Madrid's Davis Cup Scheduling Problems - Is the solution Thirty30 (T30) Tennis World Cups?
Matches were best-of-three sets and each tie included two singles matches and one doubles match.
Two ties were played daily using two ‘Sessions’ on each of the three courts, i.e. a total of six best-of-3 sets matches per court.
This was problematic and resulted in a few very late-night finishes including one at 4.04am!
The organisers are planning to investigate this for next year’s competition.
Two possible solutions to the scheduling problem are to use more courts which would put pressure on finding suitable venues all over the world or to reduce the length of the matches.
The Thirty30 tennis scoring method can provide a solution by producing shorter matches.
Shorter matches make it possible to play more matches in the same time frame.
Alternative shorter formats are the future of tennis.
Best-of-3 sets Thirty30 matches are completed in an estimated 40 - 60 minutes and best-of-5 sets in 60 - 90 minutes.
Playing best-of-5 sets Thirty30 matches, that are completed in less than 2 hours (including walk-on, knock-up, etc.), could solve the scheduling problem.
A tie consisting of three best-of-5 sets matches could be completed in a six hour ‘Session’ and each court would stage two ties each of six-hours duration daily, e.g.
Session A (Tie #1): 10.30am to 4.30pm
Session B (Tie #2): 5pm to 11pm
In a similar fashion to the "Twenty20 (T20) Cricket World Cup”, Thirty30 (T30) could provide the opportunity of holding joint men's and women's (Thirty30 Tennis World Cups) together.
This would be sensational.
A Mixed “Thirty30 Tennis World Cup” could also be played where all the ties’ matches are best-of-3 sets and are played in a six hour ‘Session’ including five matchups: Women’s Singles, Men’s Singles, Women’s Doubles, Men’s Doubles & Mixed Doubles - bigger and better than the Hopman Cup.
Thirty30 is the alternative shorter scoring format that unlike Fast4, does not upset the fundamental scoring system of tennis – sets are still played to 6 games (lead by 2) with a tiebreak at 6-6, the Ad points are still played out and players still need to win at least "2 points in a row" to win a game.
The Rules of Thirty30 are:
1. All games start from 30-30; announced “thirty-thirty”.
2. If a set reaches 6-6, a nine-point tiebreaker (first to five points) is played, with sudden death at 4-4. i.e. as per the “Short Set” tiebreak in Appendix V of the ITF Rules of Tennis.
3. No tiebreak in final set.
4. Change of ends after the first two games and then every four after that.
5. Alternate servers for the start of each set.
The game score ticks over more quickly, is more dynamic and a set takes no longer than a ‘bite-size’ 20 minutes to complete with a maximum number of three change of ends (or four if a tiebreak is required).
Match results still look like: 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 9-7 - i.e. identical to traditional tennis.
The transition from traditional tennis scoring to Thirty30 is seamless.