ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC - MensTennisForums.com
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...cle1637240.ece
New rules will remove the easy option on hard courts in Davis Cup overhaul

If Great Britain get a home tie in today’s Davis Cup World Group play-off draw, the chances are that they will choose to play it on an indoor hard court in September, with a return to the NEC in Birmingham on the cards. If a hard court is the team’s preference, it will be tweaked to suit the players John Lloyd, the captain, will have at his disposal.

Part of the Davis Cup’s folklore, with its home-and-away format, is that it offers significant latitude in favour of the home team’s choice of surface — but that is about to end.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF), which runs the competition, is ready to introduce a Surface Pace Rating (SPR) across the board on hard courts that will demand strict guidelines as to pace and texture, thus limiting the chance of a country producing ice-rink-like tops that might be to their advantage but ruin ties as a spectacle.

Francesco Ricci Bitti, the ITF president, has revealed that a two-year working party is about to reach a definitive judgment on what constitutes the fairest hard-court surface and a new Davis Cup rule — if agreed at the next annual meeting — will be passed, ensuring that any country staging a tie on a hard court will have to conform to the new measurements and consistency.

“Since 2004, we have been in a process of testing the machinery that can limit discrepancies because we found that several hard courts that have been used for Davis Cup ties were not fair,” Ricci Bitti said. “We are committed to finding a good solution because there have been cases where the visiting country has complained and we didn’t have the proper answers for them.

“Therefore, our rules were outdated and we need to change them. It is fair to say we have not been careful enough and that is not good for the credibility of the sport and the integrity of the Davis Cup. Some courts have been too fast, others too slow. It has been a long process, a bit longer than we had first anticipated, because of the sophistication of the machinery we are developing.”

Ricci Bitti’s overwhelming consideration is to defend the immense value of the Davis Cup, a competition that has blossomed for more than a century but remains vulnerable to those who would revolutionise its format and tinker with its place in the calendar. The president considers that in the tennis honour roll, the Davis Cup ranks a step behind the four grand-slam tournaments, that it is in rude health and should not be touched.

He is aware of concerns about player participation — Roger Federer, the world No 1, did not play in Switzerland’s first-round World Group defeat in February, but if Switzerland draw Britain today, he will return for the play-off — and says that anything the ITF might consider in terms of consideration of date changes will not come “free of charge”.

There is immense concern, too, over the moves by the Monte Carlo and Hamburg Masters Series tournaments, which are played on clay, to take out antitrust lawsuits against the ATP, the governing body of men’s tennis, over plans to demote them from the nine-event Masters Series.

Ricci Bitti is troubled by the proliferation of hard-court events and the preponderance of injuries to players picked up on that surface as opposed to either clay or grass. “My position on the clay-court season would be to make the ATP aware that this is very important for both the tradition and organisation of tennis,” the ITF president said. “The tournaments at Monte Carlo and Hamburg have contributed for over 100 years, fulfilling all the conditions the tour asked of them. They have paid the appropriate prize-money and even in the many years they lost money as individual tournaments, they have continued to be vital institutions.

“I would like to see a ‘soft’ evolution in the sport. We are now seeing the prospect of more combined events which will be having to find twice the levels of prize-money that they pay now and, in pure business terms, I have to say that this is very risky. The credibility of the sport is the most important thing.”

— James Ward, the world No 851 from Britain, failed to make the most of his wild-card entry after suffering a first-round defeat by Augustin Gensse, of France, the world No 433, in the Open de Tenis Comunidad Valenciana yesterday. On his ATP Tour debut, Ward battled hard before losing 6-7, 6-4, 6-3.

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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 08:07 AM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

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Originally Posted by mirkaland View Post
“I would like to see a ‘soft’ evolution in the sport. We are now seeing the prospect of more combined events which will be having to find twice the levels of prize-money that they pay now and, in pure business terms, I have to say that this is very risky. The credibility of the sport is the most important thing.”
Credibility? Tradition? What about making arbitrary, un-helpful changes to the sport? Isn't that just as important?

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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

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Credibility? Tradition? What about making arbitrary, un-helpful changes to the sport? Isn't that just as important?
To Disney it is, yes.

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 08:43 AM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

This could become a really interesting clash between Ricci Bitti from the ITF and Etienne de Villiers from the ATP.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 08:50 AM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

Get them in the boxing ring.

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

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I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 09:48 AM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

If they are going to ban ice rinks, ban those slow claycourts where you can go to the next bar, get a beer and comeback to play, since the ball is yet to touch two times on the floor...

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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 09:48 AM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

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Get them in the boxing ring.
I'm ready to pay good money to see that.

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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 09:53 AM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

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I'm ready to pay good money to see that.
You know the sad thing I think Don King is more honest than Tiriac, who is the puppet master for Mr.Disney.

On Nadal bumping him on the changeover, Rosol said: "It's ok, he wanted to take my concentration; I knew he would try something".


Wilander on Dimitrov - "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".

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Originally Posted by Filo V. View Post
I definitely would have preferred Gaba winning as he needs the points much more, but Jan would have beaten him anyway. I expect Hajek to destroy Machado, like 6-1 6-2.
Machado wins 6-2 6-1
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

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If they are going to ban ice rinks, ban those slow claycourts where you can go to the next bar, get a beer and comeback to play, since the ball is yet to touch two times on the floor...
Exactly. Who determines what's a "fair" surface anyway?

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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 12:47 PM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

Surely all this will serve to do is make the D-C a lot more predictable. If this rule is passed, what are the chances of a rank outsider like Belarus ever making the final again?

Lets hope De Villiers proves he's not a total waste of space and steps in to represent the general consensus of tennis fans.
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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 12:48 PM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

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Exactly. Who determines what's a "fair" surface anyway?
Exactly. And how is a surface 'too' fast or 'too' slow...by who's standards?
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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 12:49 PM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

^ Er....the article mentions a 2-year study into the matter.

Ricci Bitti said: "Some courts have been too fast, others too slow."
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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 12:50 PM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

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^ Er....the article mentions a 2-year study into the matter.

Ricci Bitti said: "Some courts have been too fast, others too slow."
Yes but what makes it too fast? Surely it is always going to be a matter of opinion..

Anybody know if this report is available for public viewing?
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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 12:56 PM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

This report still has to be approved, so I doubt very much that it will be available for public viewing right now.

Francesco Ricci Bitti, the ITF president, has revealed that a two-year working party is about to reach a definitive judgment on what constitutes the fairest hard-court surface and a new Davis Cup rule — if agreed at the next annual meeting — will be passed, ensuring that any country staging a tie on a hard court will have to conform to the new measurements and consistency.
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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-11-2007, 12:58 PM
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Re: ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

Also..

Just because a 'study' has been done, it does not mean that that is conclusive proof that new surface rules have to be brought in...

The ATP also produced conclusive results proving that the new Round Robin system was just what the sport needed....
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