Modern day Tennis has hardly changed in the last few decades except for the adoption of tie-break in the 1970s, being the only major difference. With negligible innovation in the conduct of sport, the matches are getting stretched with slow pace of play resulting as a threat to its popularity among the fans. The average sports fans, nowadays, are inclining more towards innovative and compactly packaged sports events. Thus, giving birth to new rule changes, innovative formats which shortens the game and makes it more high-tempo, TV-friendly and entertaining, attracting new fans from the millennial breed to the sport.
Realizing the inculcation of the sense of innovation in play amongst sports professionals, Tennis is also set to witness the same format with new euphoria. Come November, a new format exhibition tournament will be introduced by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Coined as the GenNext ATP Finals, the USD 1.275m event will be played among eight best tennis professionals aged 21 and under in Milan from 7-11 November.
With the recent development in Golf with GolfSixes, a six-hole match-play event among 16 Nations, NextGen ATP Finals is the latest kid on the block. The ATP has echoed similar sentiments and vision of various top sports bodies across the world and trying out a new event with a series of changes in rules and innovating the format to suit to new and younger audiences.
Here are the proposed changes from a traditional ATP Tour event:
• Unique Scoring Format – Best of five sets, first to four games with a tie-break at three games all
• Fast Paced – No lets, No advantage
• Shot Clock – 25 seconds shot clock between points, medical time-outs and set breaks. GolfSixes introduced this in Golf as well.
• Medical Time-out – Limited to one for each player per match
• Player Coaching – the Coaches will be allowed to speak to their wards at certain points (yet to be determined).
However, they will not be allowed on-court.
In order to make the in-stadia atmosphere more relaxed and spectator-friendly, a ‘free movement’ move will also be tried in the said event (except behind the baselines). Away from the court, fans and media attending the tournament will enjoy a fully immersive on-site experience, with a strong emphasis placed on unparalleled fan engagement through digital media, combined with unique player access across the tournament.