Thankfully, there is more tennis every coming weekend. Though it is not ATP, WTA, or Grand Slam tennis yet, better players are participating now. Tennis matches are becoming better and more enjoyable. Moreover, organizers are pretty fast in experimenting with new formats. Last weekend we saw two tournaments played with different sets of rules. The first one played in Belgrade and organized by Djokovic was using the Fast4 system of scoring. The second one played at Mouratoglou Academy in France, invented a brand new Ultimate Tennis Showdown scoring. Which one do I like more? And are we seeing a revolution in tennis scoring?
We promised we would experiment with a new format…
— UTS | Ultimate Tennis Showdown (@UTShowdown) June 11, 2020
At first, we will shortly describe both used systems of scoring.
Fast4 scoring system is trying to make tennis matches shorter. There is no advantage in games and who picks four points wins the game. Each set is played till 4 won games (If the score is 3:3 than tie-break is coming). Belgrade tournament was played as best of three sets.
Patrick Mouratoglou and his team invented the Ultimate Tennis Showdown scoring system. It is a new system trying to establish a strict time for every match. The inspiration was taken from popular sports like football, soccer, or basketball. UTS matches are played in four quarters of ten minutes. Who has more points at the end of the quarter is the winner of the quarter. The player who will win three quarters is the winner of the match. Moreover, there is a system of wild cards that can triple the score or take the service from the opponent.
Because the #UTShowdown format wasn’t already mind-twisting enough… Introducing the UTS cards ?
All cards are valid for 2 points/1 turn of serve.
??????? ????? ?? – If you make a winner, it will be worth triple the points. pic.twitter.com/IexCbEWiTD
— UTS | Ultimate Tennis Showdown (@UTShowdown) June 14, 2020
Advantages & Disadvantages
UTS was delayed for one day due to rain. That seemed like God interference to give us more time to memorize and understand all new rules. In the end, it did not help me much.
Watching the UTS was a real pain for me. I was not able to focus on the game itself. The time countdown was too distracting to me, and the wild card use was confusing for me.
The limited-time of matches is the right thing about both scoring systems. In UTS, the game is no longer than 40 – 45 minutes. The match duration in Fast4 is usually up to one hour or one hour and fifteen minutes, depending on if two or three sets are played.
I understand that for broadcasters and organizers, it is much better to know that the match will last one-hour maximum. It makes planning much more manageable. However, if you remember the Australian Open final, who complains if the good tennis lasts for 4 hours?
Fast4 tennis is much stricter for good players. In classic tennis played on six won games, one lost service can be easily overturned later. If you lose your service in Fast4, you are in big trouble. That is one of the reasons we did not see Djokovic – Thiem final in Belgrade.
Fast4 > UTS
— Tennis Pro Guru (@tennisproguru) June 14, 2020
And the winner is
Maybe I am too conservative, but I prefer the classic scoring system. I can get used to the best of three sets on Grand Slams tournaments instead of best of five to make games shorter. But that is all I can accept.
Fast4 is too fast for me, and I hate that one mistake on services can cost you a set. It does not give a much chance to impressive turnarounds during one set.
UTS is a good try to refresh the dull, no tournament break, but I will hardly get used to it. There are too many rules and too much confusion for me.
Let’s get back to the classic tennis, classic tournaments, and traditional rivalry.