"Such a joke I'm in disbelief";"Want to get rid of doubles specialists" - Tennis fans incensed by new proposed ATP rules aimed at speeding up the game

Tennis fans incensed by new proposed ATP rules aimed at speeding up the game
Tennis fans incensed by new proposed ATP rules aimed at speeding up the game

Tennis fans kicked up a storm on social media over the new proposed changes to the ATP rules, which are set to be trialed in the doubles draw at this year's Madrid Open.

According to journalist James Gray, players have been informed about a set of changes will be brought up at the ATP Player's Council meeting this week, which if approved will be tested out in Madrid. The changes, mainly aimed at speeding up the game, will see players being stripped of sit-downs in the first set, as well as a shorted serve clock after short rallies.

Instead of the standard 25-second serve time, a player will only get 15 seconds to get their serve in if the previous rally lasted less than three shots. More concerningly, the entry for doubles events will be revamped to suit singles players better, to the detriment of doubles players.

If this entry system gets approved, 13 of the 32 slots in doubles will go to singles pairings, who will also have a later entry date when compared to specialist doubles teams. This was the main point of contention for fans on social media, as they believed it is an intentional move on part of the ATP to get rid of doubles tennis players.

Fans were also in disbelief over tennis' seeming obsession to speed up the game by getting rid of sit downs and using shorter serve clocks, while at the same time using progressively slower courts every year.

"Why is tennis so obsessed with “speeding up the game” yet at the same time slowing down courts because “longer rallies are more entertaining”. Can’t have it both ways... this feels pretty shit for doubles players," one fan said on Reddit.
"They already get less prize money (and points at these events now too, except for finals) - if most of the calendar is now getting taken up by these dragged out 1000’s and half the slots are reserved for singles players….and there’s no other ATP events on a the same time - seems like a good way to just kill off doubles specialists," they added.

Fans did not think it was good to give singles players so many slots in doubles, lamenting that it was often the case that they mostly used doubles as practice instead of treating it with seriousness and respect.

"Revamped entry system to suit singles players better" is such a joke I'm in disbelief," another fan stated.
"I don’t understand why they want to basically get rid of doubles specialists, these are the ones that actually take doubles seriously not like singles players from which many play doubles just to test courts and practice," one fan tweeted.

Here are the reactions from fans:

Screengrab from Reddit
Screengrab from Reddit
Screengrab from Reddit
Screengrab from Reddit
Screengrab from Reddit
Screengrab from Reddit

"It’s a totally broken system" - British tennis coach slammed ATP after Indian Wells doubles debacle

BNP Paribas Open 2024 - Day 13
BNP Paribas Open 2024 - Day 13

At the Indian Wells Masters this year, the ATP came under criticism from British tennis coach Calvin Betton after several of the all-singles pairings withdrew from doubles without playing a match.

Betton referred to the current system as "broken" and slammed the men's tennis body for letting doubles specialists down by prioritizing singles players.

"You have doubles players ranked inside the top 35 in the world who can’t play in Masters tournaments, and can’t get any higher because they don’t have access to the higher ranking point events. It’s a totally broken system and you’re happy to let it drag on. Sort it," Betton said.
"The difference between players ranked 50 and 25 in singles is 415 points. The same difference in doubles 1415 points. It’s almost impossible for a doubles player to break inside the top 30 with your current entry system. It’s a broken system and isn’t a meritocracy," he added.