Monday, May 27, 2013

Number experiment: French Open first major tennis tournament with numbers on shirts

Paris--In February, the World Tennis Association (WTA) unanimously passed a new rule requiring players to wear numbers on the back and front of their shirts. Based on seniority, the racket toting athletes were asked to choose a number they would like to be associated with before March 15.  The clay courts at Roland Garros will be the first major tournament--or any tournament for that matter--to see the numbers in action firsthand. "The French Open is a testing ground. We feel that the numbers will help fans better identify the players on the courts," said Claude Montreax, special adviser to the WTA and to the world's largest professional clay court tournament. The new numbers are also expected to sell millions of jerseys worldwide, which means hundreds of millions of dollars for the WTA. Many critics of the new rule feel this money is the only reason behind approving such a "preposterous" regulation. "Tennis has a rich tradition and having numbers on shirts insults and contaminates the integrity of the game. There's only two or four players on the court at one time, I think I can figure out who is who without help from numbers. This rule is a total sham," said former tennis star and current tv analyst John McEnroe.  

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