In Brief

Tennis to vote on rules shake-up

Shot-clocks and shorter sets among ideas to speed game up

Tennis could be set for the biggest shake-up in the sport’s rules for generations in a bid to attract younger fans.

The habit of players demanding towels from ball boys between every point to wipe themselves down will be a thing of the past if the plans are voted through.

Tennis authorities are aware that the sport needs to evolve, much in the way cricket has with the Twenty20 format.

Some of the innovations were trialled at the ATP’s NextGen Finals this week including shortening sets to the first to four, getting rid of line judges altogether and broadcasting pep talks between players and coaches.

While none of those gimmicks are likely to be seen any time soon at Wimbledon, there is an appetite within the sport for change, says The Times.

“A shot clock, in-match coaching and a reduction in the number of seeds from 32 to 16 are among reforms to be discussed by the Wimbledon Championships and the other three grand-slam tournaments in London next week. The All England Club takes pride in maintaining the traditions of the sport but has realised in recent months that it may fall behind the other grand slams if it refuses to adopt some innovations.”

So which changes are likely to get the thumbs up? There is backing for a shot clock which counts down from 25 seconds between points to speed up play and a limit of just one toilet break per match instead of two.

Others include reducing the number of seeds from 32 to 16 to increase the chances of closer contests in the earlier rounds and allowing players to communicate with their coaches during matches.

But the experiment with a ‘no lets’ rule on serve, a sudden death point on deuce and cutting sets to first to four did not prove as popular when tested at the NextGen Finals in Milan.

ATP President Chris Kermode told The Daily Telegraph that retaining the status quo was not an option.

“I’ve been amazed at how many people have spent the last 20 years telling me tennis is so conservative and then the same people have come to me now saying ‘oh, you’re messing with the game’. I personally think there are quite a few things that we’re trying here [in Milan] that really make a difference but I’m not running this as a dictatorship. We’ll gather feedback and make a collective decision on what we can do.”

The Daily Mail, however, believes the changes should go even further suggesting “while we are at it a phased-in banning of serial grunting and yelping, among men and women, would also be a very welcome move. If only the authorities could pluck up the courage to do it.”

Tennis could be set for the biggest shake-up in the sport’s rules for generations in a bid to attract younger fans.

The habit of players demanding towels from ball boys between every point to wipe themselves down will be a thing of the past if the plans are voted through.

Tennis authorities are aware that the sport needs to evolve, much in the way cricket has with the Twenty20 format.

Some of the innovations were trialled at the ATP’s NextGen Finals this week including shortening sets to the first to four, getting rid of line judges altogether and broadcasting pep talks between players and coaches.

While none of those gimmicks are likely to be seen any time soon at Wimbledon, there is an appetite within the sport for change, says {1} The Times.

“A shot clock, in-match coaching and a reduction in the number of seeds from 32 to 16 are among reforms to be discussed by the Wimbledon Championships and the other three grand-slam tournaments in London next week. The All England Club takes pride in maintaining the traditions of the sport but has realised in recent months that it may fall behind the other grand slams if it refuses to adopt some innovations.”

So which changes are likely to get the thumbs up? There is backing for a shot clock which counts down from 25 seconds between points to speed up play and a limit of just one toilet break per match instead of two.

Others include reducing the number of seeds from 32 to 16 to increase the chances of closer contests in the earlier rounds and allowing players to communicate with their coaches during matches.

But the experiment with a ‘no lets’ rule on serve, a sudden death point on deuce and cutting sets to first to four did not prove as popular when tested at the NextGen Finals in Milan.

ATP President Chris Kermode told {2} The Daily Telegraph that retaining the status quo was not an option.

“I’ve been amazed at how many people have spent the last 20 years telling me tennis is so conservative and then the same people have come to me now saying ‘oh, you’re messing with the game’. I personally think there are quite a few things that we’re trying here {[n Milan] that really make a difference but I’m not running this as a dictatorship. We’ll gather feedback and make a collective decision on what we can do.”

The {3} Daily Mail, however, believes the changes should go even further suggesting “while we are at it a phased-in banning of serial grunting and yelping, among men and women, would also be a very welcome move. If only the authorities could pluck up the courage to do it.”

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