Analysing Tennis: What If Rules Weren't the Same?

Rohini IyerSenior Writer IMarch 26, 2009

Considering that Roger Federer's recent loss at Indian Wells against Andy Murray has triggered a huge onset of articles [once again] on Federer, Nadal and the usual star studs, I felt I should digress from the whole issue and present tennis technicalities from a totally different angle.

And once again I riveted to cricket to aid me in this context: The game which inspires many many Indians to become literal maniacs and sports addicts with no possibility of rehab.

The article is presented in a "Kick- and-Kiss" debating style where I will be discussing: What if the rules are changed and tweaked based on a "Cricketing" style and why it would be loads better if the rules weren't touched at all?

I hope everyone reads and enjoys my "debating flair" presented in this article....

As everyone knows and is familiar with, tennis is a pure, no-nonsensical knock-out approach. Whoever plays well, wins and a few surprises can be expected on the way which is more commonly known as an "upset".

Cricket, on the other hand is a systematic game which requires patience, patience, and more patience!

When I say that cricket is systematic, I don't mean to say that tennis isn't, but cricket thrives on longevity as the main World Cup stretches like an elastic rubber band for at least a month-and-a-half. Not only do the World Cup that stretch that long, any ordinary cricketing event is just is that long as well.

However tennis, at the maximum is just a two week affair and before we realise that it has already begun, the weeks roll by. Also, tennis has a specific calendar year which means it starts shop on one fine day and shutters it on another.

I am totally meandering from the point here as I don't want to highlight the length of the tournaments in both the sports, but the "Rules" that I have keep repeating again and again.

Cricket enjoys what we call as "Round Robin" in the tennis parlance with each team competing once in the preliminary stages and then again (if they have gotten through) in the later stages. In cricket, only the QF and the SF are a knock-out and every team has to beat the grind once.

In tennis, only the years' end Masters Cup are held in "Round Robin" fashion while all throughout the year, the players spend their lives and heads hanging beneath a knife point.

So why not to keep the tennis events in such a manner that everyone gets more than one chance to his credit like a reverse rubber in the Davis Cup?

Agreed that the duration will be stifling and the number of competitions per year will have to be reduced, not to mention the players' tiredness and fatigue, but still its worth a try.

Similar to cricket where in case of a tie, we take into consideration the "Net Run Rate", in tennis we could consider the number of double faults in comparison to the winners and aces so that only the best among the two qualifies for the later rounds.



As to why the cricket method won't apply to tennis, it will be for the same reason I mentioned before, duration.

Tennis has four major events in one year plus a number of other secondary events. Cricket, however has one main event in four years along with a number of others scheduled.

The difference is hugely marked. Following a Round Robin pattern will mean that most of the events will overlap and even possibly the shutters might not even close. The players will have to be playing and flying from one part of the world to the other without any physical rest.

The groupings? How bizarre will they be? In cricket, we have mostly four-six groups of teams which means that if there are 16 countries they will form four groups of A, B, C and D. Whereas in tennis, we have 128 players entering in the main draw of a Slam.

The working out of the permutation to group these 128 players will be an enormous task and then they will be playing more than once! It looks so cluttered and cloistered and from the fan's perspective, highly convoluted to watch the game.

Therefore, it is better that cricket follows its own ideologies and tennis its own glamour. Like two parallel lines which can never intersect, the two great games can and should never be crisscrossed.