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ITF Commissions Study of Impact of Blended Lines on Regulation Play

Lining courts for 10 and under play using the QuickStart Tennis format isn't new, but here's something that is: a study being conducted by the USTA to determine the effect of the blended lines on regulation play at tournaments.

The ITF recently commissioned the USTA to do an impact study, and to find out the impact blended lines have at lower-level sanctioned tournaments.

"We want to find out what players think, what officials think, what spectators think, how the lines look in photos," said Virgil Christian, the USTA's director of community tennis development. "It might turn out they don't even notice them."

The ITF commissioned the study, which will run during selected tournaments where regulation 78-foot courts are also lined for 36-foot and 60-foot play. A few stipulations apply: the play surface must be acrylic, and the USTA must obtain permission from the appropriate circuit organizers for the tournament, such as the ITF Junior Competitions Committee, ITF Circuit Committees, etc. The USTA must also track technical information, including whether there is any perceptible difference in the pace of the game when played on courts with blended lines.

According to Christian, the USTA is pleased with the acceptance of the new lines, and has heard much positive comment throughout the year at 'town hall'-style meetings for tennis organizers around the country. The next step, he notes, is to try to get the lines promoted on an international level since so far, they are only being used in the U.S.

"It's good for growing tennis," Christian said, "but it's unique to this country. There are a lot of countries that have never seen this, never heard of this, and the ITF really wants a case study of how it's working."    

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