Tennis as a sport has seen a lot of changes in the last two decades. The use of line technology, modern equipment, fitness and strength of its players and the massive influx of prize money has changed the sport for better. There have been many debates within the game from time to time. Ranking systems, dope testing systems & tournament licencing have been a matter of debate for a long time.
Even today there are still many debates out there which divides the fans. Here we shall take a look at some of those hot debates that divide opinions in the sport.
Should There be Equal Prize Money For Men’s & Women’s Game?
Ever since the game turned professional, the pay gap between the men and the women’s game has been a matter of debate. Billie Jean King had to threaten with a boycott in 1973 to for the US Open to announce equal prize money for men and the women’s categories.
We again saw that debate come to light in 2005 when Venus Williams publicly asked Grand Slam members to think about their wives and daughters when paying less to women. Giles Simon in 2012 claimed that men should get paid more compared to women players. To which he got a rebuff from Maria Sharapova saying more people come to watch her matches then the Frenchmen’s.
According to a survey by the New York Times, the top 100 players in the WTA rankings earn 80 cents for each one dollar the top 100 players in the ATP rankings earn. Even though the gender pay gap in tennis is far less then it is in the other sports, it is still a debate that has people sitting on both sides of the fence.
Should Court-Side Coaching be Allowed?
Courtside coaching is another debate that has its supporters and detractors. Courtside coaching has not been allowed in the sport for a long time. Though some WTA tournaments and David cup plus Rogers Cup matches do allow courtside coaching and even allow coaches coming on to the court for a brief chat.
It was one of the rules that were brought in along with the need to maintain silence during the matches. But this has been one rule that has attracted a lot of attention for a long time.
For many of its opponents, courtside coaching doesn’t directly affect the opponent. Almost all the major sports do allow it and no unfair advantage is gained via the same. The fans have been warming up to the idea of courtside coaching being allowed in the last few years and this debate could take a new turn in the upcoming time.
Should There be a Fifth Grand Slam?
For many fans, the gap between the Australian Open & the French Open is far too long. The sport witnesses three Grand Slams in the 15 weeks from the end of May to the start of September. But gets to see no Grand Slams for almost 17 weeks post the Australian Open.
Many fans of the sport also call the Miami Open or the Indian Wells as the “fifth slam”. Back in the 1970s & 1980s, the South African Championships were so popular that there were calls for it to replace a struggling Australian Open as well.
With the sport growing in popularity, a fifth slam between the Australian Open & the French Open may be a possibility one day. It could either be at the cost of replacing a couple of Masters 1000 level events or via introducing a new Slam in either Asia or Africa.
Should Tennis be an Olympics Sport?
There is a strong school of through around the world that any sport that does not see an Olympic Gold as the pinnacle in the sport should not be part of the event. And even though Olympics gold is very prestigious let’s be honest, It is not highest on the priority list anymore.
Miloslav Mecir, Marc Rosset & Nicolas Massu. Are these familiar names to most tennis fans? Well not really. What these names are though are Olympic Gold Medalist since the sport was reintroduced in summer Olympics back in 1988.
Though Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic has led the trend to make Olympics fashionable again. The great scenes when Andy Murray won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics will be in the memories of a lot of the fans.
But overall playing the Olympics as well as for the country carries significantly less weight now then it did a few years ago. Olympic gold is not counted as a Grand Slam or wouldn’t settle the GOAT debate. Maybe with the season getting more cramped, tennis will eventually bid goodbye to the Olympics sooner rather than later.
Addressing the GOAT in the Room
Federer redefined the sport, achieved never seen before heights and has 20 Grand Slams to his name, he is the Greatest Player of All Time (GOAT). Or maybe that is Nadal. He has 19 Grand Slams, more Masters 1000 then Federer and has an Olympic Gold too! He has dominated clay as no other players have on any surface. Surely he is the GOAT.
Or maybe it is Djokovic. Winning 17 Grand Slams and challenging both Federer & Nadal while still achieving so much in the game is no small achievement. Maybe he is worthy of the GOAT title. This is a debate that all of us have had with fellow fans, colleagues and friends. And it is not a debate that is likely to end anytime soon.
All three have quite a bit of tennis left in them still. And by the time all three hang up their boots, the picture could be very different. But what won’t be different would be the debate around who is the greatest ever. It is sure to drag on for years to come.
So here were the top five debates in the game at the moment. Do let us know what do you think and suggest if another debate in the game needs to be debated!