Has tennis found its version of cricket’s Twenty20 format with Thirty30 tennis?

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There is an appetite within tennis for a shortened format of the traditional game and a new format christened Thirty30 has been devised with this in mind.

Thirty30 tennis is a fun and competitive version of the sport that sees a match end inside an hour with the abbreviated scoring ensuring a trip to the tennis court can be squeezed into a hectic schedule.

Thirty30 can be described as the tennis equivalent of cricket’s Twenty20 (T20) format and the Rules are very simple – everything is exactly the same as traditional scoring except:

(1) EVERY game played starts at ’30-30′. (‘Thirty30’ – the clue is in the name!)

(2) At 6 games all in a set, a ‘Short Set’ ‘9-point tie-break’ is played, i.e. first to 5 points, sudden death at 4-4.

(3) Players serve alternative games, but only change ends after ‘two & four’ games are played, instead of after ‘one & two’ games as per traditional tennis, i.e. change ends after 2, 6 and 10 games and at the end of each set.

With a full set taking no longer than 20 minutes and best-of-3-set matches completed in 60 minutes, which is a perfect time slot for a one-hour court hire.
Tennis formats that start at 30-30 have been trialled before, but the format is now tidied up and formalised as a competitive match format, with the format being branded ‘Thirty30’ tennis in a similar way to the enduringly popular ‘Twenty20’ cricket.
The Thirty30 format is being trialled all over the world and feedback is very encouraging, resulting in over 200 testimonials on the Thirty30 website.

Here are some views from tennis professionals who are embracing Thirty30:

Jeff Tarango, former professional player and Director of Tennis at The Jack Kramer Club, Greater Los Angeles Area: “So great. That is how I played almost all my sets as a kid!! I have done many interviews about that … cool! I played that when I was 13 … love it! I love the Thirty30 format for practice and 10 and Under tournaments. There are many applications. Juniors have a hard time concentrating for 2 and a half hours and lose tough-big matches as a consequence, so Thirty30 needs to be ‘a part of a balanced diet’.”

Jim Baugh, President, Tennis Industry Association (2004-06), Florida: “Every traditional sport needs to change and look for new ways to make the game more appealing to today’s players or potential players. Thirty30 looks like a system which will appeal to players and offers shorter and more intense matches. Alternative forms of tennis are needed for sure and Mark’s system seems to be a winner.”

Rod Heckelman, General Manager & Tennis Director at Mt. Tam Racquet Club, San Rafael, California: “This is the future of tennis at many facilities for a number of reasons…first, it capitalizes on court usage, it gets more people interacting, it blends a very needed social atmosphere with still a competitive edge, and lastly, it works well for the younger folks who are not comfortable with time-consuming events or formats. Look for this style of play to become more accepted and popular over the coming years.”

Website: www.thirty30tennis.com

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