To the average person, a change to the format of a tennis match may not seem like anything special. The game itself doesn’t change, but there are consequences nonetheless.
In recent times, there was push from all levels of the sport to shorten the match length in the doubles games. This was due to the decline in participation, where singles players were opting to compete in the singles events, as it was becoming too physically demanding to compete in both events. So, the rules were changed and a shorter format was introduced. They were successful in their quest, however in my opinion the integrity of the doubles game has been compromised.
Tennis is a game of 2’s, where you must ‘win by 2’ whether it is in a game, set or tie-break. That is the beauty of the game, where you must be able to win with a clear margin and not one lucky break.
Overnight, a new tennis format was launched in Sydney. Our very own Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer were the feature players in this exhibition match. I feel as though this format is a great concept for young players and senior players, as there is much less strain on the body. The ‘play let’ rule is entertaining to watch and can improve your reaction skills as well. It is a terrific format for social tennis and I see it being popular at the club level. However, I don’t see this format beneficial to a competitive tennis player, because they will have to learn to compete using the ‘official rules’ of the game. I am not a big fan of the ‘no ad’ scoring system because the continuity of the ‘win by 2’ philosophy in tennis is being compromised.
Tennis is a sport that continues to evolve over time, and as long as you build a good foundation to your game, you will have no trouble adapting to such rule changes. For more information on the rules of the FAST4 format, click on the link here: http://www.tennis.com.au/news/2015/01/12/federer-and-hewitt-launch-fast4-tennis-in-historic-sydney-harbour-match