November 30, 2020

This is what tennis will be like after Rafa Nadal

The Masters of players under 22, the Next Generation ATP Finals that was born in 2017, has become a test bench to test where tennis is heading. Already said Gerard Piqué, the promoter of the new Davis Cup. “It's about the parties not getting too long because people have a hard time keeping their attention. They have to be more exciting games, reduce and the players have less time on the court, ”said the inventor of the new Davis. And the philosophy of Piqué, curiously, has guided the ATP in most of the novelties that have been introduced in the edition that concludes today.

The matches are not played to the best of three sets. They are the best of five, but … The sets are solved in four games, not six. In case the tie is reached, a tie-break is disputed. The youngest have not put problems. Another thing is the critical posture of the classics. The reason for the shortest format was to look for more tense moments during a match and the ATP will add up to the accounts: if five sets are reached, it is necessary to win the same number of games (12) as in the traditional format.

The great novelty of this edition that is celebrated in Milan are the technological innovations and their use by coaches and players. These can communicate with their technician during some sections of the match. That is why in some stops it is not strange to see the players put on helmets and in the box of their turn to see their technician make the same gesture and start talking. Corrections can be made during the game using the multitude of data that players and their team have access to. The only prohibition, unlike what happens in the women's circuit, is that the technician cannot enter the track.

One of the measures that has convinced the players the most is the video review, since the control over the decisions taken by the chair judge is increased. The player may request that many actions be reviewed: double jackpot, infractions in one hit, double hit, when the ball hits the racket or clothing, invasion … The obsession with time means that players will only have four minutes since the second player enters the court. And the clock that marks the time between point and point will be followed closely. The 25 seconds between points will be measured strictly and the medical times – one per player – are also very controlled.

As if the ATP took some of Nadal's customs as a reference, there are also new rules on the use of towels. Players must use a towel rack at the bottom of the court, eliminating any contact with the ball catchers. In this way, the ATP pursues that the moments of tension do not end up becoming unpleasant gestures towards the ball boys.

The most traditional see in many of the measures a lack of respect towards the players. And one of the most controversial is the freedom of movement of the public during the matches. Except in the funds, fans can move freely in and out of the stadium during the matches. What is pursued? The ATP seeks to create a more relaxed climate and that fans are not obliged to remain seated in their locality for a specific time.

The tournament in question does not serve to score points on the circuit, but the prizes are as juicy as if it were an ATP 500. The De Miñaur, Ruud, Kecmanovic, the Spanish Davidovich, Tiafoe, Humbert, Ymer and Sinner have pocketed $ 50,000 just to appear. Each victory in the first phase meant $ 30,000 more and if the champion takes the title without giving up a match the reward is close to 400,000. The tennis of the XXII century is here.

. (tagsToTranslate) mariano ruiz díez

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