Thirty30 tennis - How did the idea come about?
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
30-30 game starts are nothing new – they have been used for many years to give players experience of playing more “big points”, as warm-up drills, etc.
What is new is that it has now been ‘packaged’ as a competitive match format and branded as Thirty30 (T30) tennis in a similar way to cricket’s Twenty20 (T20).
Thirty30 (T30) can be described as the younger sporting sibling of Twenty20 (T20).
In order to make their sports more exciting to both compete in and be a spectator at, numerous sports over recent years have experimented with their scoring systems.
Squash, badminton, table tennis, cricket, darts, golf, netball, basketball, rugby, are to name but a few.
All have the same aim – to make their sport more dynamic, more intense and more exciting.
Cricket, being particularly successful with their introduction of the Twenty20 format, is currently being assessed to be selected as a sport to be included in the 2028 Olympic Games.
This would have been unthinkable before the introduction of Twenty20.
Tennis is no different. It too has acknowledged that things have to change in order to maintain the interest in tennis at a high level and also to introduce a new younger generation to the sport.
Standing still is not an option.
Today’s generation are looking for something that is quicker and more exciting to both play and be a spectator at.
In April 2018 at the Barcelona Open, the ATP Chief Executive Chris Kermode was interviewed by the Spanish tournament's magazine.
He thinks that sooner or later tennis will have to change its rules in order to evolve: 'We experimented with several innovations in the Next Gen Finals in Milan last year, the final tournament for male tennis players of 21 years.
They tested new game rules that were quite extreme, like the best of five sets, the first to win four games in each set,... new rules that won't probably be introduced shortly, but which tennis needs to consider themselves for sure.
Many innovations could be applied in tennis. Now the next step is to see how we introduce these innovations without getting criticism from people.'
2018 ITF Rules of Tennis
Within the 2018 International Tennis Federation (ITF) Rules of Tennis – Appendix V – Alternative Procedures and Scoring Methods, there are two main alternative “shorter” formats listed:
1) Match Tie-Break (10 points) (Tie Break Tens (brand name))
A tie-break to 10 points is played, lead by 2 points.
The match tie-break has been used for many years in the ATP doubles competitions as a 3rd set match decider to decide a match when a best of 3 sets match is tied at 1 set all, thus shortening a match and is also becoming more and more widely used throughout many other tennis competitions.
The Match Tie-Break (or Champion’s Tie-Break) has recently been marketed as ‘Tie Break Tens’ (TBT) where shortened matches of one tie-break to 10 points (lead by 2) have been played.
Match Tie-Breaks are over very quickly and do not give players much time to settle in. Get off to a bad start and the ‘match’ is lost - they can be a lottery.
2) FAST4 (brand name)
This alternative format has been piloted by Tennis Australia over recent years and there has been a wide uptake of the FAST4 format in competitive tennis over recent years.
There are 4 changes to the traditional rules:
- sets are played to 4 games;
- a 9-point tie-break to 5 points is played at 3 games all;
- there are no advantage points played, i.e. ‘sudden-death’ deuce;
- there are no service let’s played.
The FAST4 format was trialed at the 2017 Next Gen (under 21) ATP finals held in Milan in November and the ATP have announced that the match format of playing best of 5 sets using sets to 4 games will be repeated again in 2018.
The FAST4 format produces truncated traditional matches.
With no advantage points played and winning a set with only 4 games, FAST4 produces shorter best of 5 sets matches but are far detracted from traditional matches - there are even less “big points” played and one break of serve and the set can be lost.
The Thirty30 (T30) scoring method has been created as an additional alternative to the existing Match Tie-Break (10 points) and FAST4 formats.
The “Thirty30” brand name is easily recognizable as being identifiable with tennis and the clue is in the name – i.e. every game starts at 30-30 (“thirty30”), and it becomes synonymous with the sport of tennis.
Thirty30 tennis can be described as the younger sporting sibling of cricket’s Twenty20 and can be recognized as the shorter more dynamic format.
The Thirty30 scoring method, with its change of ends after the first two games played, followed by every four games played during a set, halves the number of change of ends during a match, thus also reducing the overall duration,
i.e. changing ends after 2, 6 and 10 games, ensures a maximum of only 3 change of ends per set.
Since trialling of Thirty30 was launched all over the world at the end of December 2017 it has been receiving very encouraging feedback (now 140+) and this can be found on the page link below:
Thirty30 tennis – FEELS, LOOKS and SOUNDS like traditional tennis!
Thirty30 tennis – Where EVERY Point REALLY Counts!
Thirty30 tennis – Have You Tried It Yet?
Any questions? Please contact:
Mark J Milne, Arbroath, Scotland
Creator of Thirty30 tennis