Thursday, 24 June 2010

How To End A Tennis Match

So apparently when they wrote the rules of Wimbledon, they decreed that if a final set is tied, the players should keep playing until they die, and we are watching this in style right now, as Isner and Mahut battle it out on Court 18 in what is now the longest ever game of anything at all in the world, ever.

At 25-all it was quite a spectacle, but once it got to about 50-all, we were getting a bit fidgety.  Then it went dark and they had to stop, and now they're back and at it again.  The difficulty is that it has reached the stage where neither of them can move their feet, but they are both good at serving, so essentially it keeps going 'Ace, ace, ace, ace' *swap server* 'ace, ace, ace, ace' and so on.

Quite what will happen when they reach 100-all is anybody's guess, because the scoreboard only goes up to 99, and one gets the impression that nothing so out of form has ever happened in Wimbledon.  The only thing more controversial would be if the Queen descended from the royal seat to take a few shots herself.

Anyway, it got me to thinking: how will it all end?  And what, short of shooting the pair of them, could be done to stop it all?  Thankfully, I have some ideas:

1. Penalty shoot-out, but in the style of 10-pin bowling.  Keep kicking tennis balls at each other; first to fall over loses.

2. Introduce variables.  It's all too same-same so far.   We need to find new ways to distinguish them.  For instance, keep making the court smaller and smaller, and the net higher and higher.  Eventually they'll have a postage stamp each, and be expected to serve over the height of St Paul's Cathedral.  Or have a hopping round, or a left-handed round.

3. Toss a coin.  Whoever wins is going out in the next round anyway, let's face it: they've played more tennis already than the average champ plays in the entire tournament; stick either of them against anyone with any glucose reserves and they're done for.  So let's just get it over and done with.

4.  Keep both of them in.  Let them take it in turns or something.  You know how you do with Round Robin in table-tennis - one person hits it, and then has to run round the table, while the other person takes the next shot, and so on.  Their opponent stays still, obviously, since there's only one of him.  Or tie them together, like a three-legged race.

5. Turn out the lights, shut the gates, toss in a few crates of bananas, and leave them to it.

I trust this helps.

1 comment:

Virtual Methodist said...

don't do tennis... but this story got me interested for at least a nano-second... But given the length of the match that's not saying much...