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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Teams Set for USTA Spring Championships; UCLA Women Down Baylor, Alabama Men Shock Ole Miss; Kreise's Ten Reasons No-ad Fails

Coach Stewart Russell discusses doubles strategy with members of the Bengals
I've arrived in Mobile to cover the second annual USTA Spring Team Championships, which begin Monday at the Mobile Tennis Center.  The teams are selected via a waterfall method, which is set up to assure all teams have players of equal ability, and there are no seeds in the two draws.  Eight girls teams, with two 18s players, two 16s players, two 14s players and two 12s players and eight boys teams, made up the same way, will play four doubles and eight singles matches each of the four days, with the winners moving forward in a compass draw.

Last year the tournament was popular with players, coaches and parents alike. Saturday and Sunday are practice days, with players getting to know each other and their coaches, and coaches able to assess the strength of their doubles teams, the only area where they have the leeway to select their best teams.  The singles lineups are set as soon as the draw is made.

Which players are on which teams can be found at the TennisLink site under the Teams, more info link.

In college tennis today, the No. 12 UCLA women picked up their second Top 5 win in four days, beating No. 4 Baylor 4-3 in Waco, with Robin Anderson clinching the Bruins win with a 7-6(5), 7-6(6) win over Ema Burgic at line 1.  Baylor took the doubles point, but UCLA got three wins from the bottom of their lineup, with Catherine Harrison, Kaitlin Ray and Kristin Wiley setting up Anderson's clinch.   UCLA had previously downed No. 3 USC 4-3 on Wednesday, with Chanelle Van Nguyen defeating Zoe Scandalis in a third-set tiebreaker to secure that victory.

A major upset in men's SEC play today saw unranked Alabama take down No. 9 Ole Miss 4-2 in Tuscaloosa, with the Crimson Tide also fighting back after losing the doubles point.  Unranked freshman Korey Lovett, who played on the bronze ball winning team at the Spring Team Championships last year, beat Nik Scholtz 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 for Alabama's third point, and Becker O'Shaughnessey closed out the Rebels, beating Gustav Hansson at No. 3 6-4, 6-3.

Chuck Kreise, who has opposed the ITA format change since it was first introduced, recently sent me his Ten Reasons No-ad is No-go for Player Development.  I recognize there are many fans, players and coaches who do not believe the advantage scoring system is integral to the sport of tennis, but they should be aware the basis for the objections of those who do.

"Like many aspects of the game of tennis that look simple on the outside, the complexities and the intrigue of the scoring system of tennis often do not receive the depth of understanding that they deserve.  Its multiple levels and challenges are unmatched in sport.  It is wrong to use abbreviations.

1. No-ad is not a rule of tennis.  Abbreviated forms of scoring will not sustain interest nor inspire players for the long run.  College and junior tennis should be education driven first and entertainment after.

2. No-ad devalues the elements of conditioning and endurance for the outcome of competition.   Physical and mental stamina have, and always should, play a big role for success in tennis.

3. No-ad promotes skewed results.  Traditional scoring is an accurate and time-tested barometer for the many skill-sets it takes to win in tennis.  The skill to overcome ‘pecking orders’ and the normal ‘rites-of-passages,’ in tennis have been consistent measures for over a hundred years.  These accurate measures give critical guidelines for the development of a player.  Randomness is highlighted by no-ad scoring.

4. No-ad accelerates parity between pecking-order levels without the mastery of skill-sets usually required for advancement.   No-ad also rewards ball-striking skill more than point-construction skills.
5. The Deciding Point of no-ad is really worth 2 games. (Thus the need to win by two instead of one!) The 7th point of no-ad is of double jeopardy value.  Everyone recognizes this when the score is 4-2 and the next game makes it either 5-2 or 4-3.  However, it is the same every game!  When a player loses the 7th point, he/she must win two games to have the same advantage had they won that point.  Sadly, the benefits of cheating are enhanced because such weight is given to a sudden death point in every game.

6. No-ad eliminates the learning of ‘War Zone Endurance’ and the importance of ‘Conversion Points’ (3-in-a-row).   No-ad is always 4-7 points duration in every game.  This eliminates the multiple situations in a game that require very unique and disciplined skill sets to solve. One’s ability to win two points to break serve is perhaps one of the greatest puzzles to solve of all.  Just as well, learning how to carry and defend a lead is critical to becoming excellent.   No-ad does not teach nor reward these.

7. No-ad promotes random momentum swings and negates small differences in better player’s skill base that normally becomes a big advantage as a match progresses. Early war zones that are won usually set the tone for the match, but no-ad diminishes that hard-earned separation earned by the stronger player.  Games do not evolve and deepen where the stronger player can separate from the weaker player.

8. As its highest claim, no-ad promotes excitement instead of the more enduring element of drama.   Traditional scoring nurtures and develops drama.  It is a consistent barometer for learning through the process.  (Excitement diminishes with each occurrence; whereas, drama intensifies with each denial.)

9. The overwhelming majority of players are opposed to no-ad scoring.  Players want traditional scoring!!!  Coaches want traditional scoring as well.  Coercive directives have continuously promoted and forced no-ad for over 20 years. (In fairness, 2/3 majority should always be achieved in changes of such magnitude.)

10. To abbreviate or to change the scoring system of tennis is a political overreach for immediate gain, instead of the ‘honoring of the game.’  No one is bigger than the game of tennis.  It is absolutely wrong to try to change the fabric of this time honored cornerstone of tennis.

(Abbreviations do not inspire.  They will not sustain interest for that which has value.  The wonderful scoring system of tennis is a historical and sacred heirloom. Its depth needs to be honored.) (*ask leaders to simply make a TV or entertainment format if that is the end goal. Scoring system is sacred. Format is not!!)

Honor our Game - Protect Traditional Scoring!!!”


Charlie Tuna said...

Alright already. Give NO-ADD scoring a freaking break!

fan said...

Colette what will you do if John McEnroe succeeds in his evil attempt to adopt no ad in USTA juniors as well? You won't cover those events? Just curious.

Don't let up said...

I say keep the pressure on. Look what it is doing to college tennis everyday. Circus city.

Cory said...

Thank you Coach Krieise! I have not met one player yet who likes playing this new scoring system.

Colette Lewis said...

I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Dan - GA said...

Coach Kriese cares about the long term effect of this ridiculous scoring system. Good points made. Will the ITA and the USTA listen?

Tennis dad said...

To Fan, the USTA has already ruined juniors. I can't tell you how many USTA junior tournaments we have been to where they decide to "shorten" the tournament ( although i paid over a $100 tournament fee) by getting rid of the 3rd set and making it a tie breaker even though it says it will be 3 sets. This is indoors btw where the rush was they wanted to sell the courts to adults. Any complaints to Eastern fell on deaf ears.

Will they listen to Coach Kriese? said...

No ad is the worst. And they don't gain any new fans with this system, they just lose the old ones.

Shawn said...

Lot more cheating now in college and with two refs they just can't handle it. Good points made by Kreise.
Players hate it. Fans hate it. I guess the teams with the big upsets love it.

Maybe the tennis players can dress up in animal costumes too and that would bring more excitement. said...

The college game will not be a vehicle anymore for moving to the pros with the no ad. I guess they got their wish for excitement. Maybe the tennis players can dress up in animal costumes too and that would bring more excitement.

College player said...

Players want regular scoring, but are afraid to say so as we dont know where the coach stands.

Everyone gets a gold ball. said...

So sad. We had a great tournament in March for the 18's where all the best junior players came... Blue chips galore. And now this is a joke down in Alabama. But, the new younger parents don't even know about March Nationals now. Nor Copper Bowl, Southern Open, Texas Open, etc.
The USTA just continues to ruin our game. 4 star players are in a gold ball team event. What a disgrace to the gold ball concept. I guess everyone wins now.

Circus has come to town! said...

Circus city is right. Upsets galore. Rankings beyond bizarre. No ad is not working. Tennis players are not circus performers for everyone's amusement. Some of the guys were using it to try and go the pro route.

bystander said...

Why is it so hard for everyone to understand that the reason the rankings are so out of whack right now is because of the switch from coaches voting to computer rankings. This occurs every year the last week of February. (Refer to years past and you will see a dramatic change as well). Give it another two weeks or so and the rankings will begin to even out.

fan said...

Tennis dad/ I guess ITA/USTA have some feedback problems! None can accuse them as too democratic!

Tennis dad said...

Fan, not sure if you are being sarcastic. Complaints were made with phone calls and followed up by emails. Issues are either rationalized or ignored.

fan said...

Tennis dad/ Of course, I was sarcastic against those two orgs. ;) Reform is needed!