Game, set, match

Setting aside their differences, leading tennis players of the country have come together to plan for and protect the future of the game in the country. The issue has acquired urgency after the thrashing the country’s leading singles player received at the hands of Roger Federer in the French Open currently underway. They have always been losing to unknown and inheralded players all over the world, but when they start losing to Roger Federer you need to do something, as the whole world is watching.

Readers may recollect that an effort had been made some months back by a few players to get the two warring factions together and discuss the future of the game in the country. However, more pressing issues at that time, like lobbying for staying out of the losing Davis Cup team had taken precedence. The team had lost 1-4 to another country from Asia.

That effort had been widely praised by politicians of all hues and affiliations. The Sports Minister had said that the country’s tennis teams, who had been losing badly to leading tennis playing nations like USA, Spain, etc., could ill afford to ignore opportunities presented by the region. “I am glad to see that we are now losing by the same margins to countries in Asia. Why should we go all the way to the US or Spain, or even Serbia or Greece for that matter, to lose badly, when the same result can be achieved closer to home? What is even more remarkable is that we are breaking new ground and losing to nations that have no pretensions of knowing how to play tennis. This is a true demonstration of the democratic values our country lives and loses by”, the knowledgeable minister had gone on to say.

In a rare show of solidarity, auguring well for the future of the game in the country, all leading players, putting aside their wheelchairs and walking sticks, have put their heads together and issued a strongly worded joint statement. Without mincing words, and displaying their authoritative grasp of the history of the game, they have squarely blamed a past generation of players for needlessly introducing athleticism and aggression in the sport. According to them players like Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and Boris Becker need to stand up and take responsibility for introducing these foreign qualities into a, till then, gentlemanly game. Things went from bad to worse and have now come to such a pass that you have players like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal who can keep running, stretching, twisting, lunging, for five hours without breaking into a sweat.

They have asked ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and ITF (International Tennis Federation) for a level playing field. How can you pit a person like Djokovic who can keep running and sliding and hitting for 5 hours against someone who starts panting after jogging from the baseline to the net, they have rightfully queried? Governing bodies of the sport have been forced to take note.

Further, in a bid to secure the future of the game, the group has petitioned ATP to initiate a new discipline, of triples. Movement of fit and capable singles players into the doubles arena is likely to defile the doubles arena as well and it is important that we introduce a new event in order that the purity of the sport is not compromised, they have forcefully argued. ATP has agreed to examine the issue and take suitable action.

In deference to the logical demands put forward, and to keep the sport healthy and competitive, ITF has decided that henceforth Davis Cup will be played on an entirely new surface. It is called PS3.