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Tiebreaker Was Just the Ticket for Tennis

Jim Murray is an original, and I enjoyed his tennis article of July 23, but when he says, apropos of Michael Chang’s lack of a big serve, “You wish James Van Alen had minded his own business” with regard to inventing the tiebreaker, Mr. Murray should realize that the tiebreaker set time parameters that permitted tennis to enter big-time sports television.

Jimmy and his son, Jay, used to regularly challenge Casino executive Henry Heffernan and myself to doubles on the fabled Newport Casino grass courts. He originally tried out VASSS (Van Alen Simplified Scoring System) in our games, including no-ads, and VASSS in turn was modified into the present tiebreaker form.

Jimmy Van Alen was a real clown on the courts when he played, but his love for tennis and tenacity for improving the sport has helped make tennis what it is today.

ALEX T. HOLMSEN

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Monrovia


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