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One Guy's Pitch to Fire Up the Sport
Frank Deford
June 28, 1999
Men's matches won't be so boring once games and sets are shortened
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June 28, 1999

One Guy's Pitch To Fire Up The Sport

Men's matches won't be so boring once games and sets are shortened

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Even better: If a match goes to two sets apiece, you don't play a fifth set. You play a tiebreaker. No #*+*ing let serves. Ever. Of course, the pros would oppose this plan. I will never forget hearing Boris Becker doing color on the BBC at Wimbledon last year. He, the gutsiest of players, raved on about how "fair" it was that Richard Krajicek and Goran Ivanisevic could "play out" their semifinal match in the fifth set with no tiebreaker. Game after game. My serve, your serve. Eternal. The closest thing in sport to an abomination before God. Becker and the players thought it was wonderful. If the players were in charge in basketball, we wouldn't have a 24-second clock; we'd have a 24-minute clock.

Like Shakespeare, who wrote "let's kill all the lawyers," we must be stalwart. We must say, Let's gag all the players. We must start playing shorter sets, with no do-overs, no second chances. Give us the drama. Give us the moments. Otherwise we are doomed to a 21st century of redoing let serves at ad-in at 5-1 in the fifth and wondering why no one is watching anymore.

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