Tennis fans are currently following Wimbledon, the biggest event of the year. Tennis is one of my sports and bless the British for trying to incorporate sportsmanship into the game they invented, but I think the rules of tennis are antiquated and need a serious overhaul. Here’s how I’d serve up some rule changes.
You toss it, you serve it.
When a player makes a bad toss to begin the serve, they catch it, hold up a palm of apology to their opponent and toss it up again. New rule: As soon as the ball leaves your hand on the toss, it counts as a serve, whether you hit it or not.
No more lets.
No more second chances on the serve because the ball hits the net and goes over. The ball hits the net and goes in, you play it. The ball hits the net and lands out, it’s a fault.
Simplify the scoring.
I don’t know who came up with the weird love, 15, 30, 40, deuce, ad in and ad out system, but it’s time to scrap it. You win a point, you get a point. You win four points, you win a game. I’d also get rid of deuce, and the whole idea that you have to win a game by two points or a set by two games. This would also eliminate the need for tiebreakers and speed up play.
Equal sets for men and women.
As it is now in major championships, women play matches of 2 out of 3 sets and men play matches of 3 out of 5 sets. This is a slam on women players, as if they don’t have the endurance to last for 5 sets. It’s time to make the playing field equal, literally. It would be nice if all players, men or women, could play five-set matches, but there’s a problem. It would take too much time, especially in the early rounds, to get in all the matches. Here’s my solution: In the early rounds, men and women both play three-set matches. Then, along about the quarter finals, when the herd is thinned out, men and women both play five-set matches for the remainder of the tournament.
Sunday tennis at Wimbledom.
It’s ridiculous, but midway through Wimbledom, on Sunday, when millions are off work and would like to be watching, there are no matches. Why? Tradition, but hanging onto a bad idea just because you’ve been doing it a long time doesn’t make sense.
Enough with the screaming.
Some players feel the need to scream every time they hit the ball. One player, Francesca Schiavone of Italy, sounds like she yelling an obscenity which I won’t mention in the interest of good taste. New rule: No more yelling. Shut up and play.
I think these rule changes would streamline tennis and make it more fun to watch and play. I’d expect at least some of them to become reality in one form or another sometime in the not too distant future.