11:36 PM GMT November 11, 2017
The inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan this week has showcased a number of rule changes and innovations.
The 21-and-under event has featured Hawk Eye electronic line calling, short format set (first to four games with a tie-break at 3-all), best of five sets with no-Ad scoring, shorter warm-ups, a shot clock, no lets, player coaching and one medical time out per match.
Ahead of the Nitto ATP Finals, beginning on Sunday, a number of the world’s best singles players expressed their views on what may become a reality on the ATP World Tour.
“I’m not sure if it’s the right way or not. If we aren’t trying anything, we can’t say we’re getting better. There are a couple of things I like, a couple of things I don’t like. We play a very traditional sport, there have not been many changes made in history. Of course some things should change, maybe not now, but in time. We have to find a way to produce the best show possible. If you ask me, if the sport should change, I would say “no”. I am World No. 1 and have achieved a lot of things, but if the game needs something to become more attractive to fans that’s the way the sport needs to move forwards. It’s about growing the sport globally.”
“I enjoyed watching it on TV and I’ve seen a lot of the matches. Sure, it’s been a lot of rule changes but it didn’t feel too different. You need to take these rule changes seriously, as the sport doesn’t want to jump back and forth later on. I don’t see that much wrong with the ATP World Tour right now, it doesn’t need much fixing. The shorter sets are somewhat intriguing, but the longer sets allow you to stretch a lead and allow you to try different things and work on stuff. If they were shorter, it means that every point counts so much that there is no room for anything anymore.”
“I don’t think many of the new innovations will transfer to the ATP World Tour. I think the automatic line calls will, I was positively surprised by that, and also the shot clock. That has potential and could be transferred. Everything else will not happen in my opinion.”
“I don’t like the scoring system, but I like the shot clock so everyone knows when a player needs to be ready again. It’s not on the umpire to decide. That’s a very good rule. Everything else should stay the same.”
“I’ve watched some of the matches. It’s been quite interesting and seeing what the coaches are saying at the end of sets, how the Hawk Eye line calling is working. The Shot Clock is something I think we can be introduced straight away in tennis. I’m not a fan of no let cords and the number of games per set. It’s slightly too short. If a guy loses serves, it’s tough to come back in the set. I liked Hawk Eye calling the foot faults.”
“I’m not the biggest fan of changes. Tennis is such a traditional sport. It’s been interesting to watch. My personal opinion is that I like the way the things they are.”