In doubles either player on the receiving team should be permitted to return a let serve.
2) The other kind of let—the matter of replaying a point that is in dispute. Bush. Hopelessly bush. Here's Mendy Rudolph in the seventh game of the NBA final playoffs after Phil Chenier has scored on a driving layup in the last second to make it 101-100: "Look, guys, we're going to have to play that one over. Jake O'Donnell was closest to the action, but Nate Thurmond obscured his vision a little, and I just can't make up my mind whether it was charging or hacking. So, we'll play a let, O.K.?"
That is no exaggeration; it is a perfect analogy to what happens in tennis. If a linesman's vision is obscured he should appeal to the umpire in the chair (as, in some instances, a baseball umpire will appeal to a colleague). But the responsibility belongs to the particular linesman. If he sees a ball out and both players, the referee and all the fans saw otherwise, the ball is out.
If umpires are going to overrule linesmen, then get rid of linesmen. Better, play each point no matter how tough the call, and get rid of lets.
?At the conclusion of any set it is natural for fans to want to get up, move around, stretch, buy things, talk, shout and go to the bathroom. It is the end of a chapter, a natural time to pause. But according to tennis custom there is no such intermission at the conclusion of a set ending in an even number of total games, such as 6-4 or 7-5. In this case the changeover does not come until the end of the first game of the next set. So all during the game, as normal people follow their normal impulses, the umpire is telling everybody to shut up and sit still, the players are upset, and the play is desultory. It is absolutely the most stupid thing in tennis.
When the set concludes with an even number of games, a break should follow immediately.
Beyond that, since most big-time tennis matches nowadays are played in antiseptic indoor buildings where climate is no factor, it is nonsense to change every other game anyway. A change on every third game would be more logical, with each player permitted to call two time-outs per set between games when a changeover does not take place.
?When tennis players hit an opponent with the ball, unintentionally or otherwise, they could spare us all the phony apologetic weeping and wailing.
?No more best three-of-five-set matches. Too long, waste of time, no good reason for them. If a player can't win in three sets, he shouldn't expect anybody to care if he can win in five or seven or 39.
We've got to act on this one in a hurry, too, because the boys say that the reason the girls don't deserve equal prize money in joint tournaments like Wimbledon and Forest Hills is because the boys play three-of-five and the girls play two-of-three. I say, God bless the girls. But wait, the girls are now saying, O.K., we'll play best-of-five, too.