Players band together to fight new doubles rules
ATP stars plan to plead case to world media
By Charles Bricker
August 31, 2005
NEW YORK · You couldn't call it a revolution ... yet. But the ATP's doubles players appear to be bordering on rebellion over the radical new scoring rules that are scheduled to go into place after the U.S. Open and they're going to plead their case as a group on Friday.
Either today or Thursday, several high-profile players, including the Bryan twins of the United States, Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden, who is one of the elder statesmen on the tour, singles and doubles, will announce a press conference to make their complaints heard.
What better stage than New York City, with approximately 1,000 media representatives from all over the world and almost every high-ranking ATP official in town?
Doubles players have complained about the changes individually, but this is the first time they've come together as a group to show their solidarity.
Beginning with tournaments at Bucharest and Beijing, doubles matches are to be dramatically shortened in time by playing no-ad (first one to four points with the receiving team choosing ad or deuce court for the serve on the seventh point) and tiebreaks at 4-4. In addition, if sets are one-all, a super tiebreak (to 10) will be played.
Could there be legal action threatened at this meeting? Wayne Bryan, father of twins Bob and Mike Bryan, wouldn't give a direct response.
But it is more likely that the players are going to demand the ATP rescind the rules changes and commit to spending more effort and money promoting doubles at tournaments.
Charles Bricker can be reached at [email protected].
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