Starting in 2012, I would love to see some changes to tennis! There are a bunch of things I would love to see happen in 2012; however, I don’t want to bore you with all the little ideas I have. I will outline some of the changes that would be awesome in 2012.
First I would start with making all the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events best of 5 sets for the men and same for the women (since prize monies are equal, right?). But, I would only make 4 1000 events mandatory and the remaining 5 tournaments optional. Along with this change, I would change at least 1 tournament to a grass surface and making it mandatory (Queen’s Club perhaps?) – currently 6 are on hard court and 4 are on clay court. Why the change? It’s pretty simple really, these are some pretty major tennis tournaments which I believe should be drawn out for a longer period of time so the spectators can get a taste of what they are missing by not being able to experience one of the four majors (I’ve been to BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, CA countless times and I’ve sat through finals that lasted just over 1 hour – ripoff?). I can foresee some of the players not being cool with this idea, but since there would only be 4 mandatory tournaments, I wouldn’t see it being a large change to the schedule.
Next item on the 2012 wishlist, start enforcing the darn rules! I’m not talking about handing out worthless warnings, I’m thinking actually calling the players out and enforcing the penalties that are stated in the ITF Rulebook. What rules am I talking about specifically? The time between points. Those precious 20 seconds between the end of one point and the beginning of the next point (point starts at ball contact of first serve). I’ve timed several players (I’m not going to name any names) during smaller tournaments all the way up to the majors, and I’ve found that on average, the worst violators of the rule , take about 34 seconds between points…34 SECONDS! We have all watched at least one pro get a “warning” for time violation, but really, the chair umpires need to grow a strong pair and start penalizing these violators by doing what the rules say…
“The first violation of this Section shall be penalised by a Time Violation warning and each subsequent violation shall be penalised by the assessment of one Time Violation point penalty.”
I know that my first two wishes for 2012 somewhat contradict each other; however, I would much rather watch a longer match with more games and points that to watch these pros walk around the back-court toweling off and selected the perfect two tennis balls for 45 seconds between each point. Ya feel me?
As much as I like the challenge, or hawkeye system, it’s somewhat flawed. It certainly keeps the line judges honest, and it gives the players a chance to challenge the officials. The problem with the system has to a lot to do with the decision making from the players themselves; players love looking at their players box (where coaches, hitting partners, parents, friends, girlfriends, and spouses sit) to help them decide to make the actual challenge. Chair umpires are also notorious for helping out the players making the choice to challenge or not. The rule says that the challenge should be called within a reasonable amount of time (I’d say about 5 seconds) and should be clearly audible to the chair umpire. Again, if a player breaks the rule, the chair umpires need to either reject the challenge or accept it and give a stern warning to the player that they have to speed up their decision and not be allowed to look at their players box.
Ok, enough with the rule changes I’d like to see in 2012, now onto the players. I would absolutely love to see Rafael Nadal break his tennis racquet at least once in his career. He rarely lets his Babolat AeroPro Drive GT touch the ground when he’s not playing an active point. I know he gets frustrated when things aren’t going his way, and I bet his thought hard about smashing his stick, yet he doesn’t 🙁
I would also love to see an American come through the rankings; I’m not talking about just climbing the rankings into the top 100, I’m talking about winning tournaments and really making runs at the majors. The US dominated the tennis circuit all through the 90’s and the first few years of the 2000’s, now it’s like the US is a joke. What happened? I will be writing about this topic in 2012, but not right now, it deserves it’s own posting (this means you should sign up for my newsletter). It’s unlikely that the current handful of players on the men’s side will be contenders to dominate the rankings in 2012; as for the ladies, there’s always Serena Williams, who’s more than happy to bully her way to victory.
I know that all these changes I’d love to see in 2012 are not going to happen, I can still wish right? All I know that is guaranteed is that I’ll be watching at least some history being made on the pro tour. If you could change something about the rules of tennis, what would you change? What do you wish to see happen in 2012?