The Tennis Advocate Podcast Fan Questions: Shorter Formats - Fast4 Thirty30 (T30) and Tie-Break Tens
Updated: May 10
Listen to Isaiah Buse (Editor of The Tennis Advocate Podcast) answer a ‘Fan Question’ about shorter scoring methods used in tennis.
Or the transcript can be read below.
Alright, last but not least let’s end the podcast with some questions from you, the listeners.
Up first, we have a question from Mark Milne who asked, “Are alternative shorter scoring methods required in tennis and if so what is your opinion of Tennis Australia’s Fast4 and the alternative Thirty30 tennis shorter scoring methods?” “Also, what is your opinion on the Tie Break Tens, where matches are a champions/match tie-break to 10 points (win by 2) and their use in the 3rd sets of ATP and WTA doubles events?”
So, to break that question down into a few bite-sized pieces, let’s first talk about my thoughts on Tennis Australia’s Fast4 scoring format and the Thirty30 format. Basically, for those of you that aren’t familiar, Fast4 tennis is played to 4 games instead of 6, there is a 7 point tiebreak at 3-all, there is a 10 point match tiebreak at one set apiece, lets are live, and there is no ad with a sudden death point at deuce. Thirty30 tennis starts every game at 30-all but each set still goes to 6 games. In this format, there is a first to 5 tiebreak at 6 games apiece, there is no final set tiebreak, players change ends after the first 2 games and then every four games and at the end of each set, and players alternate who serves first in each set.
My thoughts on Tennis Australia’s Fast4 are slightly mixed. I understand that a lot of this has to do with people wanting tennis to be played faster for those with shorter attention spans and for it to be more appealing to television audiences. I totally get that and whatever it takes to get more people interested in tennis, I’m all in. Still, the issue I have with Fast4 play is the lack of attrition needed to win a match. A lot of the joy for me in a tennis match isn’t in the first set, but rather the third or fifth set. If sets were played to four, nobody would ever break John Isner’s serve or see a mental lapse from Roger Federer. And, things like no ad and lets are live allow for even more of a luck element in the game.
For Thirty30 tennis, I’m a slightly bigger fan. It sounds and feels more like regular tennis to me with sets still going to 6. Additionally, there is no final set tiebreak, so if it is a close match it will go until the better man wins. Ideally, the format will also help less evenly matched opponents to play shorter matches.
Secondly, my opinion on Tie Break Tens, or matches that are only sets of 10 point tiebreakers, is very fixed. Pretty much the same flaws I see in Fast4, I see in Tie Break Tens but amplified by about a million. I think of it as a very good practice format and one that I even use a lot myself, but for actual match play, I think it would be a disgrace to turn to Tie Break Tens.
On the other hand, I think third set 10 point tiebreakers are an amazing solution to non-Grand Slam tournaments for doubles. Although I don’t like the idea for singles, since I think players should have to play a full match to decide who was the better player, I think it works perfectly for doubles. Doubles is super fast and is all about winning the big points and I think playing 3rd sets as only a tiebreak to 10 is a great way to end the match.