The PowerShares series—a senior circuit which includes Grand Slam Champions Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Andy Roddick and Michael Chang—will be playing matches without linesman aided by a chair umpire, Hawk Eye instant replay and unlimited challenges. Currently, when Hawk Eye is used, players are permitted three incorrect challenges per set prior to a tie-breaker.
This is a bold and innovative experiment which could be the future of top level professional tennis, however, it's not likely that this costly technology is practical in the near future for anything but premier events.
There are going to be some issues ahead with the "unlimited challenge" rule. For example, what's to keep a player from challenging on every point to rattle and irritate an opponent? Perhaps there should be a limit on challenges, as well as a penalty for too many Hawk Eye overturned calls.
It's encouraging to see the "Old Guard" of tennis break with tradition and embrace new ideas to revitalize interest and it could be a watershed event for tennis and sports.
Steven Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation and executive director and founder of Serve & Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally-ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.