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Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Kalamazoo Preview; NCAA Goes No-Ad in Team and Individual Championships

One of the best Kalamazoo tournaments in years begins this morning with two rounds of doubles, with all singles first round matches in both the 16s and 18s scheduled for Sunday.  My preview is available this morning at the Tennis Recruiting Network.  Despite all the excitement of this week, a real spirit-dampening press release was issued by the NCAA on Thursday.


The NCAA Division I Tennis Committee announced the format for the 2015 championships (and beyond) and it features, most dramatically, no-ad scoring for singles and doubles, including the individual championships. 

I've never liked no-ad, believing it to be antithetical to the nature of the game, so this is very bad news for me.  I've heard all the arguments for revising the format in the past two years, but they haven't changed my mind about this, and I fear the level of play will decline when top players rightfully ask how this prepares them for the rigors of professional tennis. I'm disappointed that USTA Player Development is on board with this, especially for the individual tournament, where the winner, if American, would go from no-ad best of three to a best-of-five-sets match at the US Open. 

I'll have to do a lot more thinking about this before I decide how it will affect my coverage of the college version of the sport, but I am leaning toward cutting back on Division I, perhaps focusing more on Division III, and returning primarily to junior tennis coverage, where I started.  I'll be giving that some thought in the coming weeks and months, but I won't be purchasing plane tickets to Waco, Texas any time soon.

16 comments:

Irene said...

100% agree with you, Colette! Implementing no-ad is an attack on the fundamental rules of tennis! Very sad!

David said...

Should be an awesome boys 18s. My predictions:

Quarters: Donaldson, Paul, Kozlov, Fritz, Baughman, Rubin, Wiersholm, Escobedo

Semis: Donaldson, Fritz, Rubin, Escobedo

Finals: Donaldson over Rubin

George Opelka said...

Bravo Colette. After reading the NCAA announcement this morning, castration was the first word that entered my mind. In my opinion, surgically removing traditional scoring and imposing clinch-clinch will have a similar numbing effect on the great sport of college tennis.

#youcannotbeserious

Just saying said...

The committee states the changes are for the very best DI players? The give the example of helping the players who play 11 of 12 days at the NCAAs. The only people who would fit this description are the best players on the best teams.

Doubles is diminished as it drops to 6 game sets. Anyone who has attended a college match will tell you that doubles is the best part.

I hope these changes result in a large TV contract.

Also, the other example the committee gives is that we need to end the 4-5 hour matches. Fair enough in most cases. D1 includes a lot of teams. But what about the under 2 hour matches for the best teams? Many of the top teams will be playing quickly except against each other. There were even 1:30-1:45 matches in early rounds at the National Indoors.

If I were commissioner for a day, my first rule would be to play out all #1 singles matches involving top #25 ranked players. Isn't that the match most fans want to see? And it helps the top guys improve.



And so it goes... said...

I bet if they did an informal survey of the current college players, I bet not one would agree with the change...it will now be the badtardization of tennis...and those aspiring to play pro will probably forgo college because there will be no point! (No pun intended) Call it the new 10 and under tennis-might as well give then orange balls.

NoBoringTennis said...

To save time and have better tennis, drop second serves.

Lin said...

Most people who advocate dropping second serves, either don't have a first serve that would be considered a weapon, or have trouble returning hard, flat first serves. That suggestion is akin to saying that any forehand over 80-mph shouldn't count.

The dominance of servers has been in decline for the past 10-years due to increased athleticism and technology that gives returners an upper hand. If first serves were unduly impacting tennis, everyone with a big first serve would serve-and-volley.

What's next; require everyone to serve underhand so every point is started on an even footing?

Tim Board said...

I completely agree with your thoughts on the no-ad rule. I'm starting to think that the NCAA is deliberately trying to ruin the great sport of tennis. Also, I truly hope you don't pull away from Division I. That would be an even bigger tragedy for us college tennis fans.

NoBoringTennis said...

No one said you can't bang that first serve. But if you strategically chose to do so and serve out, you should not get a second chance_ just like you don't get a second chance for driving a ball out on rallies or failing a drop shot.

Flip a coin - that should speed up the game said...

Why would anyone play college tennis now with these new rules. Bravo to you for acknowledging what a disaster this is going to be for players who want to turn pro.

Awful said...

Doubles is the most exciting part of a college match.
Are they trying to lessen the excitement?

NO WARM UP = INJURIES said...

NO WARMUP.... 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.

Bazinga said...

I actually like the idea of no-add scoring. It will teach the players how to play the big points. After watching Women's tennis, my suggestion is to only play ONE set and be done with it. Plus, a lot of schools are lucky to get at least 10 fans per match.

D3 said...

D 3 tennis is really where it is at...Some of the players who formerly pondered an Ivy may want to consider a Claremont-McKenna, Wesleyan, Williams , Emory, Middlebury, Amherst or the like...great coaching,great tennis!..

Easy fix said...

Instead of changing score I think they should have made it mandatory that other than Sunday matches are not allowed to start before 5:00 pm. People off work and would attract more crowd. Soccer uses this and they get good crowds and college soccer is not very enjoyable to watch.

getreal said...

College tennis (with a few notable exceptions) has never been, is not and will never be a feeder to the pros like other college sports. No way a player gets the matches(two duel matches a week vs. grinding through a real tournament), work outs and mental toughness to succeed on the pro tour. No ad scoring just makes the decision easier for a serious junior to not consider college tennis. Even a more waste of time for women!