At the Net: Some random tennis thoughts

I'd like clear out a notebook by posing some thoughts and raising some questions in and around the world of tennis.


How does Serena Williams capture Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and an Olympic gold medal, all in the same year, and check in at No. 4 in the world?

No. 4!

I understand the women's ranking "method" works on a 52-week cumulative "system," but it's obvious to me that it's not working very well ... with Serena's current standing as your prime evidence.

In the aforementioned 52-week span, Serena also reached (but unfortunately lost) in the 2011 U.S. Open final, which means she's appeared in three of the last five Grand Slam finals, winning two, yet she's somehow ranked behind Agnieszka Radwanska? Agnieszka Radwanska!

This has to be some sort of joke, right?

And did I mention that Serena also leads the tour with six titles in 2012?

Whether you're a fan of Serena Williams or not, she's clearly the best women's tennis player in the world right now (and quite possibly ever before it's all said and done).


The on-court shrieking in women's tennis has to end NOW! With all due respect to the likes of Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and Bojana Jovanovski (especially Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova), those noises that you make have nothing to do with a "ball-striking mechanism."

Monica Seles, of course, was the original queen of such bewailing, to the point where it could only be viewed as one thing -- a major distraction to everyone involved.

The powers that be in tennis decided the Victoria Azarenkas and Maria Sharapovas of the world could continue with their disquietude, deciding instead only to crack down on the next generation of female tennis stars.

Why is that? Why can't we put a stop to the (I'll say it) unsportsmanlike conduct exuded by the you-know-whos on the WTA circuit right now?

Let's get with the program!

By the way, Azarenka and Sharapova don't even make those awful sounds while hitting countless balls out on the practice courts. So why so on game day?

Can you say gamesmanship?


Last week, the ATP's board of directors approved a rule change regarding the time (and more time) taken in between points. Starting next year, 25 seconds will actually be the longest amount of time a player can take in between points. He will be penalized with a warning for the first violation, while the penalty for the second and all subsequent violations will be a fault for the server and a point penalty for the receiver. Currently, the rule is a warning and then point penalty for both the server and receiver.

The new rule has been prompted by the deliberate play of such stars as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who are well-known for their toweling routines and extended ball-bouncing.


The fifth set in all men's matches at the majors has to be shortened to a tiebreak (like they do at the U.S. Open), as opposed to the current set-up at Wimbledon, the French and Aussie Opens and Davis Cup -- which is having to win by two games. How much tennis do these guys need to play? And just how much tennis do we fans need to watch?

Five sets is already pretty (if not too) long if you ask me, and with its current state, the fifth set can sometimes turn into, in essence, a sixth, seventh or eighth in Davis Cup or at a Slam (just ask John Isner).

At some point, players need to head to locker rooms, fans have to go home and the lights need to be turned off at arenas/stadiums.


How come the ATP stages 62 tournaments, in 31 countries, on six continents, but not one of 'em is played in the tennis-history-rich city of Philadelphia ... my hometown? How does Winston-Salem get a tournament over us? Winston- Salem!

We played host to the great U.S. Pro Indoor event for 30 years (with its prime run coming in the 1970s and '80s) before it was discontinued in 1998. The tourney featured a who's who of champions/tennis gods like Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker and Pete Sampras, just to name a few (or in this case, seven).

Let's at the very least get some Davis Cup action back in Philly, which has actually hosted a whopping six Davis Cup finals ... just none since 1939.

There are no men's tournaments in the United States after the U.S. Open? That's a span of roughly three months. What gives?

Come on ATP, we want back in! Don't we?


Four different men captured Grand Slam titles this year for the first time since 2003, and Andy Murray became the first man to win the U.S. Open and an Olympic gold medal in the same year.