Winning scenario

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Jane Devine (Perspective, 8 July) is correct. Few would argue that women tennis players should play against men on equal terms, but in top tournaments they should surely play the best of five sets against each other, particularly as they demand equal prize money.

A win after only two sets invariably seems an unsatisfactory result, however many games were played and however long the match lasted.

Conversely, Martina Navratilova proposes that men’s tennis be changed to the best of three sets, to reduce the excessive
“punishment” of five-set grand slams (your report 25 June).

That would help her and Billie-Jean King’s case for pay equality, but would be ludicrous considering the frequency of players winning, after coming back from two sets down.

Such “punishment” could be greatly ameliorated by abolishing the quite unnecessary second serve, which increases all match durations and can give an unfair advantage to the server often at critical points in the match.

Players could still go for an ace, but would require even more self-confidence to do so without the back-up chance of a second serve.

It might also increase the number of long rallies, surely the main excitement of any match.

John Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews

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