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Cummings & Goings XII by Jim Cummings

December 31, 2007 07:15 PM
New For The New Year
 
2008 brings with it a change that is more conformance to accepted practice than any real change, yet it is a significant departure from tradition. Beginning January 1, except for pro sets, advantage sets will no longer be used. If games reach 6 all, a set tie-break (7x2) will be played. No more marathons. How well I remember a finals match I played against my high school teammate back in northern Wisconsin for the city championship of Marinette.

The temperature was in the low 90s that summer afternoon; unusually warm in a city located 50 miles north of Green Bay.  I won the first set 18-16; lost the second 10-8 and won the third 18-16. That night, my buddies and I stopped at the A&W. Another car pulled up and what looked like an old man got out. I was feeling like an old man myself at the time, but felt a lot better when I saw that the "old man" was my teammate who I had played against that afternoon.
 
Now, for all the die-hard traditionalist out there, it is not wrong if you want to keep playing advantage sets. I know golfers who play winter rules all year long. But, if you are playing in a USTA sanctioned or sponsored event, you're stuck.
 
Another change that will have practically no impact at all (because it was so little used) is the elimination of the option to use a 7 point tiebreak in lieu of a 10 point tiebreak to decide a match. Now, the 10 Point Match Tiebreak is the only Match Tiebreak.  And the 7 Point Set Tiebreak is the only Set Tiebreak. That being the case, what is the need to reference either by  number? Just like a set is 6x2, we don't say 6-game set, do we?

No, we say Set. Enough said.
 
An improvement that involves no changes is the consolidation in Friend At Court (FAC) of just about all the duties of the Tournament Committee in one table and the duties of the Referee in another. The above responsibilities are spread throughout the Regulations and it's not an easy job finding some of them; so their being all together in one spot is a great help. As I see it, these tables will become the standard reference for who is in charge of what in a tournament. And, this year's FAC reinforces the Regulation that neither the Tournament Chair nor Tournament Director are permitted to serve as Referee or Deputy Referee or assume their duties.
 
Finally, there is a comment added to Tournament Committee's duties suggesting that they familiarize themselves with the USTA Emergency Care Guidelines which can be found online at www.usta.com. in the Sport's Science Resource section. Rather than suggest, I highly recommend you do so. Don't wait until it is too late.
 
Annual Pitch
 
All the above and a lot more can be found in the 2008 Friend At Court (FAC), the USTA Handbook of Tennis Rules and Regulations. FAC is USTA's most popular publication, aside from its magazine and souvenir programs. Until this year, you could call a toll free number and order a copy of Friend At Court. That is no longer the case as I just found out when trying to call the toll free number.  Now you have to go online to www.usta.com. The 2008 edition should be available sometime mid-January and as far as I know, the price is still only $5.00.
 

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