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Flurries Float Into Surface Debate: An Exclusive

In the wake of complaints that modern tennis surfaces lack diversity in their conditions of play and are, according to All Tennis Fans, “simply too slow,” a small ATP Tournament in Germany dares to be different with its exciting new snow courts.

“We wanted to change things up this year,” said BMW Open by FWU AG tournament director Mother Nature at a brief press conference earlier today. “Surface homogenization has threatened to completely kill off what used to make men’s tennis so fun. Call me a nostalgic, but today’s gritty baseline game with all those long, athletic rallies is honestly a snooze.”

While the Munich-based tournament has traditionally been played on clay courts – and briefly, grass – throughout its impressive 116-year-old history, nature’s whimsical celestial goddess felt as though a German ATP 250 tournament was the perfect site for a revolution in tennis.

“Germany has always been the flag-bearer of innovation, from their progressive decision to elect a female chancellor – to their really nice overpriced cars,” said Mother Nature, who had the option of literally any other tournament in the world considering she is the Almighty Deity of the Planet’s Weather and is in control of these sorts of things.

“The tournament’s sponsors and I felt that snow was the perfect option. Since the Northern Hemisphere’s weather in April is usually just the result of my indecision between winter and summer, we felt that both the fans and players wouldn’t mind this daring surface change in the middle of the European clay court season.”

According to the BMW Open by FWU AG’s court scientist, the snow court conditions are designed to be fast with a slick bounce at the beginning of the match (where snowfall will gently cover what will initially be a yucky clay court) and then nearly unplayable at the end.

“Players will be permitted to wear snowshoes after an hour of play– or whenever the umpire chooses to enforce the rules,” said the specialist, who developed a prototype for the unique surface at Montreal’s Uniprix Stadium in Canada this February.

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After generously agreeing to speak one-on-one with The Tennis Island, Mother Nature admitted that while her controversial snow courts might require a period of adjustment from players, it will be beneficial to the sport of tennis in the long run.

“As I said earlier, today’s slow, homogenized surfaces are nearly unwatchable for me. I’ve been a tennis fan since humans invented it in the 19th century and I prefer watching points that last less than four shots. Anything more and I get bored.

“I swore I’d never watch another NovAndy match after their 2012 US Open final. The wind died down in the third set because I left the stadium.”

The courts have garnered a mixed reaction from both tennis pundits and players.

“The slippery, almost icy nature nature of these courts rewards unpredictable shot-making and non-existent footwork. You’re practically not even playing tennis at all.” said an anonymous, top tennis analyst for the ATP who works with many tour coaches. “My dad and I look forward to watching Fabio Fognini this week.”

While some players felt the need to suspend their matches citing the ATP’s too-fucking-cold-for-tennis rule, many still took to the practice courts despite the difficult conditions.

“I mean, even if we’re playing low-quality matches in the snow at least we’re making more than a WTA player would at a tournament of this level,” said one player who asked not to be named. “Gotta keep things in perspective!”

Although the snow courts are currently still on a trial run, Mother Nature says she has plans for full fledged ice courts for the tournament’s 117th edition next year.

“Tennis played with skates. Just imagine,” said the fictitious maternal personification of environmental circumstances that humans cannot control.

“Canadians already do it.”

About Jeff Donaldson (35 Articles)
Queen's University '15. Tennis Canada. @jddtennis/@donaldsonjd

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