ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

ITF to introduce strict guidelines on hard court surfaces used in DC

nobama
04-11-2007, 07:00 AM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article1637240.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“Therefore, our rules were outdated and we need to change them.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.

uglyamerican
04-11-2007, 07:07 AM
“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?

nobama
04-11-2007, 07:32 AM
Credibility? Tradition? What about making arbitrary, un-helpful changes to the sport? Isn't that just as important?To Disney it is, yes. :o

Castafiore
04-11-2007, 07:43 AM
This could become a really interesting clash between Ricci Bitti from the ITF and Etienne de Villiers from the ATP.

Action Jackson
04-11-2007, 07:50 AM
Get them in the boxing ring.

Andre♥
04-11-2007, 08:48 AM
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...:rolleyes:

Saumon
04-11-2007, 08:48 AM
Get them in the boxing ring.

I'm ready to pay good money to see that.

Action Jackson
04-11-2007, 08:53 AM
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.

nobama
04-11-2007, 11:44 AM
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...:rolleyes:
Exactly. Who determines what's a "fair" surface anyway?

JustJames
04-11-2007, 11:47 AM
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.

JustJames
04-11-2007, 11:48 AM
Exactly. Who determines what's a "fair" surface anyway?

Exactly. And how is a surface 'too' fast or 'too' slow...by who's standards?

Castafiore
04-11-2007, 11:49 AM
^ Er....the article mentions a 2-year study into the matter.

Ricci Bitti said: "Some courts have been too fast, others too slow."

JustJames
04-11-2007, 11:50 AM
^ 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? :confused:

Castafiore
04-11-2007, 11:56 AM
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.

JustJames
04-11-2007, 11:58 AM
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.... :rolleyes:

Castafiore
04-11-2007, 12:10 PM
The ATP also produced conclusive results proving that the new Round Robin system was just what the sport needed.... :rolleyes:
True but just because the RR experiment was a fiasco, that doesn't have to mean that every new proposal offered by the ATP or the ITF has to be one.

We have no idea what the result of this study on "fair DC surfaces" is.
It's not a matter of personal preference (slow, fast) but it has more to do with consistency and making sure that a surface has the right sort of measurements IMO.

In Belgium for example, in the DC tie against Germany, there was a very slow indoor clay court installed. It was far from a good surface (not only Haas wasn't really happy but Olivier Rochus didn't like it either): not regular enough, not up to a high standard.
Whether a surface is slow or fast, surely, it has to be meet certain minimum standards?

t0x
04-11-2007, 12:10 PM
So ultra fast hard courts are going...

But stupidly slow clay with one billion stroke ralleys are allowed to stay?

BS if you ask me...

Castafiore
04-11-2007, 12:13 PM
So ultra fast hard courts are going...

But stupidly slow clay with one billion stroke ralleys are allowed to stay?

READ: Ricci Bitti said: "Some courts have been too fast, others too slow."
So maybe - just maybe - that includes the ultra slow surfaces as well?

It's only a study, the results haven't been approved yet and we don't know the finer details of it but hey, let's shoot it down before knowing what we're talking about.

JustJames
04-11-2007, 12:14 PM
So ultra fast hard courts are going...

But stupidly slow clay with one billion stroke ralleys are allowed to stay?

BS if you ask me...

No...

"Some courts have been too fast, others too slow"

Both extremes are covered...

Bloodletting
04-11-2007, 02:50 PM
what a load of BS. One of the things that make DC so interesting is that you get surreal home courts which you can't see on normal tour championships.

Come on, this is tennis, not golf... with one Ryder Cup is enough, no need to turn the Davis into that...

GlennMirnyi
04-11-2007, 03:51 PM
Ricci Bitti is trying to top Etienne in the :bs:ting department. I hope this never comes true... the best part of DC is seeing teams of moonballers gettin' pounded on ice-rinks and vice versa.

Action Jackson
04-11-2007, 03:53 PM
Ricci Bitti is trying to top Etienne in the :bs:ting department. I hope this never comes true... the best part of DC is seeing teams of moonballers gettin' pounded on ice-rinks and vice versa.

This has not been confirmed that this will happen, from now on they might as well play all the events at neutral venues and forget about the home advantage and the challenges winning away from home.

GlennMirnyi
04-11-2007, 03:54 PM
Let's all play in Shanghai then. :D

W!MBLEDON
04-11-2007, 03:58 PM
:retard: I prefer slow hard courts over ultra fast hard courts... I mean, if you're a paying spectator, you aren't going to want to see games full of ace, unreturned serve, unreturned serve, unreturned serve, ace, ace, 3-shot rally, ace, unreturned serve, ace... You want to see RALLIES. You want to see the ball LANDING IN PLAY A FEW TIMES... sheesh. Then again I guess it has its cons.

... Would anyone care to explain them to me? -_-

GlennMirnyi
04-11-2007, 04:02 PM
:retard: I prefer slow hard courts over ultra fast hard courts... I mean, if you're a paying spectator, you aren't going to want to see games full of ace, unreturned serve, unreturned serve, unreturned serve, ace, ace, 3-shot rally, ace, unreturned serve, ace... You want to see RALLIES. You want to see the ball LANDING IN PLAY A FEW TIMES... sheesh. Then again I guess it has its cons.

... Would anyone care to explain them to me? -_-

That's because you're a Hewitt-fanboy who likes to see grinding. People used to watch the great tennis of the 90s miss the fast courts.

Action Jackson
04-11-2007, 04:08 PM
That's because you're a Hewitt-fanboy who likes to see grinding. People used to watch the great tennis of the 90s miss the fast courts.

Yes, that was tennis. If you think tennis is just service winner, ace, double fault, ace, service winner, double fault, service winner, then be my guest. That was why the game got slowed down cause of that.

W!MBLEDON
04-11-2007, 04:10 PM
Thank you... Somebody sees my point. -_-;

GlennMirnyi
04-11-2007, 04:11 PM
Yes, that was tennis. If you think tennis is just service winner, ace, double fault, ace, service winner, double fault, service winner, then be my guest. That was why the game got slowed down cause of that.

Well, there was clay for those who liked rallies, and clay was slower. I prefer it like that. Slow and fast courts. Not this all-regular circuit.

Action Jackson
04-11-2007, 04:15 PM
Well, there was clay for those who liked rallies, and clay was slower. I prefer it like that. Slow and fast courts. Not this all-regular circuit.

Yes, this is the problem the clay was sped up and nobody complained or very minimal at least, but this is not the same these when the ice rinks were slowed down, there is outrage.

As for the balance, well it's a difficult thing.

W!MBLEDON
04-11-2007, 04:15 PM
I agree. Fast courts are entertaining, but it just goes over the top when the court is so fast, there is only a rally every fifth or sixth point. I love long rallies. So exciting, wondering who's going to crack first... Or hit the wonderful winning shot...

With ice rink-like courts, I can only keep my fingers crossed for an actual rally.

GlennMirnyi
04-11-2007, 04:19 PM
Well, I like to have variety. Nowadays, there is an effort by the ATP to make the circuit full of grinders and moonballers.

W!MBLEDON
04-11-2007, 04:22 PM
Indeed... I don't like super-mega-enormously fast courts... but that doesn't mean I'm okay with someone just hitting the ball up high into the air to keep a rally going. :\

alfonsojose
04-11-2007, 04:47 PM
Too much slow hard courts = Hell on player's knees and bodies. In the end, everybody is going to lose :smash:

alfonsojose
04-11-2007, 04:48 PM
Well, I like to have variety. Nowadays, there is an effort by the ATP to make the circuit full of grinders and moonballers.

:yeah: and not only on clay, now hard courts, so injuries will be more frecuent

Action Jackson
04-11-2007, 04:49 PM
Too much slow hard courts = Hell on player's knees and bodies. In the end, everybody is going to lose :smash:

No need for the slow, it's just too many hardcourts.

GlennMirnyi
04-11-2007, 04:53 PM
:yeah: and not only on clay, now hard courts, so injuries will be more frecuent

Agreed. HC weren't supposed to be all so slow. In the end all players will be injured most of the time.

kristanmichelle
04-11-2007, 05:20 PM
Are they going to regulate the clay courts then also, and not just the "slow" hard courts? It seems unfair to take away one extreme -- the icerink -- and leave another (read: molasses like clay-court). If they want to adopt court standards they should try to do it in an even-handed manner.

As far as injuries go, they will never be eliminated in a sport whose season is 11 months out of the year, regardless of clay, grass, hard surface.

MaryWalsh
04-12-2007, 02:33 AM
I am really glad to see that this is being seriously considered. The surface in Switzerland was dangerous this year, with Stan Wawrinka paying the price, and several others with minor injuries, including the Swiss coach.

alfonsojose
04-12-2007, 03:26 AM
No need for the slow, it's just too many hardcourts.

Maybe, but longer points on them can't be better. But i'm pretty sure you'd love Hamburg surface everywhere ;) . But what about carpet? Obviously it is not clay but i've heard isn't that bad on your knees

Action Jackson
04-12-2007, 06:35 AM
Maybe, but longer points on them can't be better. But i'm pretty sure you'd love Hamburg surface everywhere ;) . But what about carpet? Obviously it is not clay but i've heard isn't that bad on your knees

No sweetie. I don't always like heavy mud like surfaces, for a change they are good, but not for the majority of time. Just like the ice rinks for DC, well they used to play on wooden boards before, that wasn't fast enough.

As for carpet well there isn't much give and that relates to the wooden boards comment above, it depends on how thin or thick the layer of carpet is. Obviously the thinner it is the harder it will be on the joints.

Unless players play like Karlovic, hardcourts are a problem for the hip and other parts of the body no matter how long the rallies are.

alfonsojose
04-12-2007, 03:06 PM
No sweetie. I don't always like heavy mud like surfaces, for a change they are good, but not for the majority of time. Just like the ice rinks for DC, well they used to play on wooden boards before, that wasn't fast enough.

As for carpet well there isn't much give and that relates to the wooden boards comment above, it depends on how thin or thick the layer of carpet is. Obviously the thinner it is the harder it will be on the joints.

Unless players play like Karlovic, hardcourts are a problem for the hip and other parts of the body no matter how long the rallies are.

thanks for the info , sweetie :kiss: