| By Ricky Becker



Some USTA/Eastern Changes
1) Rest Periods: BG12-18 – after 2nd set, in the best of three-set match: “mandatory 10-minute rest period during which no player shall practice.” Coaching will be allowed.  
In Layman's Terms: The 18's now has a 10-minute break in between a 2nd and 3rd set.
My Opinion: No strong opinion either way.  Put a gun to my head and I'll say I like it.  It builds the drama.
2)  BG10-18 – after 2nd set, when match tiebreak is played in lieu of 3rd set: “mandatory 3 minute rest period during which no player shall practice.” Coaching will be allowed.
In Layman's Terms: Coaching will be allowed for 3-minutes before a super tiebreak is played for the 3rd.
My Opinion: Great rule!!! Besides the fact that this rule gets abused and misunderstood all the time anyway.  The break gives both players a second to take a deep breath and takes away the cheap, Russian Roulette "ness" of a Super Tiebreak.  This is probably my favorite rule change of them all. 
3) Seeding for All Age Divisions: All tournaments (+L1, L1, L1B, L2R, L2O) will use all available information for seeding purposes. 


In Layman's Terms: The seedings don't necessarily have to be taken from the standings list.

My Opinion: I'll be honest, I'm not sure if this is a rule change or a rule that is never implemented.  Either way, I'd like to see seedings not be based solely on that age group's standings list..especially in qualifying.  It seems like a lot of the time, the best qualifyers are the kids from a younger age group who have just not played many tournaments in that age group. It really becomes a luck of the draw type deal.  As long as the committee or person seems like they know what they are doing, I think this is a good rule.  

As an aside, the opinions expressed on the rules are my own.  And there is no doubt, that in the USTA's mind "growing the game" means getting American players to the final weekend of the U.S. Open.  This means, more viewers, hence more advertsing dollars, hence more money to "grow the game." Successful player development will grow the game more than allowing 64 unqualified 14-year olds into a Supernational every year.  I was at 14's Clays (refer to a previous blog.) The quality of play was mediocre at best.  The 14's age group, needs some kind of face lift!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


Ricky Becker is The Director of Tennis at Glen Oaks Club.  Ricky also coaches high-performance juniors throughout the year and has been the Director of Tennis at three of Long Island’s biggest junior programs.  As a player, Becker was the Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis team and ranked in the top-five nationally as a junior.  He can be reached at rbecker06@yahoo.com, 516-359-4843 or via juniortennisconsulting.com.