I heard an interview on the radio the other day with John McEnroe who has a few ideas on how to improve tennis as a spectacle.
He is advocating the following:
1. No warm ups for players (on court)
2. No let cords
3. Players calling their own lines
This doesn’t seem too radical an idea and might be approved. As a tennis anorak I quite enjoy the warm up as it gives you the chance to see lots of repetition on particular shots. (I may be in the minority on this one!) McEnroe relates this aspect of the sport to boxing where they come out, get announced and then try to kill each other! No soft jabs just to get going.
For the pro tour I could see this working, but at club or junior level I would still allow a warm up to give each player a chance to suss out their opponent and get a warm up! (Might not be so easy to get a tennis warm up before a match at a club).
No Let Cords On Serve
The LTA experimented with this years ago at Winter County Week and the feedback wasn’t great.
Yes, let cords can happen at any other time in a match and we accept it (some more than others), but the ball is generally passing the net higher and therefore less likely to be a let. Most players hit some amount of topspin which carries the ball a reasonable height over the net, whereas when hitting 1st serves I would argue that the ball is travelling closer to the net with more chance of a let occurring?
So…… no to let cords in my opinion.
Players Calling Their Own Lines
Now this is radical and McEnroe didn’t give the details on this one as to how many Hawk-Eyes you would be allowed.
Apparently some system of players calling the ball will be introduced at an upcoming Legends event.
Obviously at many levels of tennis this is what we do i.e. call our own lines, but at low pro level upwards there are line judges etc
Mac believes it will spice up a match, but I just can’t figure out how it will work? Hawk-Eye has shown us just how bad so many players are at deciding whether the ball was in or out with so many wrong challenges.
Yes it could add some emotion to a match and I’d like to see Nadal quizzing Novak on his line calls, but not sure if it will help the sport.
So, has Johnny Mac lost it – your thoughts?