Today saw the start of a new format of tennis tournament. In a way if feels a little like the changes cricket made for its Twenty20 format. That has of course proved very popular and the changes they have introduced compared to a normal tennis match make it very watchable.
This is a team event and obviously the teams have “flashy” names. The four that were in action today were the Micromax Indian Aces, the Singapore Slammers, the Manila Mavericks and the UAE Royals.
Each tie is decided over a total of matches with each match being just 1 set.
So we have:
The home captain decides the order that the sets are played.
There’s a basketball style shot clock. If the serving player hasn’t served before the 20 seconds runs down they lose a point.
There is an oddly named Happiness Power Point which can be called once per team in each set. That then means the next point played is worth TWO points.
Time Outs and substitutions add to the experience. If a set gets to 5-5 they play a 5 minute Shootout which replaced the standard tie break. They play for 5 mnutes with the winner being whoever is in the lead when the time runs out regardless of the score.
There is also a Super Shootout that is the same as a Shootout except is is used if the total games are level after 5 sets. The Super Shootout is played over 7 minutes rather than over 5 minutes.
The winner of the whole match is decided by the total number of games rather than the number of sets.
One new idea that perhaps is there for the sake of change rather than anything else. They have given the 5th set more importance.
The final set of the match is played until the leading team in the total games won takes the final set. If the trailing team in overall games won takes the 5th set and the trailing team is still behind in overall games won, then the match continues until either the trailing team has won enough games to equal the overall score and forces the play of the Super Shoot-out, or the leading team wins one 1 more game to win the match.
Confused? It was funny to hear the commentators blagging it while one of them read the rules. Even the players weren’t sure.
Liquidity wasn’t great but Betfair have themselves to blame for that as individual set markets were only put up seconds before the set started. It also seems they don’t have a market for the 5th set.
I’m not sure I would commit much cash to the markets anyway. It is an exhibition event and while the standard of the tennis wasn’t bad at all the players don’t seem too bothered about losing.
it might catch on but a few tweaks are needed.