Tennis Scoring and How One Tennis Match Changed It After 97 Years
One tennis match changed scoring forever, after 97 years.
The beauty that is tennis is embedded in how the sport was created to always give an advantage to the player who plays the points best.
Tennis never was about being the better player, the harder hitter, or even the best athlete, it always came down to the points in the match, who wins them, who wins the more important points, and who has the edge.
The beauty of how tennis was designed is forgotten these days due to the total attack on the rules of tennis and how the matches are governed by tennis organizations.
Tennis, created and birthed in 1873, was designed to win by 2, whether that's in games or sets.
The deuce platform is one of the most beautiful things about tennis, you have to win 2 points in a row at deuce to win the game.
How creative and original!
From 1874-1969, the sets were required to win by 2, so matches would be 12-10,6-4 in some cases, in 1970 the 6-6 tiebreaker was implemented into pro tennis.
This was how the game was played and is the best version of tennis’ beautiful and original scoring system: 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 5 sets, with tiebreaks played at 6-6 in every set EXCEPT the final deciding set, in which you must win by 2.
This was how tennis evolved into one of the best sports in the world, with entertaining matches such as the 16-14 Federer vs Roddick Wimbledon Final thriller.
The scoring system not only is creative, but it respects the game, players, and the work they put into preparing for the tournament matches.
Even in Junior Tennis, for years the 2 out of 3 set format was played. Flashback to 2022, we now see more assaults on scoring than ever before. 10-point tiebreakers, NO-AD, sets to 4, 8-game pro sets, and this list goes on and on.
Tennis was created as a game to challenge one another and push each other to the brink, not get through matches as fast as possible.
Sam Gurevich, USA TENNIS TOUR 2022 Kentucky Open Champion,
USTA #1 Junior Player in B14/16
Everything in pro tennis was going to plan, with matches like, in 2004, we saw a French Open Classic between Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clément ending 16-14 in the 5th set, and the 1996 thriller between Steffi Graf and A.Sanchez Vicario ending 10-8 in the 3rd. These classic matches would come about with no issue until 2010 Wimbledon.
This tournament saw the longest match to date, ending in an 11-hour 5-minute power struggle showcasing tennis' most perfect design, the scoring.
This sent the tennis executives into a frenzy over the next few years, with more grand slam matches going the distance in 2011 to 2018 such as John ISNER vs Paul H MATHIEU going 18-16 in the 5th at the French Open in 2012 & John ISNER vs Kevin ANDERSON at Wimbledon in 2018. Then suddenly, in a stark announcement, Wimbledon S19 or Wimbledon 2019 put into place the 12-12 tiebreak for the deciding 5th set.
This saw it used the first year it was in place with 2 of the GOATs: RF vs NOLE or Roger Federer, vs Novak Djokovic. In my opinion, this scoring system stole Wimbledon from Roger, forcing a tiebreak when Roger is used to continuing, as is Novak.
This scoring system shortened the match to what could have seen 1-2 hours more of exquisite play. Fast forward to 2022, and after years of fluctuations in grand slam scoring from tournament to tournament, the big-time organizers agree, a 6-6 tiebreak in every set, except the final will be a 10-point tiebreak. Now professionals are playing 10-point tiebreaks, who would have ever known?
The 2022 US OPEN was the first year one of the grand slams open used this scoring, and the entire tournament on the Women's Singles tournament and Men's Singles tournament combined only saw this scoring come into play (10) times, 5 in each men's and women's. What an opportunity lost for those matches to go 11-9, 14-12, to create lasting memories for players and their tournaments themselves. What a price we are paying for this decision based on one match, that changed everything.
These changes and tweaks of scoring with no consulted interest from players fueled the birth of the USA TENNIS TOUR and its traditional scoring system. The USA TENNIS TOUR is a professional amateur tennis circuit open to all players but geared toward high-performance, advanced, semipro, and professional tennis players.
The circuit is a prize money circuit designed to give players more of an opportunity to monetize their tennis game while competing in tournaments nationwide and worldwide. The USA TENNIS TOUR implements traditional scoring in its events, including full 2 out of 3 sets for singles and in semifinals and finals, and in certain events, the 3rd set tiebreak is played at 7-7, 8-8, or not at all, implementing the tennis win by 2 system.
The USATT believes that traditional scoring and how tennis was designed and evolved along the way is a beautiful thing that must be carried on and honored.
Players appreciate these scoring systems, we consulted with hundreds of players before launching the tour about what is preferred when it comes to scoring in the Research Development process of creating USATT.
The traditional scoring respects players' work they put into getting ready for events, what it takes to travel and prepare for events, and the emotional toll of playing a tennis match, especially with scoring such as NO AD or short scoring. Traditional scoring puts the power to the player to be able to play tennis without any obstacles to get around.
Left, Abigail Villena - USA TENNIS TOUR SOCAL OPEN 2021 Runner Up.
Right, Zara Lennon SOCAL OPEN 2021 Champion, former #299 GIRLS ITF SINGLES
This traditional scoring also prepares our players for the bigger stage. Mental toughness, endurance, and match toughness will all be benefits from playing traditional scoring vs. alternate scoring when it comes to playing our Pro-Am Open Prize Money Events.
Players work too hard to be treated like a number and try to get matches over with as soon as possible. The USATT aims to get this attitude out of tennis and will aim to make every player have a level playing field when it comes to matches, where every match truly starts at LOVE ALL.
The USATT has already gotten praise from our players throughout the BETA test on the USA TENNIS TOUR, from players, parents, and spectators! Some of our best matches have been the legendary final between Chase Parker and Marvin Colley, over 4 hours long, 3-6, 7-6, 8-6, and Ian Rasheed defeating Sam Edwards 7-6,6-7,8-6 in an over 3-hour 30-minute match.
Anastasiya Antal, USA TENNIS TOUR 2021
ITF80 Mercer Tennis Classic WC Tournament Champion
There are many reasons that traditional scoring is better for your player and yourself. Longer matches, as well as the traditional tennis scoring, teaches discipline, never give up attitudes, and building character by putting the player on the court, and leaving it all up to them. No 10-point tiebreak, no-ad scoring, or any other obstacles will be to blame, you have the power. Respecting players and what they put into the sport is why we do what we do with our traditional scoring. Players spend years, thousands of hours, dollars, and hard work to be at these tournaments, fighting for these titles, it’s the least we can do. The USATT is providing better playing opportunities and earning opportunities with our prize money events. Players deserve credit and honor, as well as respect! Learn more about the USA TENNIS TOUR at 21AceTennis.com!