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  • Writer's pictureThirty30 Tennis

2018 ITF Rules of Tennis – Amendments discussed

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

The following changes in the 2018 ITF Rules of Tennis have just recently been published.


The alternatives listed in this Appendix V may be used.

SCORE IN A SET (Rules 6 and 7):

1. SHORT SETS The first player/team who wins four games wins that set, provided there is a margin of two games over the opponent(s). If the score reaches four games all, a tie-break game shall be played. Alternatively (at the discretion of the sanctioning body), if the score reaches three games all, a tie-break game shall be played.

2. SHORT SET TIE-BREAK When playing Short Sets only, a Short Set tie-break may be used. The first player/team to win five points wins the “Game” and “Set”, with a deciding point if the score reaches four all. The order and number of serves shall be determined by the sanctioning body. Players/Teams will only change ends after the first four points have been played.

Thirty30 Comment

Thirty30 notes that the 2018 ITF Rules of Tennis has removed its reference to the “FAST4 format” that was included in the 2017 ITF Rules of Tennis (for a two-year trial 2016-2017), although the four off FAST4 rules are still included, i.e. “Short Sets” (sets to four games), “Short Set Tie-Break” (five-point tie-break at three games all), “No Ad” Scoring Method (No Ads) and “No Let Rule” (No lets).

According to the rule "1. Short Sets" above, a set can now be won by 5-4, i.e. a Short Set Tie-Break is played at 4-4. Thirty30 has never seen this scoreline before.

Thirty30 is unsure what is meant by the sentence above: "The order and number of serves shall be determined by the sanctioning body." This appears to complicate matters.

As reported in the “sportstarlive” article by Paul Fein, it is interesting to find that the “no-let rule” and “Four-game sets (and including no ads)” were both graded as “Grade F”, i.e. very poor. See link below.

This very poor grading is backed up by The Tennis Podcast’s recent poll where “sets to 4 games” and “no ads” were very unpopular - only 11% and 13% were in favour. See link below.

The “six game sets (lead by two)” and “Ad Points” rules must be retained to keep the good traditions of tennis.

Thirty30 tennis keeps both of these rules, produces shorter matches that still FEEL, LOOK and SOUND like traditional tennis, produces matches that are more intense and creates more periods of excitement/drama during matches - less dead time and more points matter quicker.

The Rules are very complicated and there are endless set scores possible, e.g. a set can be won by 4-3 or 5-4 or 6-4 or 7-6. There are now three types of tie-breaks - 5 points (sudden death at 4-4), 7 points (lead by 2) & 10 points (lead by 2) ! Coupling this with the "No Ad" and "No Let" rules and the added confusion over the "order and number of serves" there are endless combinations of types of match. This is all too complicated with too many variations and is not great for players or audiences.

Simple is best!

Thirty30 is very simple and straightforward - it can be described in one sentence - all games start at 30-30 !

Additionally the transition from traditional scoring to Thirty30 is seamless.

Let us just have "Traditional Tennis" and "Thirty30 Tennis". It will be a lot easier and simpler!

Two-of-three-set Thirty30 matches are completed in 40 - 60 minutes. Three-of-five-set Thirty30 matches are completed in 60 - 90 minutes.

Try Thirty30 tennis now!

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