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Patching a tattered image
Joe Jares
May 12, 1975
A crazy-quilt court will add even more color, and "spectaculars" may cut costs as World Team Tennis revs up and moves into its second season
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May 12, 1975

Patching A Tattered Image

A crazy-quilt court will add even more color, and "spectaculars" may cut costs as World Team Tennis revs up and moves into its second season

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The second big innovation is the varicolored court, manufactured by Sport-face (not Parker Bros.) and decorated with acrylic paint, which also serves to make the surface slower. The doubles alleys are maroon, the backcourts brown, the deuce service courts royal blue and the ad service courts green. There are no lines. President King, who wants WTT to adopt the idea right away, claims that the linesmen will be more accurate calling areas instead of lines and that the patchwork-quilt court will serve as a memorable "signature" for the league, just as the red, white and blue ball has been for the American Basketball Association. (WTT, unlike the ABA, has a legal exclusive on the idea.)

The Walden matches were videotaped for later showing in WTT's 11 market areas, and King made sure to invite the owners into the TV truck to see how the court looked on screen. The near-unanimous opinion was that it looked fine and the yellow ball was easy to follow. However, the players will be harder to convince.

"We need a different shade of green," said Billie Jean. "Off the green I couldn't see the ball well."

"It looks too circusy," said Wendy Turnbull of Boston.

"It's very hard to follow the ball," said Francoise Durr of Phoenix.

The four-officials idea seemed to work nicely at Walden. Two linesmen sat on platforms stationed on opposite sidelines between service lines and baselines. Two others were on ground-level seats at each end. One of the side linesmen also served as umpire. Since each man had more responsibility, they seemed to pay closer attention, and the calls were at least as good as at regular matches.

Picking a league champion at this point is almost impossible because, if the WTT owners have done nothing else, they have come up with well-matched teams. En route to the Walden Goblet last week, New York beat Los Angeles 25-24, Cleveland 29-27 and Indiana 28-25.

"It's going to be hairy," said Billie Jean King.

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