Tuesday, 10 June 2014


I once designed a tennis tournament at my local club that rewarded each point won, it was well received , this is why I did it;
I have often felt that the scoring system in tennis rewarded the 'stayers' and not the playmakers, the one's who had the guts to go for their shots as opposed to the players that sat back. The tournament idea that we put into play quite some time ago was a format that gave you a point for each game won in an abbreviated doubles set plus the same in singles.
The singles was simply a super- tie breaker first to ten points and the doubles was first to 7 games , short deuce. If a team won the doubles 7-6 they received the 7 points for the set with a slight bonus, 2 points for winning the set. Pretty simple, a 6-4 set win was worth 8 points or a tie break set win was worth 9, simply add 2 if you won it. Easy to follow?
In the singles if you won say 10-7 you not  only received 10 points but you added on 2 bonus points for winning, hence 12 points for a singles win. What this did was separate a close match of 10-9 in singles or 7-6 in doubles, it rewarded a win. So what if you lost a match?
Pretty simple again, you received the points that you won . If you lost a set 6-7 or a singles 9-10 you still received those points and that I believe is the problem with tennis , especially in juniors. A kid can get to deuce every game and still lose 0 and 0, a flawed system that can shatter a kid's confidence who was competitive but just couldn't quite finish the games.
I believe the tournaments we played under this system had merit, it kept players in it all day, in fact we had teams that lost 3 rubbers who still made the final such was the nature of the points system, it rewarded shot making. So why the strange scoring system of tennis today?
In the early days of tennis in France sets were played to 4 games where the scoring seems to have something to do with astronomy. The sextant is 60 degrees or one sixth of a circle. Because 60 degrees made a full circle when multiplied by 6 it is believed that matches were 6 sets of 4 games each. Each point won was worth 15 degrees, or points so the game concluded when one player completed the full circle of 360 degrees, pretty simple stuff hey?
45 however was abbreviated to 40 which when you think about it is rather funny. Irish comedian Jimeoin was asked by a  bloke " can I call you Jimmy for short"? Jimeoin's answer was "Sure you can but you aint going to save a lot of time".
So 45 was shortened as perhaps is the way we now say 5 instead of 15, ie 5-30. 'Love believe it or not was taken from a French meaning of 'egg', work that one out and 'deuce' comes from 'deux' or 'two' points required to win a game. So there you go , that's where tennis scoring originated from. Before you go looking for the site to which information I received this from here it is ; It's from The Post Game , an American sports site , fantastic read and a great sports information site. (Just in case someone else wants to sue me)
Personally I like the scoring system that I made up in my head one night when thinking of a way to keep kids in matches and tournaments for as long as possible. The round robin format with that system seemed to work yet it's probably not going to happen nationally , but it's an idea.
Tennis I find currently to be rather 'ho hum' with the way tournaments are run and the way it is taught, not many think outside the square through fear of failure. Despite the amount of people I seem to upset with things I come up with at least my way of thinking is 'unique' at times. You won't have much success in playing or coaching unless your thinking is 'outside the square'.......

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