Monday, February 28, 2011

A proposal to change tennis scoring

I think that winning sets by being the first player/pair to win six games, by two, or (absent that) seven by two or by tiebreaker is great, perhaps even genius.  But have you ever thought that the typical intra-game scoring is rather absurd?  I mean “15-love”, “15-all”, “30-15”, “30-all”, “40-30”, “deuce”, “ad in” (or “ad out”), “deuce”, etc. until “game” is pretty inane.

We count points during tiebreakers regardless of the format – 12-point, Super, Coman, etc. – so why not use numbers within all games?  Play the first one to four points by two; at 4-all, play until someone wins two consecutive points but keep track of the point score.  In other words, a game that goes to deuce five times before someone wins it would be scored 10-8 (or 8-10).  Kind of gives you a sense of the nature of the competitive nature of the match, doesn’t it?

Imagine a TV audience that consists of more than just tennis fans.  Don’t you think they might get more interested after hearing a game score called “12, 11”, “13-13” or “14, 15” vs. “ad in”, “deuce”, and “ad out”?  I do.  Not only would counting points in each game make compiling match statistics easier, but a casual or non-fan that’s just flipped the channel to a tennis match would know instantly that they’ve tuned in to a hard fought game/match, which might make them more likely to continue to watch it.

I realize that team tennis and some other tournaments in the past have attempted this already (perhaps tennis purists at the time couldn’t handle it).  But look at other popular team and individual sports; some, like baseball, are all about statistics, and the golf tournaments in which they keep track of every stroke through 72 holes are more popular than the match play events.

Tennis instantly turns off "stats junkies" with its ridiculous scoring system.  The commentators could then say (later in the match, for viewers that have just tuned in):  “this is the third game that Roddick has had to win at least 10 points on his serve to win, that's got to be taking its toll and it doesn't look very good for him to be having to go this deep into games in only the second set (even though the set score is even)”.  It gives viewers a better sense of the 'battle' within the match.

Therefore I propose that the USTA et al adopt point count scoring in every game, not just the tie-breaks, because I believe it would make even routine matches more interesting for all sports fans.  What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Just came across this post because I was thinking the same thing! I'm all for it!