Coming to Tennis: Body Cameras?

It's just one of many interesting ideas for the game's future
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 11, 2016 1:40 PM CDT
Coming to Tennis: Body Cameras?
Fans watch a junior girls semifinal match as the serve clock winds down on the scoreboard above during the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in New York.    (Darron Cummings)

What if they put tiny cameras on players to get more dramatic TV angles? What if serves that dribbled over the net were fair game? What if servers were on a 20-second clock to start points? And how about scrapping the pre-match warmup so matches actually start on time? These are among the possible tennis tweaks and changes a top US Tennis Association official says are being seriously discussed, in some cases actually being experimented with, as the game's leaders brainstorm ways to—someday—make play at the highest pro levels faster and more television-friendly. And she says a changing of the guard underway at the top of the men's and women's games makes it a good time to do it, the AP reports.

Stacey Allaster, the USTA's chief executive of professional tennis, who came to the USTA recently after serving as chief executive of the Women's Tennis Association, said technology is a possible avenue of change. Allaster noted that shot-spotting technology to determine if balls are in or out, which has been a part of the Open since 2006, had the added benefit of helping fans get more engaged. The same could happen, she says, if tiny cameras are put on players' bodies or hats. "People could see what it's like to return one of these big serves." Other ideas that have been discussed, according to Allaster: eliminating the service let, which would allow serves that hit the net and fall in to be playable; tighter policing of player bathroom and injury breaks; and reducing or eliminating the pre-match warmup hit, which can delay the scheduled start of matches. The NCAA implemented that idea in its championships this year. And at the US Open's junior and college invitational tournaments this year, a 20-second serve clock is being used. Click for more. (More tennis stories.)

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