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  • Writer's pictureThirty30 Tennis

The Tennis Abstract Blog - NextGen FAST4 and Thirty30 Tennis Discussed

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

Jeff Sackmann (Heavy Topspin, The Tennis Abstract Blog) discusses NextGen, FAST4 and Thirty30 tennis with Carl Bialik (Thirty Love podcast).

Listen to the full episode (57 mins) here and scroll down to:

‘Podcast Episode 40: Fed Cup, the ATP Tour Finals, and a Sandbox Full of Rule Changes’ (November 11, 2018)

The ‘NextGen & Fast4’ discussion begins at 39:56 and ‘Thirty30’ at 50:25.

To only listen to the ‘Thirty30’ clip (3.5 mins) please see below.

Transcript of ‘Thirty30’ clip


My latest guest (on the Thirty Love podcast) was Mark Milne who is proselytizing the virtues of what he calls ‘thirty30’ tennis and he has very specific cricket derived reasons for calling it that.

He is Scottish.

His idea is to start games at deuce – I am sorry I said it that way Mark, I know that you say starting at 30-all (30-30 “thirty-thirty), but games start at deuce effectively and then see what happens from there.

Otherwise do exactly what the standard rules of scoring of tennis say you should do.

So, it’s sets to 6 (games), at 6-all play a tie-break and so on.

I just tried it today for the first time.

I was immediately intrigued when I heard about the idea.

It ('Thirty30') really does make every point count.

I think every point from deuce onwards is exciting.

Sometimes the quality of the point isn’t, certainly at the level I play.

There was something crudely satisfying about the sets ending in scores that sounded familiar.

It felt like we got in more tennis and I think some of that is psychological because often love-all and frankly 30-love points are forgettable.

So, anyway, I don’t expect to see Thirty30 at a tour event anytime soon but for sandbox tournaments like the NextGen Finals or Exhibitions, it’s I think a worthy alternative to consider.


So, if you had to pick between ‘Thirty30’ and ‘FAST4’ which one would you go with?


Well, this is based on just one time doing it but I would go with ‘Thirty30’.

I have done ‘FAST4’ a lot for similar motivation just to mix things up, get through sets faster, more resets and I do like it, although I don’t think that ‘No Ad’ really added much to the experience, but I just really liked the feeling of immediately jumping into a game at 30-all.

It felt somewhat more nerve-racking, but mostly more exciting.


Yes, I can see the momentum shifting really rapidly and heavily in each direction – if we believe in momentum – I don’t know if we do.

You said that you’ve played ‘FAST4’?


Yes, a lot more than ‘Thirty30’.


How do you think that would work?

How do you think professional tennis would look playing ‘Thirty30’?

It seems like the level of tension or excitement would be quite high all the time?


Yes, and maybe that means that it is never high based on the baseball fan perspective, but no I think that it would immediately put players under pressure from the very beginning of a set.

It would also mean more breaks (of serve) so there would be more sense of ok, did I just lose my serve by losing two points right away, but I can break back at some point because I just have to do the same.

I think that a lot of fans watching tennis have that experience of like not really paying attention early in games and then kind of getting more focused as the game goes.

It just skips ahead, it cuts out those moments of lacking interest.

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