TENNIS: Sampras serves up a set of solutions

Click to follow
Pete Sampras, the world No 1, has called for sweeping changes to the sport. The American said there should be a designated off-season, a refined computer rankings system, and added that the 25-second rule between points should be reinstated.

Sampras, who is in Melbourne preparing for the Australian Open, said yesterday that the season should be shortened, with fewer events, to allow players time to recuperate. The 23-year-old said he would play in fewer tournaments this year.

"There are too many events on the tour right now," he said. "I'm scheduled to play 20 events and that's why I'm not playing Davis Cup in the first tie [against France] and the second is still in the air. It's because I need that rest after a major event."

Sampras said the current ranking system compels players to play week after week to protect their points. "With the ranking system that the men have, you have to play a lot to stay on top," he said.

In an effort to speed up the game, the ATP Tour this season cut by five seconds the time allowed between points. Sampras said there was no need for a reduction in time, but called for a more stringent policing of the rule.

Thomas Muster yesterday became the first seeded casualty in the men's singles at the New South Wales Open. The third-seeded Austrian, a finalist in Sydney two years ago when he lost to Sampras, suffered a 6-2, 6-4 defeat by Jamie Morgan. The Australian, ranked 97th in the world, served 10 aces as he joined countryman Michael Tebbutt in the second round.

Tebbutt beat the American Jared Palmer in three sets and could now face the second seed, Andrei Medvedev, if the Ukrainian gets past his first-round match with Richey Reneberg.