PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Heads were on a swivel inside Hagan Arena on the campus of St. Joseph’s University. It’s the home of the Philadelphia Freedoms, one of eight teams nationwide that make up the World TeamTennis league.
“This is tennis like you’ve never seen it. This is Billie Jean King’s vision of what the sport should be,” said Freedoms general manager Barbara Perry.
“It’s a completely different scoring system,” said Judy Murray, the Freedoms director of player personnel and community engagement. “It’s fast and it is furious and it just promotes the intimacy of the one court.”
Murray is also a famed player and coach, as well as mother to Grand Slam champions Jamie and Andy Murray.
“In tennis, we are for the most part, an individual sport so events like this, they are great for the players because it’s a departure from the normal tour, but it’s great for the fans because you get behind your team,” Murray said.
It’s easy to do so with a roster complete with world-ranked players, who fans get to see operate up close on a single court.
“It’s inclusive,” Perry said. “It’s about equality, it’s about men and women playing together on a team.”
Fans are crucial to the experience as well, though. Unlike the tennis you might watch on TV, there is music between serves, fan giveaways and activities to keep the attention of all kinds of tennis enthusiasts.
“You don’t see tennis at this level other than a cozy arena like this,” one fan said.
Just like the serves, the games seem to whiz by as matches consist of five sets and the first team to earn four points wins.
“It shakes up the sport because it’s music during points. It’s loud, it’s fast — four points and the game is over like that,” Perry said.