Tennis Evolution: How Rule Changes May Help the Sport Remain Relevant
It is not at all uncommon for sports to evolve over time. Sometimes this happens to accommodate changes in technology, requests from players and owners, or a need to deliver what the public now wants from a sport. The latter reason is behind some proposed tennis rule changes announced recently.
The longest professional tennis match took place in 2010. John Isner and Nicholas Mahut battled it out over the course of three days before the former finally triumphed. In all, the contest lasted a staggering 11 hours and 5 minutes.
However, as the Wall Street Journal reported, the actual tennis playing accounted for less than two hours of that time.
With attention spans shortening and so many entertainment options available, there is concern that both current and potential viewers may not watch professional tennis as we know it. The proposed solution? Speed things up.
Association of Tennis Professionals President Chris Kermode feels these suggested changes are, "not only about the next generation of players, but also about the next generation of fans."
"We will be sure to safeguard the integrity of our product when assessing if any changes should eventually be carried forward onto regular ATP World Tour events in the future," he says.
Here are the proposed rule alterations:
The number of seeds would drop from 32 to 16. The idea here is to make the early matches more exciting due to the higher caliber of players. Viewers would become hooked from the beginning and then keep watching right through the championship.
First to six game sets would drop to first to four, with a tiebreaker resolving a 3-3 deadlock. Also, a sudden death deuce point (allowing the receiver to choose their court side) would replace so-called advantage scoring. Sets would be best of five.
Reduced Starting Time
Once the second player steps onto the court, the match must begin in five minutes, down from the previous ten.
Already tested at the U.S. Open qualifying and the Next Gen ATP Finals, this would ensure players adhere to the 25-second rule between serves. The clock would also time the warm-up, set breaks, and medical timeouts.
A no-let rule for serving.
Player and Coach Communication
While communication would still be possible between players and coaches at certain points during the match, the latter could no longer step onto the court.
Electronic Line Calling
There would be only the chair umpire on the court. An electronic line calling system would signal unsuccessful serves and when the ball is out, replacing its human equivalent.
Increased Spectator Freedom
Elimination of the rule restricting spectators from coming or going during a match.
Kermode stated that these alterations should not alienate the current fanbase. A shorter format and faster pace may well stop people from changing channels, but that remains to be seen. If these come to pass, it will certainly be interesting to gauge player reactions, particularly veterans who made their reputations via the traditional form of play.
Changing demographics are also clearly a factor. As the veterans who reliably drew viewers enter retirement, executives hope to attract a younger demographic to the sport. The thinking is that a swifter game, and not just exciting personalities, is key to making that change.
Why Indoor Tennis Season is the Best Time to Get a New Racquet
As the outdoor tennis season winds to a close, it’s time to move your tennis training indoors. It might also be time to look at getting some new gear. If you need to get a new racquet, now might be the perfect time to do so.
Can’t tell if you need a new racquet, though? Some of the tell-tale signs that it’s time to get a new one are:Why Indoor Tennis Season is the Best Time to Get a New Racquet
Dents and Damage—If your racket bounces off the ground enough times, there might be enough damage to the structural integrity that it might be better to get a new one than wait until it fails during a game.
Falling apart—When pieces start to fall off, it’s likely time to get a new one
Doesn’t feel right—It doesn’t always have to be the racket’s fault. Perhaps your game has changed or you feel you’ve outgrown your racquet. A racquet should match your style and if the one you’re using isn’t up to the task, you should get a new one.
Also keep in mind that your old racquet might just need to be re-strung. A good quality racquet can be restrung a good number of times before you have to move on. A good rule of thumb for how often to restring your racquet is to take the number of times you play per week, and that’s the number of times you should restring in a year. Of course, if you play hard and for long periods of time, you might want to double or even triple that.
Depending on your level of play though, you might be changing racquets every year, and if so here are a few tips to help you choose a racquet.
Get the Right Grip Size
Tennis racquet grips range in size from 4” to 5 5/8”. You probably already have an idea if a thinner or wider grip size feels right for you, but be sure to try out a slightly smaller or larger grip size. You might find a new preference.
Choose the Right Length
The standard racquet is 27” long but if you’re looking to add more power to your swing, you may want to go to a longer racquet. Of course, if you already have a preference, stick to what you know. Some players know the feel of exactly how much power to put in to get the shot they want, changing your racquet could throw this off.
Look for Signs of a Quality Racquet
Racquets come in all different shapes, sizes and materials as no racquet is perfect for everyone. Because of this, it’s hard to just point at a racquet and say, “that’s the best one that you should buy.”
A few signs of a quality racquet that you should look out for are that the racquet is strung with high quality strings, the brand is something you can recognize, and the racquet feels balanced in the hand.
There are plenty of other signs of a poor-quality racquet, but those should be obvious when you pick it up.
What it comes down to at the end of the day is that you should pick a racquet that fits your playing style and works well for you. Keep this in mind when you’re choosing a new racquet for this season of indoor tennis training. If you like your new racquet, you’ll be all set for next summer’s outdoor season!
Tennis is both a wonderful sport and an excellent way to stay in shape, though it can be a bit of a challenge in Canada.
Let’s face it, you can only comfortably play tennis outdoors for about half of the year. This may not even be the case from coast to coast. Fortunately, indoor tennis in air-supported domes makes the harsh conditions of fall and winter an afterthought when it comes to playing tennis. The only potential trouble you have now is negotiating a few snow-covered roads in your car on the way to the game.
Regardless, we suspect there might still be a few sceptics out there who feel indoor tennis is a compromise that does not present this time-honoured game in its truest form. This is a myth! Here are seven more indoor tennis myths that also deserve immediate debunking.
1. It’s Stuffy and Uncomfortable to Play Inside a Dome
The great outdoors means fresh air, a nice breeze, and ideal playing conditions, right? Not necessarily. In fact, your wonderful afternoon on the courts could easily fall apart thanks to high humidity, blinding sun, troubling wind gusts, and unexpected rain.
Domes are completely climate controlled and offer optimal, predictable comfort 365 days a year. It will be just as nice to play in a dome on January 1st as it is on July 1st.
2. Playing Indoors Causes Major Changes in Your Game
For the vast majority of players, this will not be the case. The only point of interest here is that domes will offer a cooler playing temperature during the warmer months than outdoor play. This can cause balls to bounce slower indoors, but most any player can quickly adjust their game accordingly to accommodate this difference.
3. There Isn’t Sufficient Lighting to Play Properly
Domes are huge; how can they have enough lighting to keep the courts properly illuminated? Well, they can and do thanks to the miracle of dome LED lighting systems, which are bright, dependable, and use less energy than older forms.
4. It’s Too Cramped Inside a Dome
This is not the case. Careful planning allows domes to make maximum use of the available space. This ensures sufficient room for the tennis courts and any other activities housed inside.
5. The Dome Ceiling Will Limit My Game
Unless your game strategy involves hitting the ball dozens of feet in the air and having it rain down on your opponents, a dome’s ceiling height will not come close to being a factor.
6. You Can’t Play a Round Robin Inside a Dome
See #4. A carefully organized Round Robin can occur either outside or indoors. Planners simply figure out the space they have available, decide on how many players can participate, and schedule the matches accordingly. Playing inside or outside does not factor into it.
7. You Can’t Find Partners to Play During the Winter
We may not know where you play, but a lack of players has not been our experience. In fact, once a dome opens in an area and announces they have tennis courts, people are often scrambling to book court time. This is especially true when it is no longer comfortable to use the outdoor courts.
The Perfect Place for an Air Dome: Why Air Domes Can be Built Nearly Anywhere
Early in the decision to build an air dome, a common question is, “Is this a good spot for a bubble?” Odds are that, yes, you can build an air dome there, and yes, we’ve most likely already done it before.
Whether it be a lone bubble in the middle of an empty field, or a dome squeezed into the heart of a city, domes are remarkably adaptable. Because of the simplicity of the design, it’s actually a lot easier to get a dome into some places than to build something out of steel and bricks.
Dome in the Country
Air supported structures are appealing when you’re looking to build something big. And the best place to build something big is where you have a lot of space. The problem though, is that building something large like an indoor sports complex, can be a challenge.
Big buildings typically need lots of materials, lots of time, and lots of money. This isn’t true for an air supported structure, though. Domes don’t need near as many materials to build. After the foundation is built, the fabric for an air dome takes up very little room at all. This makes them ideal for transporting long distances.
If you need to build a large indoor sports facility in a remote location, bringing in an air dome might be the simplest, and best, solution.
Dome in the City
Modern cities are so jam-packed that it’s hard to fit in anything new, especially when it’s something as big as an air dome. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t done it.
Historically, the way to make the most of the limited space in a city is to build up. Tall buildings mean more floors for more offices and apartments for people to live and work in. It’s the footprint that matters when building in a city.
When looking for a place to put an indoor tennis or soccer facility, it can be tricky to find a spot with a large enough footprint to give players and athletes the room they need to play and train.
Luckily, air domes are a perfect solution to make the most of unused spaces. Bubbles have been installed on top of other structures like short buildings or parking structures. Of course, there’s a limit to how high a dome can be installed—you wouldn’t want one high up on a windy, swaying sky-scraper—but plenty of unused rooftops have been converted to indoor tennis courts.
You can even place air domes over unused parking lots. And if the city ever needs that parking space back, the dome can be deflated and quickly taken away.
And finally, building a dome inside the heart of a city is a lot easier than building another brick and mortar facility. The hassle of obstructing traffic, and getting in people’s way is much less when building a dome that can be brought in on a single truck.
Wherever you’re looking to build a dome, it’s always going to be a perfect fit!
Winter is here and that means professional tennis players are hard at work training (on indoor tennis bubble courts, hopefully) in preparation for the 2017 season. While 2017 is only a few days old, fans have already begun to speculate on who might dominate the courts in the coming year.
Since we ended 2016 with a roundup of the year in tennis, this week we weigh in on what the ESPN experts had to say. This may help you to decide which players to root for during this year’s tournaments.
The Australian Open
This tournament starts the season and takes place in the latter half January. The consensus is that on the men’s side, Andy Murray will dominate despite having lost the final match in this tournament five times over the past 7 years.
On the women’s side, it could be a tossup between Serena Williams and last year’s champ, Angelique Kerber.
The French Open
Occurring from the 28th of May to the 11th of April, the second Grand Slam event looks to be an interesting one. The predictions are a little less definitive, but it looks like Rafael Nadal might be the one to come out on top. He seems to be the most deadly on a clay surface.
Last year, Serena Williams lost to Garbine Muzura in last year’s final at the French Open. Because of Garbine’s strength on the clay, most writers agreed that it could likely be a repeat from last year.
The famous English tournament is happening from the 3rd to the 16th of July this year and it looks to be another doozy. For the men’s, Murray is naturally a top pick for some, but a couple others are picking the veteran, Roger Federer. If Roger wins, it would be his 18th Grand slam title—an achievement that just might motivate him enough to give it everything he’s got left.
It looks like Serena Williams is the by far favourite for this tournament, taking place on her strongest surface: grass. It would be a surprise to see her lose a tournament she’s been so successful at in the past.
The US Open
The bookend Grand Slam event will be starting on the 28th of August and ending on the 10th of September. Historically, Murray hasn’t done his best at this tournament, but a couple writers think he may just turn it around. The other top pick is Juan Martin Del Potro, who just might find himself at home on this surface.
For the women, the writers don’t really have a favorite, so it looks like this one could be anyone’s tournament. Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber, Maria Sharapova… Be careful if you’re betting on this one!
What do you think? Are ESPN’s predictions on target? It will be fun to look back at the end of 2017 and see just how close they were!
As 2016 comes to a close and a new year for tennis is on the horizon, now is the perfect time to recap some of the highlights from the last year in tennis, from rising players to veteran wins.
Rise of Milos Raonic
For the sixth straight time, Milos Raonic received the honour of being Canada’s male player of the year in 2016. This was not the only recognition of Milos’ rise in the tennis world. In 2016, he rose from a ranking of 14th to third in the entire world. He even made the Wimbledon final, but lost to the legendary Andy Murray. A feather in Raonic’s cap for the year, however, was his win in the Brisbane final against Roger Federer and a second victory over Federer at Wimbledon. Some even expect that Milos will win a Grand Slam sometime in the next few years of his tennis career.
Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber Named ITF Champions
To top off stellar years in tennis for both players, Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber were named ITF Champions for 2016—Andy Murray for the men, and Angelique Kerber for the women. Kerber made history with this title as the first person from Germany to win since Steffi Graff in 1996. Murray made history as well, as he became the first person from Great Britain to win since 1973 and the second oldest since John Newcombe in 1974.
Wimbledon 2016 Champions
Wimbledon was once again a banner year for all those who won. In the Singles category, Andy Murray came out on top for the men and Serena Williams emerged victorious for the women. This was Murray’s third Grand Slam in Singles and his second Wimbledon win—his first was in 2013. For Serena, this was her 14th title at Wimbledon, seventh in the Singles category, and her 22nd Grand Slam in Singles.
Other winners at Wimbledon include Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in Men’s Doubles; Serena and Venus Williams in Women’s Doubles; and Heather Watson and Henri Kontinen in Mixed Doubles. These wins served as the first titles at Wimbledon for Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Heather Watson.
Other significant events in the tennis world in 2016 included Monica Puig’s Olympics gold win in singles, Dominika Cibulkova’s win in the WTA finals in Singapore, and Alexander Zverev’s first title in St. Petersburg, Russia.
With such a phenomenal year in tennis at an end, one cannot help but wonder—will 2017 shock the tennis world? Will it top these memorable events from the past year? Only time will give us an answer on that one.
One of the nice things about tennis is that it can be played on several types of surface (take that, hockey!) If you regularly enjoy the game, you have likely played on various types of courts. You may have developed a preference for one over the others, but have you ever wondered just what the difference is?
When you think of professional tennis, grass courts usually come to mind. Grass is the surface of choice at Wimbledon and offers the greatest challenge for players. Grass is slipperier and that causes the ball to move faster. However, because grass is softer, the ball also has a lower bounce than on other courts. That means less time to reach the ball before it hits the court.
Players with a strong serve and a good net game tend to prefer this surface, but slick grass can cause problems even for seasoned professionals, as Serena Williams discovered at the 2016 Wimbledon.
From an ownership standpoint, grass is easily the most expensive and time-consuming option as it requires constant mowing in order to maintain a flat surface. Frequent watering is also a necessity. As a result, grass courts no longer enjoy the popularity they once had.
The deep red colour of clay courts make them easy to spot and these find favor with dedicated players because of the extra challenge they offer.
In contrast to grass, clay causes the ball to bounce much higher. It also reduces both the skid and speed of the ball, meaning that players will need to compensate with speed of their own. Players whose skills center largely on how hard they hit the ball find themselves at a disadvantage on clay.
Those in the Toronto area who prefer this surface can make use of the Har-Tru clay tennis courts at the Granite Club and the Badminton and Racquet Club. Both are air-supported domes that allow the courts to remain in use during the winter months.
Far more commonly seen, hard court offers financial advantages. Comparatively economical substances, such as concrete, provide its foundation, and very little maintenance is required. This makes hard court the perfect choice for private court owners, small tennis clubs, and community centers.
Hard court also offers a middle ground for general players as the surface does not have as dramatic an effect on the ball as either grass or clay. This means that no one type of user can dominate based solely on a single playing skill.
Of course, we don’t mean carpet in the traditional sense here (though it would be fun watching people trying to play tennis on a shag surface!). A carpet court is one made of synthetic material and is rolled out, like a giant mat, and placed over another surface. However, this type of surface fell out of favor and is rarely used.
Tired of putting your racquet in the closet when the first flakes of winter start falling? Join one of the clubs mentioned above or contact your local air-supported dome in order to reserve some court time over the holidays. Don’t let the cold keep you from year-round fun and good health!
Professional Athletes and Teams That Train In Air Domes
Air bubble sport facilities are a great option for everybody because of the relative ease of construction and lower costs, but it shouldn’t be surprising that even top tier athletes train under bubbles. After all, air domes create a perfect environment for indoor training. When it comes to training, air domes just make sense.
Over the years, The Farley Group has helped create structures that are not only used by weekend athletes and young future stars, but professional players as well. Here are a few of the professional teams and athletes that train and perfect their skills underneath Farley air domes.
The Toronto FC
Did you know that Toronto’s Major League Soccer team practices in a bubble? During the winter, the Kia TFC training academy at Downsview Park doesn’t close up and force the players away from home. They bring the indoor facility to the training ground.
The Toronto FC players need somewhere to continue training when the weather starts to get hairy, so a Farley Group dome is inflated over the training field each fall to keep the players warm and dry.
This year the TFC have done particularly well. The team are now preparing for the Eastern Conference final against the Montreal Impact. Hopefully, all the dome training will pay off and bring the team victory!
The world of tennis is full of super stars but one of Canada’s top tennis talents is Daniel Nestor. We’ve mentioned the Daniel Nestor Tennis Centre before when we wrote about the Davis Cup.
If you’re not familiar with his career, Daniel Nestor has had a long and impressive career. As one of the foremost doubles players in tennis history, the Toronto, Ontario player has 91 men’s doubles titles making him the third most successful doubles champion of all time.
The tennis centre named after Daniel is an air supported bubble covering six HarTru clay courts. The Centre focuses on game development for players of all ages and while Daniel himself trains around the world, he does stop in for visits to play and impart his knowledge to young tennis up and comers.
Chicago Fire Soccer Club
There must be something to this idea of soccer in domes. Another MLS team to recently adopt an air dome for their training space is the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club, named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, quickly set the League ablaze with their appearance. In their first season as part of the league, the Fire won the MLS Cup and the US Open Cup.
While the team have faced stiffer challenge as the League grew and matured, the team are continually striving for improvement. One of the strategies for continual improvement is the betterment of the team’s training facility, the PrivateBank Fire Pitch. As of the winter of 2015, the facility includes a 100,000 square foot Farley air dome.
As you can see, it’s not just youngsters and amateur athletes training in domes, it goes all the way up to the pros! For sports and indoor training facilities, a dome just makes sense, regardless of skill level.
Most Torontonians lead fast-paced lives that sometimes makes it tough to look after their health. While there are various health clubs located in the downtown core, those looking to play racquet sports rely on the Badminton and Racquet Club.
Boasting 2500 members, the club is conveniently located at 25 Sinclair Avenue West and has been a local mainstay since its opening in 1924. In addition to offering first-rate tennis, squash, and badminton courts, there is a dining lounge and gym facilities. This sort of inclusiveness, combined with the clean facility and professionality of the staff has earned the Badminton and Racquet Club the fine reputation it continues to enjoy.
While the club only offered badminton upon opening, it has since become renowned for its tennis. Everyone from children to seniors use the courts, and the staff coaches are members of the Tennis Professionals Association. Tennis is often a sport enjoyed by families, and the Club provides the sort of safe and social atmosphere that both parents and children appreciate. Competitions such as the Canadian Racketlon Open make use of the club’s courts as a venue for the world’s best players to demonstrate their abilities.
The Club has also earned notoriety as the only place in downtown Toronto where you can play the unique sport of platform tennis. A variation on tennis played outdoors in winter, platform tennis is not well known but has its enthusiastic adherents. Fortunately, those who desire to play good old-fashioned tennis during the winter can still do so in comfort.
The facility recently underwent a renovation that saw the addition of fitness and wellness facilities. These further enhance the organization’s all-in-one nature, but the changes did not compromise the members’ racquet sport options in any way. In fact, one of the goals was to make the tennis selections even better.
In order to accommodate the continued demand and provide enough court space, the management recently expanded the appeal of this Toronto institution by adding a new air-supported dome. The facility’s four Har-Tru clay tennis courts have hosted everyone from casual enthusiasts to Olympic athletes and are now accessible for play all-year-round.
Measuring 188’x115’x40’, the dome allows participants to concentrate on their game in full, environmentally controlled comfort. While outdoor play enjoys the benefits of the sun during the spring and summer, members enjoying themselves indoors need not worry about inadequate lighting. Illuminated with 32 new LED lights, the facility offers effective, even lighting that allows comfort for the eye while also making sure that the ball remains visible as it zips back and forth across the court.
LED lights also turn on immediately. The metal halide lighting used in some stadiums can take a good ten minutes to turn back on the event of a power failure. If the lights were ever to go off in the Sinclair Avenue area, they would immediately return once the power resumes. This means increased safety and a minimal interruption in players’ games.
Air-supported domes from the Farley Group make it possible to enjoy your favorite sports all year-round. Contact the dome in your area for more information about their activity schedules and how you can play your favorite sports throughout the year!
It’s that time of year again where The Farley Group is run off its feet, busy installing domes for another winter season.
That’s just the way we like it, though. Being so busy, we sometimes forget how amazing air structures really are and what they mean for our clients. Being able to offer outdoor amenities while the weather is nice, but convert them to indoor facilities for the winter months is an unparalleled benefit that sport clubs can attain with an air supported dome.
Despite our hectic schedule, we have a blog to write! So here’s a little write-up about another one of our seasonal domes. This one belongs to Hollyburn Country Club, and this tennis dome matches perfectly to the needs of this premier West Vancouver family activity facility.
The 42 acres of space actually sits in the mountains in an amazingly scenic natural area. The country club prides itself as “a club for the modern family.” And the services and amenities on offer, perfectly reflect the needs of modern active families.
For those interested in sport, they have facilities for aquatics, curling, figure skating, hockey, karate, and squash to name a few. For general fitness, they have everything that you’d expect from a high calibre athletic centre, including personal training and fitness classes. And it’s not only fitness services available—there’s also music programs, dining facilities and a myriad of other services and programs available for their members.
One of the biggest and most influential sports programs at the Hollyburn Country Club is the tennis program. The Club is a recent recipient of Tennis Canada’s Facility of the Year Award, and if you ever stop by to play, you’ll easily see why.
There are a total of 25 courts, some grass and some clay. These courts house recreational as well as competitive play for a wide variety of age and play levels—from beginners, all the way up to nationally and internationally ranked players.
New for this year, a tennis bubble goes up to protect four courts during the winter months. This dome went up for the first time this fall and hopefully it will get plenty of use for those tennis players that won’t let seasonality of sport stop them.
This dome is 205 feet long, 124 feet wide, and 40 feet tall. A leading edge LED lighting system illuminates the dome, while keeping energy consumption low. Another unique thing about this air dome is its colouring. One end of the tennis bubble is green, to help it blend in with the natural environment and increase the esthetic look of the dome. Very cool!
For more information about tennis bubbles, or if you’re looking to install one at your own tennis club, contact us today or keep an eye on our website for all the latest news, info, and tips about air supported structures.