NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – Reigning NCAA singles and doubles champion, Stanford’s Nicole Gibbs advanced to the finals of qualifying at the New Haven Open on Saturday with a 6-3, 6–3 win over Lourdes Dominguez Lino.
Gibbs is upset about the NCAA’s recent proposals for Division I college tennis which include 10-point tiebreaks to be played in place of a third set, doubles matches shortened to a six game set, no warm ups with opponents before singles matches, breaks between doubles matches being reduced from 10 minutes to five minutes and changeover breaks being shrunk from 90 seconds to 60 seconds.
â€œIâ€™m incredibly disappointed to hear that thatâ€™s even it is a proposal to be honest,â€ Gibbs told Tennis Panorama News and the Hartford Courant, Â â€œand Iâ€™m kind of praying along with the rest of my fellow college tennis players that that Â doesnâ€™t come to pass.
â€œI think we have a lot of support going up against that proposal and I know, Iâ€™ve signed the petition and a lot of other players have signed a petition online to you know end the proposed changesâ€¦and Â you know everyone from players to coaches are really involved and very serious about making sure those things donâ€™t happen because I think it would be a huge problem for college tennis.â€
This is all with the intent to shorten the matches, allegedly increase viewership which I really donâ€™t see happening given that tennis is a very niche sport,â€ Gibbs added.
â€œ The people that come to our matches are people who are going to be there regardless of what the format is. Perhaps we could get a few more fans based on a shorter match link but I think more importantly weâ€™re going to lose a huge fan base, a huge support base for college tennis because it wonâ€™t be legitimate grounds for development anymore.
Asked if more college players will turn pro if the proposals take place, Gibbs said: â€œAbsolutely! I mean If I had been looking to four-years of 10-point tiebreaks in the third set, I donâ€™t think I would have gone to college in the first place.â€
â€œThere are a lot of players really on the bubble about whether to go college to use those years to develop or to go straight on the tour because thereâ€™s an argument that college isnâ€™t a good enough development program as is. And this is especially frustrating for players like me and specifically Mallory Burdette my teammate who have been out here on the tour all summer trying to prove to people that you know, this is a legitimate grounds for development and encouraging people to get their education so they have you know, something to fall back on after their tennis careers. We think thatâ€™s really important and that whatâ€™s weâ€™re representing and I think the NCAA proposal would be a huge set back to that.â€
Gibbs, broken when serving for the match admitted to be nervous in closing the match. “I definitely got a little tight at the end there, started thinking about the broader scope of what it means to beat a top-100 player,” Gibbs said. “She played tough points and made me earn it, so credit to her on that front, but I was very tight.
Gibbs goes for a spot in the main draw on Sunday when she takes on GarbiÃ±e Muguruza.
At the 3:50 mark to the 6:30 mark, Gibbs discusses the NCAA.