Tag Archives: Tennis
In an attempt to make the game more spectator friendly, the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) has made dramatic changes to the format of Division I tennis. The NCAA’s decision is sparking huge backlash on social media from Division I athletes, coaches and professional tennis players alike.
Under the changes, singles matches will no longer be played the best of three sets. Instead of a full third set, the players will instead play a ten-point super tie breaker to decide the match. Doubles matches have also been shortened to one six game set instead of an eight game pro-set. Once two doubles matches from the same team have won their matches, all doubles matches will end, regardless of the score. The time players have between doubles and singles has also been reduced from ten minutes to five minutes. Changeovers have been reduced from 90 seconds to 60 seconds and warm-ups between opponents have been eliminated completely. There is also no-Ad scoring for men’s double matches.
These changes have been made not for the good of the game but to increase the amount of profit brought in by spectator viewership of the sport.
“The shortened format may provide exposure opportunities through television coverage, live streaming and local media coverage,” said the NCAA “It is difficult and cost prohibitive for television to air a 4.5 hour college tennis match. In addition, it is very challenging for local media (television or print) to watch and cover an entire dual match. Therefore, the sport lacks local and national coverage, which will be improved with a format that consistently finishes within a three-hour time frame.”
However, altering the game to fit into a time slot on television is detrimental to the game itself. Tennis, in nature is not a fast-paced sport in the way sports like football and basketball are. Shortening matches is not going to be an effective way to broaden sports audiences because people who like tennis will watch tennis, regardless of the duration of time it takes to complete a match.
If the NCAA’s goal is to encourage more athletes to play college tennis with the intent of “going pro” after college, they are still missing the mark. In professional tennis, women play a full three sets and men play five full sets. Both women and men only play set tie-breakers, never match tie-breakers. The reduction of time for the matches is detrimental to athletes wanting to play professional tennis since the average tennis match can last anywhere from 3-5 hours on average.
“If college is used as developmental step for kids to then play on tour, it would help if it was the same scoring, obviously,” Rajeev Ram said, the current A.T.P. No. 100 in singles and No. 55 in doubles. Ram played one semester of college tennis at University of Illinois before turning professional in 2004.
“If I’m going into a match knowing that all I’ve got to do is win one set and then I’m into a breaker, I think I would play a little differently. And out here [in the professional circuit] that never happens,” Ram said.
The changes have sparked huge backlash from Division I athletes and coaches across the nation.
“This new NCAA tennis format is a total joke,” tweeted Aaron Pfister of Michigan State. “Beyond disappointed to hear about it. Changes the way matches will go 100%. #furious”
“Well looks like effective September 1st I can start eating all the burgers I want since I won’t be playing any three set matches,” tweeted Emina Bektas of the University of Michagan.
Even University of Georgia Coach, Manny Diaz was furious with the changes.
“Will kill our college game as we know it today” tweeted Diaz, later adding, “Or we could just flip a coin for doubles point. That would shorten it. Don’t see baseball playing six innings or [basketball] three quarters.”
Legendary American tennis players like John McEnroe and up and coming U.S. players like John Isner and Sam Queery have also shown huge opposition to the changes even encouraging the repeal of the rules to no avail. The decision was reached by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (I.T.A.) during the I.T.A. Convention this past December and the changes have been officially made by the NCAA.
The changes apply to both men and women’s tennis and are affective in September 2014.
Camille Weber/Sports Columnist
Men’s tennis saw improvements on Saturday Feb. 22 in both in singles and doubles, but still resulted in a 9-0 loss against Whitworth College.
The Wildcats didn’t lack competitive drive even though two of their players were injured, which caused them to forfeit two matches because they didn’t have a full team.
“Fridays loss to the reigning conference champs actually gave us confidence going into Saturday because we all felt like we played well and surprised a very talented team with how hard we played,” junior and captain Lukas Kleinman said, “We definitely improved from Friday to Saturday because we listened to our coaches advice and tried to use different strategies and patterns.”
Freshman Kelsey Rosborough and Kleinman, lost a very close doubles match, 8-6, against the Whitworth pair.
Rosborough was a standout this weekend, according to Kleinman, he lost a very close singles match, 6-2, 6-7(6-8), 9-11.
Junior and Captain Micah Roos and sophomore Tim Hawkins lost their doubles, 3-8, but improved across the board since Friday against Whitman, in both doubles and singles.
“Saturday we played a lot better,” Hawkins said. “We were competitive as a team, and a few points here and there would have been a different outcome. We are showing a lot of growth already.”
In singles, Roos lost 6-3, 6-3. Hawkins also lost his singles, 6-2, 6-4 and sophomore Nick Konen lost 6-0, 6-0 after having to sit out his doubles match due to forfeit.
“Micah and I saw a lot of growth in the younger guys this weekend and those were two of the best teams in the conference so, although we are disappointed that we lost, we see something to build on,” Kleinman said.
Linfield visits University of Puget Sound March 1 for the next Northwest Conference matchup.
Rachael Gernhart/Staff Writter
Anxiously awaiting the start to their upcoming season, the Linfield Women’s Tennis team is radiating with high morale and positive energy. January term was packed full of practicing and conditioning for these girls; and their spirits were high for their first match, Jan. 14, against the College of Idaho. Senior, Caroline Brigham is confident that the team’s hard work will pay off in these upcoming matches.
“I feel good about it. They’re not in our conference so I’ve never really seen them play, but I think we should do well,” Brigham said.
The team is starting off their season healthy and fit, much to the liking of their coach, Lisa Macy-Baker. Macy-Baker keeps the girls in prime shape through daily practices consisting of hitting drills, match play, and an emphasis on lifting and sprints. Overall fitness is a large focus for the team this season.
“You can tell already before we’ve even played matches that it’s paying off,” Brigham said. “Our endurance as well as our speed and agility have increased. Lisa [Macy-Baker] wants us to work hard and she pushes us to do the best we can.” This is Macy-Baker’s first year as the head coach of Linfield’s Women’s Tennis team.
As with any team sport, not all motivation stems from the coaching. Some of Brigham’s most compelling motivation comes from her supportive teammates. The girls all get along well and are great friends, which makes for a strong team dynamic that ultimately has a positive effect on their performance.
“Tennis is something I’ve done my whole life, and playing here at Linfield has made me fall in love with tennis even more,” Brigham said.
This being Brigham’s last season playing Linfield tennis, she hopes to use her leadership to leave behind a positive impact on the team.
“Everyone on the team has taught me something, even those who are younger than me,” Brigham said. “They are always teaching me things that make me a better player and a better person.”
Brigham hopes that the camaraderie that the girls have together now will continue even after she is no longer playing along side them.
“I think that is what makes our team so special,” Brigham said. “We know how to compete hard, but then go home and be friends after.”
Mikenna Whatley/Staff Writter
an off-note, Linfield’s women’s tennis team has high hopes and expectations for their new head coach this season, and vice versa.
Lisa Macy-Baker, Linfield’s new NCAA Compliance Officer and head women’s tennis coach, has spent the last 12 years working as both a special education teacher and a women’s tennis coach at Mountain View High School in Bend, Ore., McMinnville High School and Duniway Middle School in McMinnville.
“So far Lisa is well liked by our team,” junior Gretchen Jernstedt said in an email. “I think she will bring some fresh ideas and plans, while also staying open to our feedback.”
Macy-Baker was “born and bred” in McMinnville and has been playing tennis competitively since her freshmen year of high school. Macy-Baker considers it her “first love” in regards to sports.
“I took my first private lesson from Linfield’s number one tennis player at the time,” Macy-Baker said.
Macy-Baker grew up in McMinnville and later attended Oregon State University after receiving a full-ride basketball scholarship. She played basketball her freshmen year, but quit due to the lack of support she received from her coaches while they were under investigation for violations.
“I learned a lot from that experience and it helps me now as a coach,” Macy-Baker said. “I know that I want to make sure my freshmen are well supported and well taken care of.”
Macy-Baker plans to meet with freshmen players on a weekly basis to ensure they are receiving the necessary support to succeed—not only on the courts, but in the classroom as well. Other plans for the six-week fall season include player performance evaluations, spring season preparation and outdoor practices as often as possible before the rainy season.
“Our long-term plans are to maintain the excellence that has been this program,” Macy-Baker said. “Last year was a bit of an off year…But [if] you look at the history, they have won the conference [title] six out of the last 10 years.”
Practices are scheduled everyday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. She has also planned various 6:00 a.m. conditioning sessions and time for weight lifting. According to Jernstedt, this year’s practice schedule is slightly different than last year’s.
The women’s tennis will play their first preseason tournament in late September, and will have various inter-squad matches throughout the season.
Macy-Baker also plans to have the team participate in McMinnville’s Runtoberfest, a community run on Oct. 5 that raises money for the McMinnville Education Foundation.
“We want to optimize the team experience,” Macy-Baker said. “Tennis is often viewed as an individual sport, but the way it’s set up at this level, it is truly a team sport.”
Samantha Sigler / Editor-in-Chief
Samantha Sigler can be reached at LinfieldReviewEditor@Gmail.com