Tuesday, January 30, 2007

WTA to destroy women's doubles

In August of 2005, I wrote about the ATP's decision to ruin men's doubles. Now the WTA has decided to do something similar to women's doubles. Beginning next month at the Pattaya Open, there will be no qualifying rounds for doubles, the third set will be replaced by the super-tiebreaker (instead of a deciding set, there is a 10-point tiebreak game), and--worst of all--the ad point will be eliminated.

The purpose of this nonsense is to get more people to watch doubles since it will now be quick and dumb. The logic here escapes me: Tennis fans who play tennis generally play a lot of doubles and enjoy it, tennis fans who do not play tennis want to see real tennis, and everyone else is not going to watch doubles, anyway, because it is not marketed by the sports media, and because they are at a tournament to see big names only.

Veteran WTA doubles specialist and multiple Grand Slam winner Rennae Stubbs had this to say several years ago:

Why must the tennis hierarchy keep toying around with the idea that the doubles game needs to be fixed? What needs to be fixed is the way the players are marketed! And the way tournament directors schedule! Why would anyone watch a mixed doubles match featuring the best doubles players in the world when no one has ever seen them play on TV? Think about it. If more people got to watch doubles on TV, then more people would know us and then there would be no need to 'get us off the court in under two hours.' Tennis needs to market better -- period.

All of the changes hurt tennis, but the one that will kill it is the elimination of the ad point. Without the ad point, it isn't tennis at all. I don't know what it is, but it sure isn't tennis.


Well this just stinks. I don't have an opinion on eliminating qualifying. I think the super tiebreaker is a joke in 2/3 set matches. And I think eliminating the ad point is ridiculous. I was so happy to join a USTA league where ads are played. If you can't win by a margin of two is it really winning?
In close matches you see that sometimes the winner has only won a few more overall points. Without the ad it seems it would be possible to win the match with fewer overall points.
Come on--it would be like winning the election without winning the popular vote and we all know how well that goes.

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