Former top tennis professionals, Thomas Muster and Greg Rusedski were today unanimous in their opinion that the current pace of courts and balls in the game were a bit slow to allow a youngster to threaten the established stars seriously.

“I feel the slowing down of the courts and the balls have been a bit too much (for the good of the game). There was more variety in our days because of faster courts and balls. The power you put on the ball is evaporating. And matches have become lengthier. I like faster courts and balls,” said the Austrian former world number one and a top clay court specialist Thomas Muster.

“Who wants to see the same players play for five hours? There should be more variety. The French Open schedule has become very tight because of the length of the matches.”

The former French Open men’s singles champion was addressing a media conference on the eve of start of Champions Tennis League (CTL) in which he would play the role of a tennis legend and also captain new franchise Raipur Rangers. He said the quality of the balls at present needs to be reviewed as they behave in an “unpredictable” manner at times.

Rusedski, who in his prime possessed a lethal serve, was in consonance with Muster’s views. “I agree with what Thomas said. In Wimbledon they have changed the courts. There’s dry grass which is allowed to grow up to 7mms. They need to find a balance.

“There are quite a few youngsters who are unable to break into the top because of these reasons. In my days ten players were in the running for Grand Slams. By making the balls and surfaces faster you will get more variety and it will be good for tennis,” the Canadian star said.

Rusedski, who played in the inaugural edition of the tournament last year, would be filling up the role of legend cum captain for Punjab Marshals.

Former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek (Netherlands), Thomas Johansson (Sweden), Alex Corretja (Spain) and Rainer Schuettler (Germany) will fulfil similar roles for the other teams — Mumbai Tennis Masters, Hyderabad Aces, debutants Nagpur Orangers and Chennai Warriors.

CTL promoter and former India Davis Cup skipper Vijay Amritraj said there was a small change in the tie-break rule. “Instead of 5-all, tie-break will be used at 4-all.”

“We are not looking at large numbers (of spectators). We are looking at 5,000 people (to fill the stadium). We are taking world class tennis to centres who have not seen it ’live’, like Nagpur and Raipur this year,” he said.s