By Aki Mai. Tennis. Published at Friday, December 29th, 2017 - 18:36:42 PM.
Advances in materials equipment conditioning and training have increased the pace of today’s game. Players look for any edge over their opponents: every gram counts. Bringing lightness to tennis footwear presents a unique challenge. Players not only need speed but just as importantly they also need support.
Arguably the biggest and most exciting change to the sport will not actually take place for another season but it will likely be well worth the wait. The majors have been seeding thirty-two players since 2001 but they will be reverting back to seeding just sixteen come 2019. One of the biggest complaints about the slams is that in most cases the top players predominantly waltz through the opening rounds. Often it feels like the majors do not really get going until the middle weekend as that is when the better matches start to take shape. While seeding only sixteen means that the seeds will collide even later it also increases the odds of more intriguing matches and upsets occurring throughout the whole event rather than primarily the back half of it. Often the proverbial cream will still rise to the top but it should be more entertaining watching it all unfold.
Two models in the 2017 Ultra line feature Countervail (CV) technology (the Ultra 100 CV and Ultra 105S CV) which is exclusive to Wilson performance rackets. CV is an integrated frame technology that minimizes vibration without sacrificing performance and feel. According to a University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology study** tennis players using a racket with CV experienced up to 30 percent less vibrational energy from the racket and as a result of less fatigue 40 percent more control over their shots. In addition to maximizing player energy CV shortens recovery time after matches.
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.
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