As I mentioned last week, I spoke to most of the women's coaches about the ITA's experimental format when I was in Charlottesville, Va. for the Team Indoor Championships. Part one of the article presenting those views is up today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, with part two scheduled to appear on Friday. Frankly, I was surprised at how unpopular the format was with everyone I spoke to. I'm not sure with this kind of opposition how it even made it to the experimental stage, but it did, although I would be even more surprised if it was adopted permanently.
|A typical scoring summary from the ITA Women's Team Indoor|
Also, don't miss the comments on the Men's Team Indoor, and the no-ad scoring format from Russ, who was in Houston for the tournament. His comments can be found, in their entirety, here.
Tennis Now asked former Stanford coach Dick Gould for his comments on the format changes. Here is an excerpt from a wide-ranging interview with one of college tennis' legends:
What do you think about the new rules being tested in college tennis? Doubles matches go to six instead of eight. In women’s singles, the third set is a super tiebreak. The men are playing two out of three with no-ad scoring.
We have a great sport. You don’t go to Wimbledon and stay for a match. You stay for the day. It’s an event. There was a time where we had no-ad scoring, which I actually loved. But I don’t think changing the scoring is going to bring more people. I think you’re either a tennis fan or you’re not or you’ve got a buddy or a girlfriend on the team and that’s why you’re going to go out. I just don’t think someone who doesn’t understand tennis is going to be coming in off the street to watch it.
When [the women] play regular scoring with a tiebreak in the third set and the men are playing no-ad scoring and playing out two out of three sets – that’s not fan friendly. Our fans our going, “What is this?” We have it printed all out in their programs, but they still get confused. Is that fan friendly? I’d rather it be all the same. Secondly, if they are [shortening matches] for TV, it takes $40,000 to bring a truck and a generator, probably seven cameras on six courts. And it might rain! It’s tremendously expensive. I think the future of tennis as far as viewing goes is streaming. When I asked the USTA about the new rules, they explained TV producers said they had to do the match in 2.5 hours. So I think that’s one reason this is coming out.
I’m old school. I like regular scoring. As a coach, I loved the long matches. One time we were playing indoors with 7,000 people against UCLA and we had already played four hours. We came indoors at 6:30 p.m. and the match ended at 12:45 a.m. and no one left. The place was going wild!