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  • Writer's pictureThirty30 Tennis

Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to trial changes in Tennis: FAST4 or Thirty30?

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

Listen to the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show’s (19-09-2017) discussion between Chris Evans and Vassos Alexander (British Sports Reporter) where they discuss the FAST4 scoring method, amongst other changes, that the ATP are trialling at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Italy from 7 - 11 November, where the eight best youngsters of 2017 will compete.

The changes to be trialled in Milan are:

Shorter format (i.e. ‘FAST4’): - First to four game sets (rather than first to six). - A (first to five points) tie-break, if required, at three-all. - No more 'advantage' scoring, with a sudden-death deuce point where the receiver chooses which side their opponent serves from. - A no-let rule will apply to serves.

- Best of five sets (previously best of three at this event).

Shorter Warm-Up: Matches will begin precisely five minutes, rather than 10 minutes, from the second player's walk-on.

Shot Clock: To be used in between points to ensure strict regulation of the rule which allows players 25 seconds to serve. The clock will also be used for the warm-up, during set breaks and medical time-outs - which will be limited to one per player per match.

Hawk-Eye: Line judges are being replaced by the ‘Hawk-Eye Live’ electronic line calling technology generating an automated “Out” call, and the umpire will be the sole official on court.

Player coaching: Players and coaches will be able to communicate at certain points in the match (to be determined), although coaches will not be allowed on court.

Spectators: Fans (except those behind the baselines) will be able to enter and leave the arena while matches take place.

If successful, these rule changes could be implemented at ATP tournaments from next year. The grand slams have already followed the ATP's lead, with the US Open introducing a shot-clock and permitting on-court coaching at its qualifying event last month.

Why are the changes being brought in?

The ATP said the aim of the changes was designed to create a "high-tempo, cutting-edge, and TV-friendly product".

It wants to attract new and younger fans into the sport, while at the same time retaining the sport's traditional fan base.

ATP president Chris Kermode added: "We're excited to be bringing something new to the table with this event.

"This event is not only about the next generation of players, but also about the next generation of fans."

He stressed that the ATP remains "acutely aware of the traditions in our sport".

"We will be sure to safeguard the integrity of our product when assessing if any changes should eventually be carried forward onto regular ATP World Tour events in the future," he said.

The ATP's president Chris Kermode has been clear for a while that tennis will have to change within the next 10 years. He says he is not worried where the next generation of players will come from, but has real concerns about the next generation of fans.

The television audience is ageing: so what will those in their 20s and 30s be prepared to sit down and (possibly pay to) watch in future?

A shorter format has served its purpose in cricket (Twenty20), but it is not just the time it takes: it is also about providing the entertainment which has made the Indian Premier League so popular in its first decade.

Thirty30 Tennis Comment

Tennis has to accept that ‘change’ must happen in order to evolve.

Like FAST4, the Thirty30 scoring method also produces shorter and speedier matches.

Best of five sets Thirty30 matches are played in no longer than ninety minutes.

Unlike FAST4, the Thirty30 scoring method retains the traditions of tennis:

- First to six game sets with a “Golden” game, if required, at six-all.

- Advantage points played at deuce.

- Final set won by two clear games.

Unlike FAST4, Thirty30 produces matches that still feel, look and sound like traditional matches:

e.g. A Thirty30 match score: 7-6, 2-6, 1-6, 7-5, 8-6 and a FAST4 match score: 4-3(5-3), 2-4, 3-4(3-5), 4-0, 4-2. Which match score looks like a traditional tennis match!

Unlike FAST4, changing between the traditional scoring method and the Thirty30 scoring method is seamless for both players and audiences.

Cricket has Twenty20

Tennis now has Thirty30!

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