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Thirty30 Blog: George Bellshaw Article - Is it time for tennis to truly embrace shorter formats?

George Bellshaw, Tennis reporter at, wrote a recent article where he discussed the use of shorter scoring formats with:

ATP president and CEO Chris Kermode, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley (“Fast4”), Creator of “Thirty30” Mark Milne, Founder of “Tie Break Tens” Gary Millner and Rachel Woodward of Tie Break Tens,

and reported on recent observations made by Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

The whole article (16 mins) can be read here.

The excerpt related to Thirty30 can be read below.

It’s not just those in positions of great power in tennis who are looking to alter the sport – one man from Arbroath is trying to innovate from grassroots level.

Mark Milne, 56, has been playing tennis since watching the 1972 Wimbledon final between Stan Smith and Ilie Nastase but found himself frustrated in recent years when trying to squeeze in a game of touch tennis – scoring with traditional tennis rules – in tight one-hour slots at his local leisure centre.

What are the rules of Thirty30 Tennis?

1. All games start from 30-30

2. If a set reaches 6-6, a nine-point breaker (first to five points) is played, with sudden death at 4-4

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

He and his hitting partner tried to adopt Fast4 rules but ‘they just did not sit right’ with Mark so he began to innovate with his own scoring system – which he likens to Twenty20 cricket.

Early in March 2016 I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night with what I now call a “light-bulb” moment – we could complete a best of 3 sets match in under an hour if we played normal traditional tennis scoring except that every game would start at 30-30,’ he tells

I had remembered from my junior days that 30-30 starts had been used during practice to give the players more experience of playing the “big” points.

I was also aware that the faster and more exciting version of cricket called Twenty20 was being played and was very successful.

‘When I looked at “30-30”, the most obvious thing to do was to brand the new shorter and more exciting version of tennis as “Thirty30” tennis – the clue would be in the name – every game starts at 30-30!

Thirty30 (T30) could be referred to as being the younger sibling of Twenty20 (T20).

Mark saw his format knocked back by the ITF in 2017 but has not given up hope of his creation making waves at all levels of the sport and is set to reapply after receiving positive feedback across the globe from those who have tested Thirty30 tennis.

He is adamant that best-of-five sets tennis used at Slams should remain undisturbed as it is ‘the ultimate test in tennis’ but hopes to see tennis adopt Thirty30 in the manner that Twenty20 cricket sits alongside the more traditional test format.

He says: ‘Can you imagine one week watching best of five set battles and the next week tuning into a Thirty30 match between Federer and Djokovic?

Or watching the top women professional players playing best of five sets Thirty30 matches – this would be very unique and create a lot of interest.

‘I think that would be awesome.

In order to grow, tennis needs more variety.

Tennis is ready for change, and the time is now.

While Mark continues to build his project from the ground up, another format, Tie Break Tens has taken the opposite approach…

Thirty30 Tennis Comment

Thirty30 tennis is an alternative shorter scoring format to Fast4 that does not upset the fundamental scoring system of tennis - sets are still played to 6 games with a T-B at 6-6, the Ad points are still played and winning "2 points in a row" are still required to win a game.

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