Before the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) kicked-off, I constantly saw it being described as a revamp like the one cricket has witnessed - the Twenty20 of tennis, people have been calling it.
I'm a tennis writer so obviously I, like many other tennis fans I'm sure, was intrigued as to how this would work. The idea of seeing legends and current stars playing together sounds great, in theory.
However, sadly, the chance to see legends play again is the only thing great about this new monstrosity. Sky Sports have taken a gamble by airing the matches but perhaps, hopefully, they'll decide to opt out next year given the chance.
NO FUTURE, PLEASE...
I don't wish to sound rigid, miserable or negative but come on, this is complete and utter garbage. It's like a tennis tournament made for Fisher Price; an easy to understand, fun and interactive experience for the kiddies.
Nightclub music (to which some players embarrassingly bounce along to), flashing lights, shot-clock timers, team fist-bumps between points and the pathetic franchise names - it all reeks of a utter sham designed to make money.
The organisers claim that this will be the future of tennis - baloney. At least I hope it's baloney. Count your dollars from this year and be done with it.
Why exactly does tennis need to change its future anyway? - I wasn't aware there was anything wrong with the present.
Bringing you back to the original paragraph of this article, this is being seen as a revamp for the sport like cricket had with the birth of the fast, frenetic T20 format and it's flagship competition - the similarly named IPL.
Cricket and tennis are completely different sports facing different challenges though; Cricket needed a boost, I don't think tennis does.
T20 was bought in to provide an alternative to the drawn-out traditional five-day/four-day format where crowds were dwindling, and television companies were not getting value for their investment. I'm a cricket fan too and I think in a way the T20 has helped for that exact reason - cheerleaders, sky-high costs and fireworks at half-full county grounds aside.
However, tennis doesn't face issues of declining interest, lack of excitement or money woes. I tried to find tickets for Wimbledon and the ATP World Tour Finals in London this year, unsuccessfully. Take a look at prices and availability - you'll see tennis as a sport is in good health on its own.
You don't have to take my word for it though. Just question yourself - do you find tennis boring? Did you find the Wimbledon final boring this year? Have you found the Grand Slam finals between Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic boring in recent years? Do you find the battle for world no.1 boring?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then please, by all means, feel free to go and watch the IPTL - you'll love it. If, however, you answered no, as I think most readers might have, then you'll see tennis is a sport which is doing just fine.
I'm sure the players will agree. The likes of Federer, Nadal and Maria Sharapova are all pushing 15 million fans on Facebook. 15 million! That figure is in-line with most top-end footballers and football clubs, and nobody is calling for clubbing music or fireworks between substitutions in the Premier League....
The Manchester Machos vs The Arsenal Awesomes - Imagine that.
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