Federer and Nadal herald a new dawn in tennis: FAST4
A new format has caught the bug among tennis players recently. Fast4 Tennis, billed as the game’s answer to cricket’s Twenty20 format, has certainly caught the attention of everyone from the fans to the players. Expectedly, there are a few differences in this format as compared with the normal course of play that is followed in major tournaments.
Fast4 tennis format
There are no seating breaks, and players get just 90 seconds between sets to refresh before getting back to the court again. There are no advantage points awarded nor is there the service let rule (the rule that needs the player to retake his service if he hits the net on his serve).
There is also a time limit on the duration of a set, with no set lasting over 15 minutes. But evidently, the most significant difference in the format is that there are just four games for each player as compared to the six in normal circumstances.
Created to attract youngsters
High-performance coach for Tennis Australia Craig Morris said that the main objective of Fast4 was to ensure that more people take up the sport in the future and also added that the traditional format of the game will still be of prime importance, despite the emergence of Fast4.
"Our long-term objective in creating a product like FAST4 tennis is to attract more people to the sport, and get more people to play tennis. There's no plan to replace traditional tennis, this is a great complementary product that is entertaining for fans and fun to play," Morris said.
Top stars enjoy the new format
The first match in the new format was played on Monday, between 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and local hero Lleyton Hewitt at Sydney’s Qantas Credit Union Arena. It turned out to be an enthralling game, with the Swiss pulling through in the end 4-3, 2-3, 3-4, 4-0, 4-3.
The 2002 Wimbledon champion expressed hope before the game that the new format would catch the attention of everyone across the globe.
"Playing Roger in this new format will be an exciting challenge for both of us and a lot of fun. It's a fantastic innovation for tennis, and one that I hope will take off," the Australian said.
Rafael Nadal too played a game in the new format and won his exhibition game against Mark Philloupossis. He played another match with fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco.
Hers’s a video of Nadal’s match against Verdasco.