 would be the boldest way forward. There were 16 until 2001, when the United States Open successfully pushed for 32, with an eye toward increasing the chances that stars would still be in contention on the first weekend, when major television coverage then kicked in. The change was originally linked to an agreement to use surface-based seeding, but at this stage surface-based seeding exists only to a limited degree at Wimbledon, yet the 32 seeds remain.
It is unclear how big a role the move to 32 has played in the unprecedented stability at the top of the men’s game over the last decade. The women’s game, which is also played with 32 seeds, has been more unpredictable and egalitarian, even as Williams has racked up many a major title. But she won her first major singles title with 16 seeds at the 1999 United States Open.Federer, Murray, Australian Open Tennis  Live and Rafael Nadal would surely have won plenty under the old rules as well. Some statistics indicate that the real beneficiaries have been the sport’s second tier — those seeded between 17 and 32, who have been able to limit the turnover in the rankings without generating the same star power.

Returning to 16 seeds would improve the early-round matchups and, just as important, the early-round anticipation. But even if the stars and the tournament directors elect to keep the status quo, more can be done with draw ceremonies.Jazz them up, but also slow them down. Take the time to analyze the matches as they go up on the board rather than waiting until the whole draw is complete. Describe the landscape as it emerges. Get more of the players themselves to attend and react in real time. Educate, but above all, entertain.

Tennis is not alone in needing an independent drug-testing system, but it needs one sooner rather than later. As 2016 proved beyond a reasonable doubt, no sport can be trusted to police itself in this domain. Even if it could, the appearance of a conflict of interest is too great. Best to outsource it all, perhaps in tennis’s case to an entity that will also aim to prevent corruption. Until then, a change in antidoping leadership at the International Tennis Federation also seems wise.

More electronic line-calling on more courts at more tournaments. Playing without it is tantamount to being a second-class citizen in this era, and the sport can hope that as the technology matures, the price of installation per court will also drop. Tennis could also use a low-cost alternative at the lower levels — something for amateur events, above all junior events, to eliminate some of the cheating and acrimony.Get the big sports news, highlights and analysis from Times journalists, with distinctive takes on games and some behind-the-scenes surprises, delivered to your inbox every week.

More money and oversight at the lower levels of the game. This would provide at least two benefits: greater exposure for the sport in small markets where challenger and future events are usually the biggest tennis show in town, and an answer to match-fixing concerns, which loom largest where the paydays are smallest. Tennis, with its international visibility and revenue-spinning major tournaments, should provide a good living to more than the top 100 male and female players in the Australian Open Tennis  Live Stream News.Many more women as coaches and administrators. Progress remains too slow, particularly in the coaching ranks, where only a handful of top players have a primary coach who is a woman. Tennis is a rare sport in which men and women often share equal billing. It also has a large female fan base. It is time to better reflect that off the court.

More top players from Africa and South America. Tennis is best served globally, and encouraging that requires a renewed emphasis on funding and a rethinking of player development in emerging regions and markets — not just from the I.T.F., but from all the major entities in the sport.An end to the reciprocal wild-card racket among Grand Slam nations, whereby the French get one guaranteed slot in the Australian Open and the Australians get one guaranteed slot in the French Open (and so on). Spots in the majors are precious enough. They should not depend on elitist favor swapping.

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More quiet time and less self-referential chat from commentators in the television booth, particularly at crunchtime in important matches when the players are quite capable of carrying the moment by themselves.An end to service lets. For all those who say it would be a shame to lose a big match or a Grand Slam title on a net-cord service winner, consider that it already can happen on a net-cord groundstroke or volley winner. What would be the difference? College tennis and World Team Tennis do without the service let. So do other racket sports, like platform tennis. Pro tennis — which already has a time-management problem — can, too.

One more big upset for Tommy Haas, the new tournament director at Indian Wells, Calif., who is returning to the tour at age 38 after yet another operation. One more big upset for Kimiko Date- Australian Open Tennis  Live Stream, still mulling a comeback at age 46. One more major title for Juan Martín del Potro, who has certainly paid his dues. One more major title for Federer, to reward his enduring excellence and passion for the game. One more French Open title for Nadal (no stranger to the passion department), which would give him a nice, round and mind-boggling 10.

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