Changing court conditions may make womens tennis more tight

first_imgJerusalem, Apr 30 (PTI) Changing court conditions to address differences in mens and womens play may make womens tennis matches more competitive or “tight”, a new study has found.Many sports adapt rules and equipment to better meet the needs of female competitors. For example, the net is lower in womens volleyball; basketballs are smaller; javelins are lighter; and hurdles are lower.”Lowering court nets and playing with lighter tennis balls to accommodate physiological differences would help make womens matches more competitive, with scores closer to the mens,” said Mosi Rosenboim, of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel.”It is important to note that the current disparity is not related to competitive drive. It is usually attributed to differences in strength and speed, particularly when serving,” said Alex Krumer from the University of St Gallen in Switzerland.”While a mens set is typically a duel of ace serves, resulting in back-and-forth game wins, women break more serves, which results in shorter sets,” Krumer said.Researchers examined the differences between mens and womens tournament scores from the 24 top mens and 23 top womens singles tournaments of the 2010 season.They evaluated the “tightness,” or competitiveness of a match according to how close the set scores were. Mens sets were consistently closer (6-4, 7-5), while womens sets tended to be more lopsided, with scores of 6-2, 6-1.”The set-level analysis indicates that physical power, not competitiveness, is responsible for the different number of games per set,” said Offer Moshe Shapir from New York University in Shanghai.advertisementWhen researchers re-evaluated the 2010 tournaments and controlled for physical characteristics, such as height and body mass index, the gender gap in final scores completely disappeared.Comparing matches of men and women who were as similar as possible in physical stature yielded the same results: no gender differences in the number of games per set.”Level of competitiveness is one of the most important factors in the sports industry, where uncertain outcomes generate more interest from fans and higher ticket sales,” researchers said.This argument also contributes to an earnings gap between professional female and male tennis players,” they said.After analysing 3,844 mens sets and 3,034 womens sets, researchers found that mens scores were closer.”If no changes are made, playing on the same court makes mens and womens tennis a completely different game,” Rosenboim said.The study was published in the Journal of Sports Economics. PTI MHN AMSlast_img

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