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Tennis 10sBalls Looks At The HOPMAN Cup • Tennis Consultant Lloyd Emanuel Shares His Views

Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland hold up the Hopman Cup after winning the mixed doubles match between Switzerland and Germany on day 8 of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia, 05 January 2019. EPA-EFE/TONY MCDONOUGH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland hold up the Hopman Cup after winning the mixed doubles match between Switzerland and Germany on day 8 of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia, 05 January 2019. EPA-EFE/TONY MCDONOUGH

 

I’ve really enjoyed the Hopman Cup the last 2 years (thanks in large part to Fed’s participation, which induced me to watch it). The finals both years were thrilling, and all the players compete with 100% intensity, even though there are no points involved. I am in favor of experimenting with all alternative scoring formats, as long as they are fair. Thus, my only objection to the mixed, fast 4, no-ad scoring is the antiquated and flawed Van Alen 9-point sudden death tiebreaker, which potentially allows for a player or team to win without a (mini)break of serve. And with the randomness of a racquet spin for serve, one team will hold the final serve at 4-all. Although the Swiss & Germans did trade mini-breaks yesterday in the championship-deciding final set tiebreaker, Federer did hold the final serve, which he converted. High drama, for sure, but unfair to the Germans. Funny, the commentators (former players), were completely perplexed at the Germans’ decision to receive first when they won the toss. To me it was obvious—they would hold the final serve in the event of a 9th point in a first set tiebreaker.

 

The tennis world is a mess with all the competing factions—World Cup of Tennis which is the ITF’s sell-out of Davis Cup, the ATP Cup which is the ATP’s answer & will kill the Hopman Cup, and the Laver Cup, the awesome Federer-backed special event, which the World Cup is trying to bury. Wondering how all this will play out.

 

Also very much enjoying (thank you Lovey) Julie Heldman’s brutally frank memoir “Driven”. Boy, did the powers in the game in the 50’s & 60’s (USLTA, ITF), try to constrain tennis players, especially women, from making a living. I recommend the book for any tennis junkie (especially of a certain age), New Yorker, tennis parent.

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