NEW YORK (KCBS) –With the U.S. Open tennis tournament underway in New York, the topic for many is not about the tennis being played on the court, but about towels.

John Madden talked to the KCBS Morning Crew about the excessive toweling off by players, and what that means for the length of matches.

“It’s kind of like the baseball thing where the batters step out of the box after every pitch and redo their gloves. I know where it starts, and all those things trickle down,” he said. “Kids see that and they think that they have to do it. So you see that same thing with the gloves and backing out in Little League baseball now.”

At issue is the fact that many tennis players are excessively using tournament towels. Some are toweling off after every point, no matter how short or long it is. For some, it has become a routine. But many fans and even tennis analysts are becoming noticeably more irritated with the practice. Former No.1 tennis player and multiple Grand Slam winner John Newcombe summed it up at Wimbledon this year. “Can we stop the towel, please? Hit one ball, towel,” he told the New York Times.

And what’s the big deal? Many say the length of some matches is hurting the sport , with some lasting 5+ hours or more. And that could affect the sport in the same way the popularity of baseball has taken a dive, in part due to the length of games.

“It’s one of those things we’re letting creep into all our sports and if we don’t get it stopped, it’s just going to get worse and worse,” Madden said.

A noted sports psychologist tells the New York Times she thinks the toweling off is a “sound strategic tactic” that can be part of a player’s routine to clear their mind.


Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.


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