Pre-match knock-ups should be scrapped
This being the season of goodwill, I am willing to put on hold my friendly on-going argument with George Ciz, the ATP's ebullient marketing man.
Ciz is responsible for the big sound and light build up at the World Tour Finals, which is very good.
He thinks it's the best of the year (quite rightly, he's in charge of it) but I give it a room-for-improvement nine out of 10.
They do it even better at the Paris Indoors (10/10) where the visuals are faultlessly stunning.
Andy Murray (left) and John McEnroe both say that the knock-ups should be scrapped and players should go straight into a match without warming-up. Photo: Getty
And it's a live mix, lights perfectly choreographed and sound beat-mixed to allow a constant flow of energy in the build-up to matches.
This sort of stuff isn't everyone's cup of tea but it's a great way to keep the sport moving forward, exciting new audiences and hooking the kids. Paris and London lead the way.
So the lights are dancing, the speakers juddering, graphics, lasers, spots, intros... then... what happens?
Everything falls flat. It's time for the tennis knock-up - that most unfathomable waste of time.
I estimate I have lost several hours, if not an entire day, watching tennis knock-ups this year. An entire day (it could actually be more)! lost to the archaic splendour of the knock up. That makes me feel a little ill.
Let's all resolve this New Year - at the top level - to scrap this unnecessary and, let's admit it, inexplicable charade.
In how many other elite sports do opponents help each other warm-up?
Yes we need several attempts to get the ball over the net when we're at the local park, but shouldn't pros be properly prepared so they're ready from the start?
The majority already are. They just have to go through the motions because that's the way it always has been.
The argument in favour of the knock-up says players need to get a 'feel' for the ball, the strings and court.
This is understandable; they may look a bit average if they don't get their five minutes of forehand pampering. Egos will take a hit.
So what if it takes players a little longer than usual to develop their 'feel' and get into the match?
Brilliant! An extra element of intrigue is added to the opening exchanges.
Which player settles quicker? Who's looking a little rusty on serve? Suddenly the choice at the coin toss has more tactical relevance.
My guess is that at the top level, it would make no difference at all. These players are world class, they will be ready. They know how to serve.
The advantages are clear. It would speed up schedules and clear space for tournaments and television to get on with matches immediately.
It would make those big build-ups even sexier if the crescendo comes just as the first point is to be played.
Two (unofficial) ambassadors of this campaign are Andy Murray and John McEnroe. Mac says: "They should go out there like boxers - to huge applause and announcements - toss the coin and then, boom, first serve."
But chatting to another top player at a recent seasonal soirée, it's clear this would be a controversial move. "It's not like you can walk straight from the driving range to the first tee as in golf", she said.
Maybe Santa can provide a couple of swingballs for the locker rooms to solve this one.
I jest of course - and happy Christmas to you all by the way - but I do think this is a change which would be good for the tennis at the top level.
Tennis governing bodies have more important stuff on their plates at the moment, particularly the ATP which can't get key figures in the men's game to agree on a new chief executive from a rather short shortlist.
The knock-up is a sideshow of an argument - I'm not trying to pretend any different - but my guess is that the forward-thinking WTA will be first to trial a new system, possibly cutting from five minutes to three.
Only when it disappears completely will we wonder why it took us so long to dispose of one of sport's great irrelevancies.
And then, what to do with that extra day?