As a former college tennis player, I was quite concerned about the proposed changes that the NCAA wish to place upon the tennis matches for Division I the Men’s and Women’s Teams, beginning in 2014.
Here is a list of the proposed changes:
- All singles matches will be contested in a best-of-three set format with a super tiebreaker used in the third set. The first player to 10 will win the match
- Doubles matches will use a six-game set with a tiebreaker at six-all.
- Warm-ups with opponents will be eliminated
- The time between changeovers will be reduced from 90 seconds to 60 seconds.
In my opinion, a tennis match to be contested with a third set super tie-break is ridiculous, unless the match is a dead rubber. A part of the tennis game depends on the physical training that athletes put in day, day out, and endurance is a big part of the game. It’s a fight to the end – literally blood, sweat and tears. I can recall all the hours that our team spent travelling in the minibus, heading to different states, ready to take on our next conquests on the court. All the efforts and time to get to matches is worth the potentially longer hours to be spent on the tennis court – it’s not about showing up, playing a shortened version of a tennis match – it’s about getting there and winning a tough, fair and normal tennis match. That’s tennis – so why is the NCAA bringing these new changes to the table?
In regards to the warm-up being eliminated, again, absolute ridiculousness. Yes, a team generally warms up for 45-60 mins before play, but the 5 minutes that you warm-up with your opponents is another important part of the game. I used it, not to just get a groove with my own strokes, but to also try and suss out the opponent. It’s a more relaxed way to see how they hit the ball, how hard they can hit the ball and grab some mental notes on where they’re going with their serves.
Lastly, to reduce the doubles set is another act of ridiculousness! Just why, oh why!
Here’s a statement released to the Associated Press, by the NCAA:
“The recommendations are based on consensus from Division I coaches that a change was necessary to reduce the current length of dual matches and to bring greater exposure to college tennis through fan support and media opportunities, while also not lessening the participation and preserving doubles play — a priority for student-athletes and coaches alike”.
I truly believe that this is not an agreement made up by the majority of coaches and players involved in Division I tennis.
With all this said and done, please, please, please sign this petition to help reverse the NCAA’s recommendations!