Thirty30 Tennis Blog – Rock n Roll Podcast – Legendary Umpire Lars Graff on Shorter Scoring Formats
Two time Wimbledon final and legendary umpire Lars Graff joined the Rock n Roll Tennis Podcast where the show host Keith Fraser and his sidekick John Lloyd asked Lars for his opinion on the use of shorter scoring formats in tennis.
The full Podcast can be listened to here “Two Time Wimbledon Final & Legendary Umpire - Lars Graff”
The (7 minutes) excerpt about shorter scoring formats can be listened to here.
A transcript of the short excerpt is below.
Rock n Roll Tennis Podcast: Two Time Wimbledon Final & Legendary Umpire - Lars Graff
Keith: Welcome to Rock n Roll tennis, the number one tennis podcast with your host Keith Fraser (yes that’s me) and my sidekick the former British No. 1 Mr John Lloyd.
So welcome to another edition of Rock n Roll Tennis. I am here as always with my main man the bronzed Adonis, and he is bronzed, his tan is getting up to scratch again. He is the racket raconteur, the housewife’s heart-throb, John Flossy Lloyd.
John, How are you?
John: I am very well thanks yes. We played a couple of hours of tennis today. It is steamy here in Florida now. Summer has arrived although there is about to be a thunderstorm but it is hot, but it’s good, a nice little couple of hours.
Now I am ready to have a nice chat.
Keith: But listen we have got a great guest again John, because and this guy is a legend of the sport in his own right you know.
He is 30 years working at Grand Slam Events. His first one, his first Slam Event that he officiated in was at the US Open in 1987; and 25 years at the ATP, he was the Vice-President of Officiating;
he has been inducted to the Swedish Tennis Hall of Fame and what can I say, he is the only Chair Umpire to have officiated the Men’s and Women’s Wimbledon Final and one of them was that great final in 2009 between (Andy) Roddick and (Roger) Federer.
He is now one of the Co-Tournament Directors of the China Open, the biggest tournament in Asia.
Without further ado, you know this guy is, what can I say, well is probably the most acclaimed Officiator, Umpire of them all, it is Lars Graff. Lars, finally welcome.
Lars: Thankyou very much. Thanks for having me. What can I say after an introduction like that? You must be a very good friend of mine.
Keith: Well, we have known each other a long time and it is great to have you on because I know obviously now you have officially left the ATP, you are, the muzzle is off, so to speak.
So you don’t have to sort of be, so politically correct as you always are and you are you know a true pro.
Keith: ... And the other thing is and I know that John you didn’t watch much of it last summer I think, was Ultimate Tennis Showdown which was the Mouratoglou kind of idea.
Do you like different scoring formats Lars and do you think it’s the future to make the game more accessible to non-tennis fans?
Lars: Definitely! I think this is something that needs to happen very very quickly.
It happens in Golf. How many different formats do we have in America on the PGA Tour? They have Matchplay, they have normal tournaments, they have Skins games, whatever.
I mean Tennis needs to have different scoring formats; they need to have a different Competition format.
If it’s Country against Country or if it’s different scoring formats you play.
I remember you had a guest who was talking about what was four format, first to four. [This is not quite correct – ‘first to four’ is the Fast4 format].
Keith: Yes, what did we say? Thirty30 tennis.
Lars: Thirty30, yes.
Cricket is doing it.
I mean, any sport is doing it.
I think tennis is very important and that tennis in the future is looking into this and those kind of different formats or this kind of different Competition.
I think they need to count for Ranking also because if you have Exhibition matches, if you have that, you need to have a possibility to have Ranking coming in to those different formats also because then the best players will play there.
And I think now there is so much competition.
I mean, look at me, I am coming from Sweden. Sweden, John knows, used to have a tremendous amount of tennis players. In the 70’s, in the 80’s, in the 90’s, in the 20’s. Today, how many professional tennis players do we have who make a living in Sweden?
We have the Ymer brothers, and then we have one girl, Rebecca Peterson.
John: That’s it.
Lars: We have 15 to 20 guys playing main draw in the Grand Slam in Sweden. Why has this happened?
Because the competition from other sports is tremendous and I see one thing - I see in Sweden that I don’t see here in America, is that Padel is now a sport.
Kids are playing. The former Tennis player Jonas Bjorkman is now the Team Captain of the Swedish National Padel Team.
There is so much competition from other sports.
Tennis needs to do something to be part of that.
Because, John and I, we can watch matches 4-5 hours but my son is not going to sit 4-5 hours and watch a tennis match.
John: Absolutely right.
Keith: You say it all the time, don’t you John?
John: Yes, I say that all the time.
But look, in so many ways I love tennis, I love what it stands for, I love these matches, the great history, the tradition of it and all that stuff;
But, you know at some stage you have to cater to the fans and the new generation coming up is not going to sit there and watch a 4 hour tennis match, they are not, they are just not going to do that.
I mean, yes, they will go wandering in and out in Grand Slams and so on and so on, but realistically the TV is what drives the Sport and people are not going to sit there and watch 4-5 hour matches, they are just not, and much as I like the history and I am a traditionalist in some ways, we have to move with the times.
I mean, in the States now, Pickleball is becoming a huge thing as a rival to tennis.
The [Tennis] Clubs now are creating Pickleballs and using the tennis courts to put on I think four Pickleball courts on one tennis court I believe or something like that or maybe more.
I haven’t really played it yet but I see the enthusiasm.
We have got to keep up with that and I have to say one thing, the Pandemic has, as tragic has it has been, but in the States, and I don’t know if it’s like that everywhere in Europe, probably not because of Lockdown Rules and all that, but here tennis was really the only sport that with Golf that was obviously you could kind of play even when the Pandemic was on and there has been a huge boom here.
The Tennis Pros here are doing 12 hours lessons a day, not just in Florida, I am talking about all over the place.
This is an opportunity from a sad position where we have a chance to keep this momentum going with Tennis and we have got to keep and grab people’s enthusiasm for the game and keep it there and if there are new things that come up with scoring and shortening and all this sort of stuff, we have got to do it, otherwise we will get lost in the shuffle.
There are too many sports around.
Keith: I agree!
END OF TRANSCRIPT
The alternative shorter scoring method to Fast4, Tie-Break Tens and Ultimate Tennis Showdown
Maintains “Game, Set and Match” and match results look identical!
Have You Tried It Yet?