How come a ball that ticks the net during a point is played; but during the serve, it is replayed? If you watched Olympic volleyball, you saw that sport changed their rule to speed up the game. Why doesn’t tennis do the same?
In an article for the NY Times, writer Stuart Miller makes a strong case. He points out that both World Team Tennis and NCAA Division I have taken the Big Step, with very little negative consequence. (In the case of college play, it was in reaction to receivers falsely calling Let to eliminate being aced).
According to the article, “As a part owner of the New York Sportimes, a World Team Tennis squad, Patrick McEnroe has seen the rule in action. McEnroe, who is also the general manager for player development at the United States Tennis Association, said that eliminating the let would favor people with the speed to adjust quickly and people with better racket skills.”
On the flip side, former player and Tennis Channel analyst, Justin Gimelstob, said “changing the let serve rule sounds great in theory, but added that the first time a big break point or match point was altered by a hard serve popping up and landing as a floater, there would be an outcry.”
“McEnroe said that would be a rare occurrence and not necessarily a negative one. ‘There’s also a chance that something extraordinary would happen, that a Djokovic or Nadal would scramble and run down the shot,’ he said.”
According to the author, “W.T.T. and the N.C.A.A. do not keep statistics on these serves, but [they] said very few balls just roll over and even pop-ups were rare compared with slight nicks.”
So, maybe we should let the Let go the way of the white tennis balls.