By Juliya Tatyana. Tennis. Published at Thursday, March 29th, 2018 - 11:25:02 AM.
Overall this would seem to be a great plan but it is not without its drawbacks. The biggest of those drawbacks is that with the event only being staged over one week at a single venue it eliminates the advantage and atmosphere of the home ties. Squads will no longer have the advantage of selecting a surface that favors them over their opponents. Furthermore the rowdy raucous and festive home atmosphere which is so hard to replicate throughout the rest of the season will likely be missing to some degree in this new format.
This playfully competitive angle is the second big trend that Babolat taps into. The app accompanying the POP has a social tie-in that allows users to post their scores and see how friends are doing. Speed of serves the length of rallies and the topspin on a forehand all become a part of the PIQ scores users and networks compete for. Normed across sports a tennis player will one day be able to challenge a golfer across the integrated platform. Supercomputers put together data from millions of strokes recorded over the course of two years to create the measures and calibrate the sensors that can now be used by pros and novices alike with any tennis racquet.
In addition to the loss of the home ties another minor drawback is that if this new format does what the powers-at-be hope it will there may be fewer Cinderella stories. One of the most common complaints about Davis Cup is that the top names do not participate with enough frequency. Their absence however opens the door for journeymen players some of whom rarely are able to venture outside of the Challengers or qualifying rounds to step into their shoes. Over the years fans have seen more than a few of these competitors really rise to the occasion to achieve what will be the crowning moments of their careers.
All told the Grand Slam Board on paper at least got a lot right with these changes. It is sure to be an adjustment for all and much will also depend on how strictly some of these changes are enforced. If handled properly however these should make tennis more exciting and improve the image of tennis as a whole.
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