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Is playing tennis at the highest level becoming too physically demanding? Use Thirty30?

Updated: Nov 26, 2019


Some questions that the Tennis Authorities (ITF/WTA/ATP) are currently asking themselves:

Is playing modern day tennis at the top level becoming too physically demanding?

Are matches lasting too long?

Is the current playing schedule asking too much of the top players?

Are the top players pushing their bodies too much, leading to injuries and health issues in later life?

Reference to 3 recent thought provoking articles:

(1) Quote from the October 24 2016 article by Steve Tignor in “Tennis” magazine:

“While there’s more tennis being streamed and broadcast than ever, the sport doesn’t have a consistent presence on prime-time TV in the States. For now, with its daylong broadcasts from the majors, ESPN has accommodated its coverage to the game. That’s heaven for tennis nuts, but it’s a tough sell in the much shorter window of prime time. Jamie Reynolds, the vice president of production at ESPN, would love to hear ideas for how tennis could squeeze itself in there.

“Do we want to make people sit down and watch two players face off for six hours?” Reynolds asks. “I don’t think that’s ideal … Can we continue to grow the sport in a different format? Absolutely. But nobody’s ready to declare how it should be done.”

“Making every point count would be a start.”

(2) No Challenges Remaining (NCR) Tennis Podcast via twitter:

(Steve) Simon (CEO WTA) also generated headlines of his own when he said in a press conference that he was considering fairly radical options for changes in the format of singles matches in the WTA to include hastening quicker measures like no-ad scoring and even super tie-breaks instead of third sets:

“I was asked in that interview with respect to: Have you given any consideration or would you give any consideration to the format that is being played today or changes to scoring? and what I said was that we don’t have anything forthcoming or imminent but we have a responsibility I think to always look at how we can evolve the game and with that what that means is you know we don’t play the same game we played in the 1930s.

Mr (James H. 'Jimmy') Van Alen introduced the tie-breaker that everyone thought was going to ruin the game and it’s seems to have worked ok, and we should be open to looking at how the game will evolve for the future and our future audience, and how could you take a match like today which was nearly 3 hours and could that become a 90 minute match.

I think that those are things that we should look at.

If you look at the future audiences it seems as if and what we are seeing is attention spans are getting shorter and will our future audience want to sit there for 3 hours, 4 hours, 5 hours and if you think it further from a tennis perspective and presentation if you come to the evening session of matches and you’ve got two three set matches are people going to sit there from 7 o’clock until one in the morning whereas they could have seen their two matches by 11 o’clock and that would be similar to going to a football game or a basketball game or a baseball game and as well as the help to the athletes.

So, I think you have got to look at this and understand that we still have to maintain the credibility of the competition, the traditions of the game and I don’t have anything imminent but I just think that we have a responsibility to look at it and understand it and make sure that our product is evolving for the audience of tomorrow as well as for today…. is the conversation that should be held and the debate that should be held.

I am not saying that you do make the change. I am just saying is that you do have the responsibility to look at it and I don’t think that you can measure what’s happened in doubles because I don’t think doubles has got the respect or the promotion it deserves to know whether it can’t move the needle, it’s more than just scoring deals, but the points that you have brought up are exactly the appropriate debate to have and the conversation that should be looked at, and that’s why I am saying that we have a responsibility to look at it, and at the end of the day you may decide you don’t change anything but there isn’t anything imminent I just said and I will always say that I feel a responsibility to look at any new idea, always be looking at how the game can evolve so that we stay relevant in the future as well as to continue growing our audience wherever we can because audiences do change.”

(3) Online article:

Do matches take too long, in turn hurting the product and turning potential spectators and players off to the sport? Does the calendar need to be modified or shortened?

“These are questions that tennis fans, officials and commentators have long debated. And on Friday, speaking to reporters at the Wuhan Open in China, WTA CEO Steve Simon indicated that changes are absolutely necessary—and potentially on the way.

Simon wants matches to, ideally, last no longer than 60-90 minutes, and the solution might be to implement no-ad scoring and super tiebreaks (10-point tiebreakers that replace third sets).

It will help us with broadcast,” Simon told reporters, according to Sport 360. “It will help us keep people in the seats. You’re much more likely to sit there and watch that match, [one] that’s going to have a lot more action points. The no-ad scoring creates drama in the middle of the sets … I think there’s a lot of things that we have to look at in our sport to continue building the interest.

“…The conversation should be held, and I’m sure the first conversation will be, ‘No, I don’t want to do that.’ But if we start doing that—maybe at the lower levels—and then it becomes normal and then you slowly begin phasing it in over generations, maybe it’s something that we could get to, and we’ll ultimately be in a better place.”

Comment by Thirty30 Tennis

All sports require to evolve to ensure progress and to continue being successful.

Tennis is no exception. Changes in tennis are required.

The new and exciting alternative “Thirty30 Tennis” scoring method ticks a lot of the boxes that the Tennis Authorities (ITF/WTA/ATP), Jamie Reynolds (ESPN) and Steve Simon (WTA) are looking for, i.e.:

Every point counts - more “big points” - every second point played is a game point.

Shorter matches (5 sets played in no longer than 90 minutes).

Maintains credibility and tradition (matches feel, sound and look like traditional tennis - sets are still played to 6 games (final set – win by 2 clear games) and the "Ad" points are still included).

Suits modern audiences (shorter attention spans - matches are shorter).

Helps the players (creates shorter matches that are less physically demanding, leading to less injuries and health issues in later life).

Suits broadcasters (matches are more "bite-size").

2-match (best of 5 sets) session (night) played in no more than 3 hours.

Equality for women and men (both play matches that are best of 5 sets).

Top players will have the option of playing both singles and doubles (women’s/men’s/mixed).


Thirty30 Tennis provides answers to the questions that the Tennis Authorities are currently asking themselves.

Twenty20 is working for Cricket. Thirty30 can work for Tennis.

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