Thursday, January 22, 2015

Armchair Line Judge: Aussie thoughts so far

1. I mean, look at the ass on Rafa Nadal. If anyone should be asked to give a twirl, it should be that sexy bastard.
But this is a life lesson we can all apply to ourselves, and not just the young Genie Bouchard: If some random dude asks you to twirl for him in front of a stadium full of people, and he's using a microphone to do this, kindly direct him to the orifice that would house that microphone in the most painful way.
2. However, I will give any onsite Aussie Open reporters a dollar if they start asking the male players about their thoughts on "altered balls."
3. I freakin' knew Nenad Zimonjic and Danny Nestor were going to separate again. Dammit!
4. To anyone who disputes my contention that tennis is 99.94389237 percent mental, let me direct your attention to one Maria Sharapova, who just straight bludgeoned a serve match point down to come back in her second-round match. I mean damn.
5. So let me understand this: The Williams sisters pull out of the doubles tournament just before their first round match, and then make it clear that they read the rules about withdrawal, know they don't have to give a reason and then act all cutesy about not giving a reason? That is ... interesting.
6. Marcos Baghdatis just went five sets with Grigor Dmitrov. #throwbackthursday

Armchair Line Judge: My decimated draws before I burn them

Because why not have a good laugh over picking Donna Vekic for the quarterfinals?




Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Armchair Line Judge's guide to the Aussie Open 2015

It's mid-January, and only about eight weeks since the year-end championships, so it must be time for another major! This lengthy layover only tends to ensure erratic results, so with that in mind, let's predict what's going to happen!  
For this preview, we're gonna do the Armchair Line Judge's call for the Top 10 on both sides for players' chances to advance to the semifinals:

The Women

1. Serena Williams: In. Yeah, Hopman Cup was kind of a disaster, but she's usually most dangerous right after a bad patch. Hmm, though. Vera Zvonareva looming in round 2. Hmm.
2, Maria Sharapova: In. What a sweet draw for her. If seeds hold, she would get Genie Bouchard in the semis, which might be tough, but I'm not on the Bouchard bus yet. That might be because I'm not a teenage boy, though.
3. Simona Halep: In. Definitely for the semis, and perhaps beyond …
4. Petra Kvitova: You know what they say about Petra. There's no kvit in her. (Get it?) But she still gets the 'out' call here. Even if she were in, could she beat Venus Williams or Ags Radwanska in the semis? I'm not even sure she can beat rising star Donna Vekic in round 2. Just too inconsistent.
5. Ana Ivanovic: Out. Ekaterina Makarova is like kryptonite to top players Down Under.
6. Agnieszka Radwanska: In. Big win against Serena at Hopman Cup, which, yes, is just a warmup, but she's come close before against the big players, and that win is a big deal. Plus, I love the Navratilova hire. Not saying we're talking instant results, but this will be interesting. And I'ma live on the edge here and say that this coaching change is going to bring a major this year, but I decline comment on which one.
7. Genie Bouchard: Out. Yeah, I know, she beat Serena at Hopman, too. But still, I say next year for her, because she doesn't have a complete game and thereby doesn't have the tools to do that consistently. Radwanska? She does, except for that serve. And is it just me whose shoulder area aches every time I see her hit a forehand?
8. Caroline Wozniacki: Good job, Caroline Wozniacki! You're rebounding from a tumble from world No. 1, only to return stronger and more confident about taking on the heavy hitters on the big stages – and beating the likes of Maria Sharapova. So … ladies and gentlemen, let's see Woz's prize for a solid 2014! Drumroll … Young American Taylor Townsend in Round One and probably Victoria Azarenka in Round 2! What? Why'd everyone get so quiet? Out.
9. Angelique Kerber: Whaaa?!?? What's she still doing in the top 10? OUT!
10. Ekaterina Makarova: Out, but like just outside the line. Or could she beat Halep for a semi spot? Might need a ShotSpot for this one.

First round special: Sloane Stephens against Victoria Azarenka. Both unseeded and back on the stage where Azarenka lost a lot of respect for that “oh, my sore brain” stunt. But this one is interesting in name only. Stephens is kinda in the wind right now, and Azarenka, even returning from injury, still looks like a threat in this draw. A higher-quality match might be Dominika Cibulkova and Kristen Flipkens. Ooorrrr, Wozniacki and Townsend. Maybe.
Upset comin': Camilla Giorgi over No. 12 Flavia Pennetta in the first round.


The Men


1. Novak Djokovic: In. But that's a loaded portion of the draw. Lleyton Hewitt? Jerzy Janowicz? Juan Martin del Potro was in it, too, until he backed out with an ongoing wrist issue. And then there's Gael Monfils, whose face should accompany the dictionary definition of “wild card.” All interesting, but all those guys are a bigger potential problem for Milos Raonic.
2. Roger Federer: In. I think that's in. I'm just wondering about Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov, who has a ton of potential, but hasn't done anything yet.
3. Rafael Nadal: Oh. Here's Rafa Nadal again, like he is every year at the Australian Open. Folks ask him how he's gonna do, and he shakes his head, buries it in his hand and mumbles that he's terrible, that he has no shot. Which means that he's gonna win the whole damn thing. Ooh. Lukas Rosol as a possible third round opponent? Yeesh. If – big 'if' – Nadal can survive the first couple rounds, it could be enough for him to recover his form and then opponents like Richard Gasquet and Tomas Berdych won't seem like much. But if he's still that much out of sync, then, yeah, he could lose to Mikhail Youzhny right away. So, the line call? In, but right on the line. Which means that any old line judge could call it out.
4. Stan Wawrinka: Not a bad draw for Stan, the defending-champion man. Not until he would get to Kei Nishikori. Talk about a popcorn match – that Wawrinka won't win. Out.
5. Kei Nishikori: In. See above.
6. Andy Murray: Apparently, Murray just cleaned house in his camp and got rid of all the Amelie Mauresmo haters, and he's ready to go. Good, because his ranking is not Big Four-worthy, because it's six. To change that, he's gonna need to win another major. To do that, he's going to have to take down Dimitrov and Federer just to get to the semis. Sorry, but out.
7. Tomas Berdych: You know, if the wind blew the right way for him – meaning that Nadal loses early and that No. 11 Ernests Gulbis can't mount much of a challenge, this could be Berdych's chance for the semis – and beyond. But if it is just the regular wind, then no, he's not going to beat Nadal. Out. Probably.
8. Milos Raonic: I get it. He's big. He's talented. Big serve. Big forehand. Wears that koozie on his arm. Seems to be settling into his role in the top 10. Yes, he'll go far, but it will be the most boring tennis you'll ever see, especially in the early rounds. It's just hard for me to get excited about Raonic. Even if I were, it'd be difficult to get amped up about his chances against Djokovic, because he's not going to beat Djokovic, unless he's not really over the flu. A relieved 'out' call here.
9. David Ferrer: And then there's David Ferrer, who is like a Labrador retriever. He will go after every ball, and make his opponent do one more thing, and it's often enough to win a match. Now that is some tennis that I want to watch. He's entertaining, determined … and a bit long in the tooth … and hair. (Someone needs to say it – Davey. Get a haircut!!!) He's slated to run into Nishikori in the fourth round, and I don't know if that's going to go well for him. Out. Moo.
10. Grigor Dimitrov: In all likelihood, out. Whenever I see him play, though, I wonder why he hasn't yet made his move at a major. Like a real move. He's got all the tools, but he seems to be mentally inconsistent. He could be humming along in a match, and then try a drop shot when he should have hit a groundstroke up the line. But you know who also used to do that? Andy Murray. So there's hope?

First-round special: It was gonna be del Potro vs. Janowicz, but no del Potro now. Without that, I'm gonna say Nadal v. Youzhny will be a good one, assuming Youzhny doesn't brain himself before the conclusion. Nicholas Almagro vs. Nishikori – Nishikori better be ready right away for this one. Also Sam Querrey v. Vasek Pospisil.

Upset comin': Borna Coric over No. 29 Jeremy Chardy in five, methinks.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The coaching floodgates are finally open!

For as long as I've been a tennis fan, I've wondered why pro players never seem to hire female coaches. It's not like there's no shortage of legendary women players who would fit the bill. Last year, it was a male player, Andy Murray, who hired Amelie Mauresmo on, and naturally, the choice has been under scrutiny ever since, with whispers about her effectiveness. Now, I'm not gonna lie. If I were going to choose a woman coach for a tennis pro, it probably wouldn't be the person who had some moments of mental weak in big moments(coughcoughFRENCHOPENcough), especially if you have had a similar issue. But technically, Mauresmo is a good choice. She always had great form, and even if they didn't always result in winning a Slam, she did have some great results on the big stage. After years of disappointment at majors, she did finally break through -- twice.
And Madison Keys is picking up Lindsay Davenport. That's a good pick. But am I the only person who thinks that Davenport probably still had a slam in her?
No, if I were going to choose a female tennis coach, it'd be someone who has a record of success and has shown an ability to grow and change her game. Maybe someone who actually changed the trajectory of the women's game with her own training habits and by bringing an element of power (which by now is about the same "power" Chris Evert had, but still). I wish there were one or two women like that.
Apparently, so did Aggie Radwanska, because she just hired MARTINA NAVRATILOVA to her coaching team this year. Two things: Has anyone ever asked Martina to be their coach and she's just been saying no all these years? Because she is a perfect coaching candidate -- for any player.
Also, this is awesome! These two are the perfect match. Radwanska is already a very smart player with a ton of variety, but her problem is -- OK, there's no nice way to say this, so here it is -- she needs to work out. No, she's not out of shape, but you can't be a stick figure in the 2015 WTA tour. The serve has to go, and she needs to be able to mix some power with the variety. If she could do that, she'd be top 3 through her whole career. And her willingness to hire Navratilova says that she's willing to work on all of that. At least, I hope she is, because Navratilova doesn't strike me as the type of coach who would be sipping her coffee on the bench, watching her charge practicing a terrible serve. No, what I see in that scenario is Navratilova taking her coffee mug in one hand, her racquet in the other, and standing on the other side to receive that terrible serve and crushing it every time.
Pleasepleaseplease let this work out. Yeah, I get power tennis, and love it for the most part, but man, wouldn't it be great to see the likes of Radwanska tweak her game and become the Martina Hingis 2.0 in 2015?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

On-court antics: Season on the brink

Sometimes, you can spend weeks, or even months, talking about something -- something that might or might not happen. But then it happens. And you are so tired of talking about it that now, you're just over it.
That's what our playoffs were like for 8.0 mixed. Once our league coordinator decided it wasn't a good idea to restart the season the day after the regular season ended, it was time to get the wheels of inevitability going. Our team made it through the first round last weekend with nary a bump, except that everyone on our court had some form of Ebola swine flu. It wasn't so bad, except the constant pressure on my chest and feeling like I couldn't breathe after some points. But we're all OK now. 
Our next opponent: Team Shenanigans. You know how some people are competitive at tennis while still recognizing that this is still really recreational, while others give people free club membership for their facility to lure them off of another team? Yeah. Team Shenanigans. So for the last two weeks, knowing that the members of this team were also largely on the 9.0 mixed team and that both of those teams were scheduled to play at the same time, we speculated about who would show up where and if that could help us. Especially because we're talking about some very dominant male players here. One of them is a former D-1 all-star and HE IS RATED A 4.0. I am rated a 4.0 and I just started playing tennis about a decade ago. About three days before the match, I checked out. I couldn't talk about it anymore. I just wanted to play. 
I'm not gonna lie -- I felt great during warm-ups. My whole team looked great. Even as one of their biggest dogs walked into our building, I thought: "Whichever one of us gets him, we can swing it. I mean, look at us!"
And then, during the match, I looked at them. By the time my court had finished warmups, that 4.0 college guy? He was up 5-0 on our teammates on line three. On line two, where the best teams from each side met, they were locked in a tight first set, but it looked like Team Shenanigan's big dog was starting to find his game. And on my court? We were down 5-1 in about four and a half minutes. And we drew the easiest team, which was still pretty effing tough. I'd played them both before and had a good record against the guy and not so good against the woman, although the one time I had beaten her was in mixed dubs. So I felt OK about our chances, even though we were down. We made a couple of adjustments, including pulling me off the net, and we got it back to 5-4. So I'm standing at the service line and I thought: "OK. All I have to do is hold serve here and we've got ourselves a set here."
Can I give you some advice? NEVER THINK THAT THOUGHT. NEVER DO IT!!!! I double-faulted three straight times. Three!!! I don't even remember being nervous. But I don't know what I was thinking, either. 
In an effort to avoid my own body after it malfunctioned on me, I looked around again, hoping for a sign. And I got one. The third line was already playing a fun set. In the next court over, Big Dog and his "3.5" partner were cruising. In fact, within minutes, our team was down 5-0 on both courts within minutes. I stood at the line again, this time, just hoping to avoid a bagel. I told my partner, "Four aces right here, and then let's get into it." He was like, "OK." He probably thought I was drinking cold medicine straight again.
It wasn't four aces, but we did get that game, but it was all over very soon after that. What a bummer. The worse part about the matches where there's a chance to win is going over all the stuff you did wrong as you're trying to fall asleep that night. 
Who double faults three times in a game, you stupid idiot? This isn't singles -- keep the ball low! Slicing? Are you nuts? You have to learn to volley. Why's my partner in no-man's land, and why am I letting him live there? This skirt is old and needs to go in the trash. 
So, it's over until next fall. There's a chance I can play another 9.0 match, and 7.0 still rages on for a few more weeks. It'll be that and a ton of net practice between now and the spring. 
So what's the takeaway here? Welp, no sectionals for us. My husband's team lost in a heartbreaker the next day, and unfortunately, it looks like all roads go through Team Shenanigans, which goes to show you that all you have to do is buy some club memberships for college players, and you can run rec tennis in your region. I have some talent I'm lining up, and I feel like the offer for the public courts and the port-o-potty next to it (free of charge and no wait for the potty) is going to draw the guys in like, well, like stink bugs to a port-o-potty in the summer.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

On-court antics: How I learned to stop worrying and love 8.0 playoffs

The 8.0 mixed doubles season out here has been ... interesting. There has been a lack of urgency because all eight teams make the playoffs. At the same time, it's also a good idea to jockey for position in some way -- because if you can grab home court advantage, well, that's ideal.
That's what my team had in mind for the last regular season match. Win, and you move into the second slot and have at least two playoff matches at your house. (The final is at a neutral location.) Lose, and you drop to fourth, and what would be a very tough first-round match against a team we barely beat during the regular season.
In situations like this, then, you hate to have to play an important match with someone you've never played with before. UNLESS you ended up with my partner. I had the talk with him, you know, about me. And the net. And our complicated relationship. I ask him: "So, how do you feel at the net? If I start with the serve, you're probably better off up there than I am."
He says: "I feel OK up there. You can serve."
I often wonder if people have different meanings for words than I do. Because when someone says, "I feel OK," I think, "So not great." But this guy was not OK at the net. He was pretty great up there. For a big guy, he moved quickly at the net and intercepted stuff I figured I'd have to get for him. I actually had time to learn a lot about volley preparation back there.
So, besides for a temporary hiccup I had in the second set, during which time I had a bout with nerves that I had to literally curse myself out to shake, we won in straight sets.
That made the whole match score 1-1, with our team down a set and a break by the time we were done. We held on, though, and our team won the match, 7-5 in the third.
So yay! We secured one home-court slot on the last night of the regular season! (My husband's team had the other. I know what you're going to say. It's what everyone says. "Why aren't you playing on the same team as your husband?" If you're very good, one day I will explain it. But we have to focus.) Time to plan for being in the driver's seat during the playoffs! Right? Right! Wait, what? Not right??
Everything was awesome until around 9 a.m. the next morning, a Sunday, when our league coordinator dropped something of a bomb: A proposal to extend the season by three matches, so that we could play more and give captains an opportunity to qualify more players for sectionals, should they advance. He put it to a vote by the team captains that would be tallied in five days.
Now naturally, this would be a vote that would run something like 6-2, then, with the 'no' votes belonging to my husband and my team captain. Well, who else wouldn't jump at the chance to improve their playoff position, right? Heck, if this was proposed before the season started, or maybe two matches in, I might have supported it. But the fact that it surfaced the morning after the season had officially ended (according to our apparently archaic online schedule set back in September), smelled like shenanigans. And in league tennis in these parts, when you smell shenanigans, there's this one team captain who is usually cooking it.
He shall remain nameless here, but through some sleuthing, it was discovered that this guy had told another team captain he intended to ask the league coordinator to help him out by changing match dates so he could get his best lineups out there. Many of his players also play for the 9.0 team, and he needed some accommodations so he could send beefed-up lines to both places.
Well, once this was discovered and made known to the other captains, it got real "Dynasty" up in here. While emailed accusations of just about anything tennis-related you could think of were being hurled about, there was one person who was mysteriously absent -- the league coordinator. Finally, on Monday night, he materialized to tell us that the plan was off the table.
So, for now, until the next insane proposal, my team will play at home this weekend, as will my husband's. What's the lesson here? Twofold: 1. Look, you don't mess with USTA people and their league tennis. You just don't. 2. If you are hired to do a job, do the job. Don't put stupid ideas up for a vote. Squash them, because that is your job.
That said, here's to an all-TWA face-off for sectionals!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

On-court antics: The 9.0 experiment

So what had happened was, we were sitting at home, just minding our own business, and my husband gets a text.
"Would you play 9.0 if you got asked?"
I shrugged. "Sure," I said, but seriously. Who would ask me? My USTA records are out there for the world to see. Let's be for real.
An hour later, as I was getting the kids ready for bed, he peeks his head. "You need to sign up tonight. They sent you a team number."
And that's how I ended up on a 9.0 team this season, people. Basically, they had a 5.0 player and needed a 4.0 woman to play with him, so they were in a pinch. The match was in two days. As soon as I signed up, I went from psyched to panicked in less than a minute. Here's someone (me) who just played a 7.0 and struggled to figure out how to win it. Now, not only am I playing a 8.0 match in the afternoon, but am also now playing a 9.0 match three hours after that. Yes, that is utterly ridiculous. But you never underestimate the power of a tennis junkie to place themselves in ridiculous situations just to play tennis.
As I was about to leave the house, my three-year-old asked me where I was going. Any mother who also endeavors to do things for herself knows that question and the guilt trip forthcoming. I told him I had to play tennis but I would be right back. (... in six hours.)
Instead of the usual clinging-to-the-leg that usually happens next, my son turns, grabs something and gives it to me. "I want you to take this with you."


I don't consider myself an emotional person, so feeling an alternate rush of love, guilt and a desire to stay with this kid and never let him go was unexpected. But because I am ultimately a terrible person, I thanked him, kissed him and ran out the door before I busted out crying. (That's a Rescue Hero, an action figure from the 1990s. I'm naming this one Joe.)
So, with Joe in my bag, I head out to my first match of the day against the team I played for last year. No bad blood (pun alert) or anything like that -- it just ended up being the farthest facility from my house. It's a dangerous team, with a bunch of solid 4.5 guys, but the pressure isn't much right now. In the 8.0 league, everyone makes the playoffs. The regular season is pretty much jockeying for position so you don't have to play the really tough teams right away. My partner and I won our match pretty easily, and what could have been a tussle on line two ended when the guy on the opposing team pulled out of the match with a bad hamstring. I was feeling pretty good because at least I'd won one match that day.
But, alas, I couldn't bask for long -- I had to get in the car and drive an hour to get to the 9.0 match. And I knew going in that I would be the worst player in the entire facility, but when I walked in and saw a bunch of former college players warming up, I felt like a fraud. Fortunately, though, one of those former college players was my partner. Our opponents were two solid 4.5s, so I was far and away the weakest link. I told my partner after the warmup, "Look, I'm not comfortable at the net. I can be there, but I'd rather not be there. So if I'm doing badly up there, feel free to pull me off." He was not really concerned by this comment. "Well, we'll start you up there for now and see what happens," he said.
Of course, it took about a minute for me to realize why he wasn't too worried about me -- that's about how long it took for him to hold his serve. I felt like I should have gotten a bowl of popcorn, because all I did was watch this guy rain down these awesome serves, rush in and put the volley wherever he wanted and with whatever pace he needed.
But that was the first game. I couldn't return the guy's serve for the entire first set and his partner was able to put away anything at the net. She wasn't powerful, but very smart and patient. I hate that.
I was most worried about my serve, because at the level I'm used to, it holds up and isn't easily attackable, and the great thing about this match was that it stayed that way. I was still able to use it to set up my partner with easy putaways. My groundstrokes and returns, though, were terrible. They always are in the first set. I am a notorious bad match starter. I need, like, two and a half hours to really start killing groundstrokes. (Most doubles matches are over in 90 minutes.)
As the first set wore on, we were at 4-all, and I was serving. Maybe you've never been the worst player on a court before, but I knew that if I didn't serve well enough to win that game, we would lose the set. But I felt good -- my partner was up there holding it down at the net, and as long as I kept getting weak returns off my serve, we could hold easily and maybe focus on the opposing woman's serve. So it's 15-30 and as I'm walking to the other side to serve, I noticed there was some dark substance on my fingers, and on my grip:


Blood. I still don't know how I cut myself, but two figures were bleeding. I had to stop in the middle of the game to find some Band-Aids in my bag. While I was going through my bag, there was Joe. I saw it as a sign, and after I cleaned myself up, I moved Joe to the top of my bag so I could see him at every changeover.
I rode the Joe momentum all the way ... to dropping that serve game for us to go down 4-5 in the set. The next game, we lost the set. I was about to start moping and kick Joe out of the facility, but my partner turned to me, smiling after we lost that last game. "This is good. I wanted to play three sets tonight." OK, I thought. I like this guy!
We won the second set 6-2 and the third set was a lot like the first -- a grind. By now, the other matches had concluded and everyone from both teams are now watching. Normally, when other people are watching, it makes me focus better, but that day, with a bunch of 4.5 players watching me from the sidelines, it was weird. That might have contributed to me getting into another 15-40 hole on my serve late in the third set. We lose this game, and we're under the gun to win the next. We win, and we'd be at 6-5 with the girl's serve coming up, and I had loosened up enough that I was starting to find my range on those returns. But with her partner moving at net, it was still difficult to break her. Anyway, me at 15-40. I had a mini-revelation here. I realized that my partner is incredible, and it was mostly because he doesn't try to do more than he can in any given position on the court. He's not trying to kill every volley. Sometimes, touch is the best solution. Sometimes blasting at the feet. So by now at 30-40, and serving to the woman, I realized I needed to do what I can and nothing more. I served conservatively to her backhand, and let my partner take care of the reply. At deuce, against the man, I put more on it, as best I could, and also to his backhand. Weak reply, easy putaway. Rinse, repeat. Game, us.
Joe and I had made up by now, so I gave him a rub during the last changeover and lined up to receive serve. I did what I could do and nothing more. I hit two returns that were crosscourt enough to keep the guy from poaching and with enough topspin to make her hit tough volleys and it worked. Needless to say, the 5.0 guy was also able to win his points. Four points later, I had actually been a part of a winning 9.0 effort! Holy #(*#$^&*@, Batman!!
What did I learn? Once again, do what you can and nothing more. It sounds easy, but how many times have you found yourself trying a shot you don't have in a tense situation? No, of course, it isn't going to work. And no, your serve isn't going to miraculously find another 35-40 mph. So you do what you can as best as you can, and nothing more. That doesn't mean you're going to win all the time. It means you're playing smart tennis all the time. This, granted, isn't easy, but tennis isn't easy. Which is why we love it. Right? Right?
Riiiight.


Friday, November 14, 2014

State of the Fed Cup

The Fed Cup, once again, came and went with nary a murmur on ESPN or most anywhere else. Well, except for this one small detail that the court it was played on was illegal.
New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg tweeted over the weekend that the ITF ruled the courts was just over the measured limit for speed, but that it was too late to do anything about it, so they would just play the FED CUP FINAL ON AN ILLEGAL COURT.
I know, I know. You've sold the tickets. The people are there, the players are there, the show must go on. But I guess the main question is: Why is checking the court the last thing you do? It's only the stage for the event. And what's the backup plan if something were to go wrong -- if the court were actually unsafe? All good questions, but no one cares too much about this small detail. The main takeaway from this weekend, according to most media, is that the home Czech team dominated Germany. I wonder why.
(Just unrelated FYI: Did you know that Petra Kvitova has her best results on fast courts with low bounces? The two majors she has won? Both Wimbledon. Lucie Safarova has never won a Slam, but she's come closest at Wimbledon this year with a semifinal showing. She has never gone past the fourth round at the French Open, which is, shall we say, a slower court.)
And why would the German team not even complain? At last check, they haven't even filed a grievance. Granted, the court surface speed (CSR) should be 50 at the maximum, This court was at 52. If it didn't make a difference, why measure it?
It's enough of a problem that penalties are apparently forthcoming. I am sure the winning team will have learned its lesson.