|In a tennis match it is not uncommon for games to 'go with service'
(ie. 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, so on). When this occurs, the player
who serves first is either ahead by one game, or the games' score
is equal. Some commentators, players, argue that the person who serves
first has a psychological advantage in that his/her opponent is very
often 'playing catch-up'. Assuming that such a (non-zero) psychological
advantage of 'being ahead in the games' score' exists, the advantage
of serving first in a set between two equal players, is determined.
In the presence of such 'front-runner' psychological effects, alternative
methods or rules for allocating service to the players are considered,
and some are shown to be fairer than the present rule. A proposal
consisting of two modifications to the present rules is put forward
for consideration. One of these modifications is very easy to apply.
The reverse psychological effect to the above, the 'back-to-the-wall'
effect, occurs when a player performs better when behind. The proposal
is seen to be fairer than the present method for the cases in which
both players A has either a positive or negative psychological effect
and player B also has an equivalent positive or negative effect. Further,
the application of the proposal to doubles is also considered and
a modification for doubles suggested for consideration.
WORDS: Rules in tennis, psychological advantage, back-to-the-wall
effect in tennis, cricket fairness.