What is Thirty30 Tennis? An Exhaustive Guide.

How to get better at tennis?

Tennis is the most wonderful game but have you ever heard about Thirty30 Tennis? Get all the information around the format of Thirty30 Tennis in our information-packed article below.

To give you a quick lowdown, Thirty30 tennis is a format of this game in which you can use all the same tennis skills that you already have, but the game is shorter which means you need less of a time investment.

For those who follow the sport cricket, Thirty30 is probably a take on T20 or Twenty20 cricket, which is a shorter format of the game that combines all the skills of actual cricket and packages them into a format that finishes in half the time of other limited overs format.

Whereas a usual tennis match is the best of three or five sets, and Thirty30 tennis is also the best of three or five sets too, the games start at thirty all. It is a relatively fast paced game, fantastic and a lot quicker, which is what a lot of people are looking for.

Tennis is always going to be with us, and it’s the real game of tennis that most people want to watch. Think of Wimbledon, the French Open and all the major tennis tournaments.

They would not be the major tournaments they are without the fierce competition and lengthy match that there are. But not everyone has time to play the game, and this is why there are options.

Alternatives to a Regular Game of Tennis

There are quite a few options when it comes to alternatives to a normal game of tennis.

One is Fast4, which is where each set goes up to four games only and there are no advantages. You can read more about the Fast4 format here.

Then there’s Tie Break Tens, pretty self explanatory, with one set of ten points, ending in a tie-break. Ultimate Tennis Showdown is another format which has been in the news lately because of its association with world-famous coach Patrick Mouratoglou. Read more about this format here.

And then you have the 8 Game Pro Set, with 8 games being what a winner needs.

Gaining in popularity now is the Thirty30 Tennis, which has really taken off with all age players.

Why are Alternative, Shorter Formats of Tennis Necessary?

We would have to do a separate, more in-depth article explaining this but at the core of this is the fact tennis, like other sports in the world, needs to evolve as well.

While nobody is challenging the primacy of Grand Slam tennis and ATP and WTA 1000 competitions, not yet anyway, there is a definite need to get younger, fresher audience to the game and the one way of attracting these new fans is to offer them a shorter format.

Like has been the case with cricket and T20s. Or even how table tennis has evolved to include Table Tennis X. Or like how badminton now has AirBadminton and Triples.

Let’s Talk about Thirty30 Tennis

Arbroath-based Mark Milne, is a huge fan of all racket sports but tennis got a bit of a special attention after watching the Wimbledon Men’s singles final of 1972 between Stan Smith and Elie Nastase on a small black & white television on a family holiday in Scarborough.

Milne is also the creator of Thirty30 tennis.

History & Origins of Thirty30 Tennis

Speaking to Milne, the inventor of Thirty30 tennis, we understand the story of how this format of the game came to being is an interesting one.

Milne explained that growing up tennis was very much a summer sport played between April to September before racket players moved indoors to take to badminton or squash. Indoor tennis courts weren’t a norm either and Milne himself played squash during the winter months.

The inventor added:

“In early winter 2016 I decided to call it a day with my long-term squash playing partner – we had played each other twice a week for almost 15 years for fun and exercise. I was looking for something else to do during the following winter months.”

“I came across Touchtennis, the new updated faster version of Short Tennis, which is now played with 21″ strung rackets, a faster more dense sponge ball and is typically played indoors on a badminton court in a 1 hour court booking slot.”

“I got together with a hitting partner and we started playing twice a week at the local Sports Centres in Arbroath.”

“It was great fun and great exercise. We started off using the ‘old’ Short Tennis scoring method where matches are best-of-3 sets, players serve two points at a time alternately using point per rally scoring and sets are played to 11 points, lead by 2 points.”

What Milne and his mates decided was to use traditional tennis rules while playing Touchtennis but that extended their game time to beyond one hour, which was the maximum allowed booking time.

With no winner usually decided within an hour, it left a sour taste and Milne decided to remedy that by using a method his coach had used as a kid to help him play the “big points” better – start the games at 30-30.

He said:

“We started playing best-of-3 sets matches using the 30-all game starts.”

“With a bit of experimenting with the ‘change of ends’ rule (it is ‘doubled up in Thirty30 tennis – some games are over in only 2 points and the conventional ‘change of ends’ rule resulted in changing ends too quickly) and the use of the 9 point Short Set tie-break at 6 games all in a set, we had a format where a best-of-3 sets ‘tennis’ match was invariably completed in the timeframe of 1 hour.”

“A set was taking on average no longer than 20 minutes to complete – the game score ticked over much more quickly and every second point played was a game point! Much more exciting!”

“Then, in what I call a “light-bulb” moment towards the end of 2016 I woke up in the middle of the night and decided that this shorter faster-paced format would be called “Thirty30″ tennis.”

The game got its name because each game starts at thirty all, or thirty-thirty. As Milne explains:

“When “30-all” is written as “30-30” it is read as “thirty-thirty” and the clue would be in the name – it says what it does on the tin – “Thirty30” tennis – every game starts at “thirty-thirty” (“30-all”).”

You still get to deuce and go through the advantages of a service, but the games are a lot quicker than in the normal game of tennis. Keeping in the deuce and advantages still keeps each game exciting.

The scoring process, other than starting at thirty-thirty, is exactly the same. Tennis courts are the same, tennis gear is the same, the same style and strategies are used too.

Some players might use new strategies as each game is quicker, but in general, everything remains the same. Thirty30 tennis is played by leisure or recreational players and it’s found a good place in tennis clubs and at Tennis Thirty30 championships.

When we talk about strategy, every single point in a Thirty30 game counts.

There are no points that can be thrown away. Not that any points can be thrown away in a regular tennis game, but if you serve a double fault in a regular game, early on in the game, you still have time to recover.

In Thirty30 tennis, there is not a lot of time to recover from a mistake. So you have to do your best to be spot on, all the time.

In short, Thirty30 Tennis is

  • Quick
  • Exciting
  • Fast-Paced
  • Sociable sometimes
  • Competitive sometimes
  • Always fun!

The games are faster, more intense, more dynamic and super exciting. The sets are generally quick, perhaps twenty minutes for a set. This means you can play a three set match in an hour. You don’t need the same time investment that you need for tennis.

You can watch a video here to get a good idea of the game.

And of course, if you understand how to play tennis, you understand how to play Thirty30. There are no changes to the game, other than the scoring.

Let’s talk about who enjoys playing Tennis Thirty30

If you look at the testimonials on the Thirty30 official website, you will see some really big names and the sense one gets is that people across the board in age and gender have taken to it.

Tennis Thirty30 is enjoyed by anyone who wants fast or quick.

This could be teens or students who don’t have time for a full game of tennis because of their studies, or older people who don’t quite have the stamina. There are also tennis professionals who used to play tennis but now need fast and quick to accommodate their time and their bodies!

We especially like the testimonials on the official site from the many tennis coaches, who play Tennis Thirty30 with their pupils, not as an alternative to the ordinary game of tennis, but as a way to get the kids on their feet quickly, thinking quickly, playing quickly and playing strategically.

And we love the tennis players who engage in both games. They play tennis when they have the time, but play Tennis Thirty30 when they are pressed for time.

Especially impressive, and you can see this by the testimonials, are the people around the world, playing Tennis Thirty30. There are testimonials from a lot of players in the USA and Canada, but also from India, Japan, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and South Africa!

What are the Tennis Thirty30 Rules?

You need:

  • A tennis court.
  • A tennis net.
  • Two or four players for singles or doubles.
  • Each player needs a tennis racket.
  • Tennis balls, minimum three is usually best.

Tennis Thirty30 Scoring:

This is the same as a game of tennis, except you start at thirty all.

Games go:

  • Thirty all.
  • Thirty Forty
  • Game or deuce, which is Forty All.
  • If the game goes to deuce, it then goes to advantage /win or advantage / back to deuce, until there is a winner.
  • The first two sets go to tie break.
  • The third set does not go to tie break, but to the first to win by a lead of two games.

Tennis Thirty30 Service Rules

  • Players spin a coin at the start of a match to see who starts serving.
  • Whoever does not start serving can choose the side.
  • Players alternate serves between games.
  • Players then alternate who serves at the start of each set.

Change of Sides or Ends

Players change sides after two, six and then ten games. This means that the sides are changed after the first two games, then again after the next four games that are played.

The Match Format

Most matches are the best of three sets, bearing in mind that each set only takes about twenty minutes. It can be longer if you have really strong and well matched players, but it can also be shorter! Twenty minutes is a good average.

  • If only one set is played, this is called a T30 100 series match.
  • If three sets are played, this is a T30 300
  • And there are matches that are the best of five – T30 500 series test.

Do you see any similarity between this and the T20s in cricket?

Cricket started T20s as people wanted hard, fast cricket. The T20s in cricket are now world championships that bring in huge money and millions of followers.

Thirty30s in tennis are heading the same way. There is a huge fan base and a huge amount of followers and players. Why? Because the game is hard, fast and fantastic. It’s athletic, strong and strategic. It’s just like tennis, but takes less time. Players need to be on top of their game at all times!

Future of Thirty30 Tennis

We are still in very nascent stages of Thirty30 tennis and it still has some way to go before it catches on. Then again, there is no doubting tennis needs to evolve and younger audiences need to be captured as the sport faces stiff competition for eyeballs from not just other sports but also many other distractions.

Thirty30 inventor Milne wants as many tennis fans to try playing this format as possible. What would also help is if professional players, even those playing the Challengers or lower could use this in practice matches or have the ATP Champions Tour Players trial it in exhibition tournaments.

Milne reckons the Thirty30 format provides more to the audience than the single Tie-Break Set format that’s used on the Champions Tour.

He said:

“I am currently building a case to re-apply to the ITF with a goal of getting the Thirty30 scoring method accepted for official trialling at a few smaller events as per the ‘Foreword’ in their Rules of Tennis Handbook.”

“The ultimate goal for Thirty30 is, following the official trialling, to get the scoring method officially sanctioned by the ITF as an alternative shorter faster paced scoring format (in a similar way to the rules of Tennis Australia’s Fast4 have been included in Appendix V).”

The ITF had deemed in 2017 there were already too many shorter formats of tennis and wouldn’t be able to consider Thirty30 as another one. It remains to be seen what the future holds from the perspective of its inclusion as an official tennis format by ITF.

You can find more details about the Thirty30 format on their official website here.

Stan Boone

I am the editor of Racket Sports World. I love my tennis, pickleball and most of the other racket sports played around the world and started this blog as my way to help other racquet sports fans even as I learn, explore and improve by connecting with them. Tweet at https://twitter.com/StanBooneTennis.

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