First off, I’d like to take the opportunity to say a big, thank you, to everyone for coming to the table to discuss how much better we can make this wonderful game that we all love.
One of the most important things to remember when responding to Roberto’s fine memo is that we need consistency, across-the-board, from everyone regarding the rules that we adopt for POP Tennis.
One of the biggest reasons why there is confusion for the public and the players regarding POP Tennis, is that there is pervasive inconsistency: inconsistency regarding the information that has been circulated concerning the rules of our sport; inconsistency, due to the different governing bodies of our sport not working together; and inconsistency, due to the fact that different tournaments have been run, in the same year, using the same name (e.g. the “U.S. Open”). This all isn’t just confusing; it is highly detrimental to our sport.
The organizations, such as the USPTA, the APTA, and USPTAF (Florida), among others, are doing incredible work. However, we can be so much more, if we can just join forces, work together, and support each other, as we work toward achieving our common goal of building POP Tennis.
Regarding some of the issues raised by Roberto’s memo, my thoughts are:
1. Variations of Rules for POP Tennis
I believe that we can have a consistent set of rules for our sport that reflects the interests of all players. Some of the issues to be discussed are: Playing “bucket’ versus “no bucket” POP Tennis; whether we play off side and back fences; and whether we play “lets” on serves and adopt “no-ad scoring.” We must hear everyone’s point of view, and we must allow every player to voice their respective opinions, in order for us to be effective and our sport successful. We must, however, also keep in mind the identifiable differences between POP Tennis, and other sports that currently exist (e.g. Platform Paddle Tennis, Padel, etc). We must also take into account that many of our POP Tennis facilities do not have side fences. Some facilities, such as the beach in St. Augustine, do not have any fences. So, if we decide to adopt a rule which mandates that or allows us to play off fences, there is immediate inconsistency!
2. Bucket versus No Bucket Rule
If we are trying to create uniformity and a sport that the spectator can easily understand and play, then playing “bucket” POP Tennis can be confusing. There may well be a time and place for a specific “bucket’ tournament, but we must first educate and establish our game with new players and spectators, not confuse them.
3. Playing lets on serves and no-ad scoring would not be that large a leap, since they are already played in most amateur tennis circles now.
4. Permitting an overhead serve would be a total disaster and should not even be considered.
5. As Roberto mentioned in his note, “POP Tennis should be vibrant, dynamic, young, urban, hip, and fun.” I agree; but we must also keep in mind what one of the great contributors to the game of POP Tennis, Ken Lindner, has said, “We must adopt rules that keep our wonderful sport unique, special, and better. Let’s not adopt rules that will confuse newcomers, who want to play, support, and grow POP Tennis. Let our rules make it easy for everyone to identify, understand, play, and enjoy our great sport!”
These are just some thoughts, as players begin to vocalize their POP Tennis opinions.