By Livia Febe. Tennis. Published at Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 - 18:36:26 PM.
Both of those solutions boil down to money. Naturally for many in a 128-player draw that first round prize money is a big deal which is why they will show up to play even if they go in knowing they are unfit and may have to pull the plug mid-match. As a concession to that driving factor players will now be allowed to collect fifty percent if they withdraw after noon on site on Thursday but before the main draw begins. Coupled with this players who are knowingly unfit to play and still opt to compete could face a fine up to the total amount of their first-round prize money if they fail to finish the match or “perform below professional standards.” Together these two rules should encourage players to make the smart choice and subsequently improve the overall optics of the sport.
It is natural to get excited about these positives but it is important not to put the horse before the cart. The ITF has not yet enacted any of the proposed changes. It is encouraging however that they did unanimously endorse the proposed changes which will be reviewed at the ITF's general meeting in August. One hopes the changes will garner approval and whatever adjustments may need to be made in the future it is fantastic to see that the ball has finally gotten rolling to start making the Davis Cup relevant in tennis once again.
Another rule change designed to the improve the sport concerns the pre-match warm-ups. Administrators and pundits alike have been searching for ways to speed up the sport and they have a logical place to shave off some time when it comes to the warm-ups. Players will now be expected to meet at the net in a more timely fashion and adhere to the chair umpire's command when “time” is called or face a hefty financial penalty. The match is the main event after all so if any unnecessary dillydallying can be cut so much the better.
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.
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