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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 January 2006, 05:12 GMT
Doubles players drop legal action
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (far side) shake hands with Jordan Kerr and Travis Parrott
The Bryan twins (far side of net) supported the lawsuit
A group of men's doubles players have dropped their lawsuit against the ATP after reaching an agreement over changes to the two-man game.

The ATP has abandoned its plan to reserve the majority of places in doubles tournaments for those playing in the singles event.

That ruling would have affected doubles specialists like American pair Bob and Mike Bryan, who had backed the lawsuit.

But they said on Sunday: "We got 80% of what we wanted (from the ATP)."

The ATP has also dropped its controversial plan to abbreviate sets to the first to five games.

However, some scoring changes have already taken effect.

Matches at ATP and Challenger level feature a "super tiebreak" instead of a third set and instead of playing advantage at deuce, the winner of the next point takes the game.

"The only thing left that we could fight was the new scoring system," said Mike Bryan.

"We're going to give it a shot for a year. If it's not working, we're going to go back to the old system."

The lawsuit was filed in September in US District Court in Houston.

Among the plaintiffs were the Bryans, Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and doubles partner Daniel Nestor of Canada.

The world's top men's doubles players are to take their grievances over planned rule changes to court.

A complaint against the ATP, men's tennis' governing body, was filed at a federal court in Houston.

The players are seeking an injuncton to stop the ATP from implementing the changes, which would include shortening matches and amending qualifying rules.

"If we don't unite, there might not be a game of doubles," said Mike Bryan, one of the world's top doubles players.

"Our backs are against the wall," added Bryan, a specialist in the two-man game alongside twin brother Bob.

Under the new ATP scheme, players would have to qualify for the singles tournament to be eligible to compete in doubles events.

Sets first to five, with tie-break at 4-4, "no ad" games
More matches scheduled on show courts
Qualification based on combined ranking of half singles and half doubles points

Sets would be abbreviated to the first to five games, with no breaks at the changeover and a sudden-death point at deuce.

More than 20 top doubles players, including world number one Jonas Bjorkman, attended a news conference before the start of Friday's play at the Australian Open.

Players' lawyer John Sullivan said: "We are not seeking any monetary damages.

"All we want is the ATP to assume responsibility they should have before and change the rules back and protect the game of doubles."

The scoring changes will be tested in six tournaments beginning the week after the US Open, while the new qualifying system is planned for 2008.

ATP spokesman David Higdon said: "I hope everyone can step aside and we can talk together and grow the game.

"These changes are experimental. They are definitely not set in stone."


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