While James Van Alen's simplified system of tennis scoring (VASSS) has been around for awhile, this season marks the first time a new method of keeping score has been authorized by the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association for tournaments whose results are used in ranking players. Specifically, tournament directors have been given permission to adopt the "no-ad" system, in which the first player to score four points wins a game. Under traditional scoring, players with three points apiece are tied at 40-all, or deuce, and one must then take two points in a row to win the game. In the experiment, the old scoring terms, love, 15, 30 and 40 are replaced by zero, one, two and three; players with three points each are tied 3-3, and whoever gains the next point wins the game 4-3.
In set scoring, a player must still have a two-game advantage to win, unless the score reaches six-all, when a nine-point tie-breaker is used to decide the set. Together, the set tie-breaker and the non-ad game speed play remarkably without hurting the competitive aspect of the sport. Carl Simonie, a Missouri Valley LTA official, has used the experimental system in every tournament he has run this season.
"In men's play," he says, "the average match was down from an hour and a half to an hour and 15 minutes, which is quite a bit of time over the course of a tournament. Reduction in women's play was more striking. Matches that used to average two to two-and-a-half hours were run off in about an hour and a half."
Simonie says that one tournament he conducted this spring drew 183 entries, had 12 courts and was run off in two days. In another, he handled 395 entries on 21 courts in three days.
One of the reasons for the USLTA experiment is to establish a compact, predictable length of time for a match. This would make tennis more palatable to television, which tends to choke on the possibility of marathon games and sets stretching a match far beyond scheduled coverage time. Of greater interest to the average tennis buff, however, is the increased availability of court space. Obviously, if games and sets are completed without delay, more players can be accommodated on the same courts in the same length of time. This is of considerable importance in light of the current rapid growth of tennis as a participant sport.
A note from baseball's Class A Northwest League: the manager of Walla Walla is Cliff Ditto.
TEAM, TEAM, TEAM!
Tennis will have yet another new element next year—if the World Team Tennis League becomes more than a vision. WTTL is a revolutionary concept for the sport—a 17-team league with standings, playoffs, trades and a three-month, 44-match schedule. Each team will have a six-member squad—three men and three women—and a match will consist of three events: men's singles, women's singles and mixed doubles. Matches will be played indoors and will be designed to fit into a 2�-hour time slot "ideally suited for television," according to the league's hopeful publicity releases.
Money and managerial expertise are what the WTTL professes to have in abundance: its sponsors are said to have more than "SI billion in assets" as well as experience in "all the pro sports in America." Yet, while the WTTL says it will operate next May, June and July, it has revealed no definite arena commitments. If it does go off on schedule, it will be bucking the French Open and Wimbledon. And. despite its optimism about the future, WTTL officials have yet to announce which players they expect to have.