10 Ways To Make Tennis “Cooler”

Let’s face it; compared to sports like football, basketball, hockey, etc., tennis isn’t exactly “cool.”

The popularity of the sport is dwindling due to the lack of excitement it brings to the fans, which results in the lack of participation. ESPN even announced that they’re canceling their coverage of the French Open next year. We rely on Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Serena Williams to fill the stands and inspire young people to play — but they are in the twilight of their careers. Something has to change!

John McEnroe has been saying this for years. His ideas include no lets, no linesman, and no warm-ups before matches — but we have some better ideas to bring a different type of entertainment back to tennis that even rowdy, mainstream sports fans can appreciate.

1. No More Silence During Points– Pump it up!

Tennis is viewed as stuffy. Fans get reprimanded by the umpire if they make too much noise. Sports are meant to be rowdy, just ask NFL fans! With our new rules, cheering during points isn’t just allowed, it’s encouraged! Cheering, taunting, chanting, and even the wave… that oughta spike the ratings!

2. Thumb War Instead Of Coin Toss

If tennis was a contact sport, the fan base would be dramatically larger. Unfortunately, the net makes that impossible. Rather than a coin toss, imagine if a good-ol-fashion thumb war determined who served first? Perhaps even contact at it’s most elementary level would provide for some more entertainment. It would also add another wrinkle to the players’ training regimen!

3. Shorten the Rallies- Use Exploding Balls!

There have been many matches lasting over 5 hours in recent history. That’s a lot to digest, even for hardcore tennis fans. To encourage players to come to the net or hit more winners, let’s use balls that explode if the rally lasts longer than 10 shots. Plus, everyone loves pyrotechnics… this might even draw in NASCAR fans!

4. “Court” Girls

Tennis does have some of the sexiest athletes, but few would say the game is oozing sex appeal. Insert “court girls.” Similar to boxing, the bikini-clad court girls would walk around the court during changeovers waving signs displaying the score over their heads. Some fans may be more interested in the changeovers than the match, but a new fan is a new fan, right?

5. Personal Mascots

Soccer players walk out holding the hand of a child. In the new tennis, players will walk out of the tunnel with their own personal mascot. We know Rafael Nadal’s would be a bull. Maybe a lion for Federer? A rhino for Serena? Not interesting enough? Swap out mascot suits for real animals.

6. New Challenge System

Hawk-eye replay has changed professional tennis, minimizing missed calls by linesman. This makes far too much sense. Now, when a player challenges a call, the crowd will determine the outcome. You know the “MAKE SOME NOISE” meter shown on jumbotrons at other professional sports games? You guessed it, the crowd cheer for the in or out call. Whichever cheer is louder, determines the call! Advantage: Roger Federer.

7. Theme Days

It’s worked well to fill seats for sports like baseball. Introduce a “take your dog to the match” day. It may be a little ruff (pun intended) with a stadium full of dogs watching a moving tennis ball, but it sure would make it exciting. Doesn’t everyone want a Maria Sharapova bobblehead, too?

8. Dance Off For 3rd (or 5th) Set

They’ve introduced a super tiebreaker into recreational tennis and professional doubles, which has made it more exciting. But instead of a super tiebreaker, implement a dance off. Djokovic would have a advantage since he loves to dance, but this would really get the crowd involved. The player drawing the loudest cheers wins the match.

9. Players Are “Mic’d Up”

Have you ever wondered what Andy Murray yells to himself after nearly every lost point? I sure have, and you can bet it is colorful. Everything the players say will be broadcast to the stadium, and to the television viewers. Don’t worry, there will be no point-penalties for profanity, and no bleeping, as HBO will now cover all the biggest tournaments.

10. Disco Points!

In all night matches, one point per game, at random, will be a “Disco Point!” As soon as a player serves the ball, the lights in the stadium will shut off, the lines and the ball will glow in the dark, a massive disco ball will lower from the sky, and “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees will blare from the speakers. The players may not love it, but you bet the fans will. And can you imagine if the rally goes beyond 10 shots? That would really finish things with a BANG.

We’re obviously having fun here with our outlandish ideas to bring more entertainment, and more fans, to tennis, but it’s a serious problem that the sport is facing. How can we increase the popularity of the sport, and in turn, increase participation?  Share your ideas in the comments below or on our Facebook page.



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