Entering its 138th season in Victoria, the 2021 Pennant season will look a little different. Tennis Victoria has released changes to the upcoming season that commences on April 24th and 25th.
The trial regulations will be in place for the 2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The format allows for flexibility and more tennis being played each week, getting tennis players back on court, enjoying the game they love.
Tennis Victoria’s Tennis Pathways Coordinator ‑ Competitions, Tyler Krumholz has told the First Serve, with the pandemic still around they do not want to disadvantage players.
“With Tennis Victoria Pennant’s traditional “singles one week, doubles the next” format, a snap or prolonged lockdown had the potential to disrupt players that preferred either singles or doubles” said Krumholz.
The competition will consist of both singles and doubles rubbers in the match tie. Two doubles will be played first, followed by the singles.
Another innovative move is the change to allow up to six players to play per week. This will be beneficial for teams to play to their strengths in getting stronger doubles or singles player to play in the rubber that suits them.
“Allowing up to six players to play in a team match still gives those players the opportunity to continue to focus on their favourite format”.
“Also, having the shorter doubles rubbers first allows two players the chance to play doubles and then spend the rest of their day in a way of their choosing, rather than waiting until the end of the four singles rubbers to play” said Krumholz.
Match tiebreakers will be a feature of both match formats. The third set of singles will now be a match-tie breaker. While, the doubles will be a set first to 8 with a match tiebreaker at 8-8.
Tennis Victoria have stated on the rule change document that these new regulations are trial for the season.
Tennis Victoria have also highlighted the importance of equality of the women’s pennant competition ensuring a correct amount of time to finish all rubbers.
There are some permanent changes to regulation that will stay in place. The women’s ties that commence at 9am will now conclude at 1:30pm if not earlier. The conclusion of the afternoon completion will now finish earlier at 6pm.
“ We have been making progress to improve our competition, as we have provided equality in women’s match durations, opened a new Saturday afternoon women’s timeslot, and used technology to minimise driving distances” said Krumholz.
The other permanent change that will occur is player in grade one and two will need to play a certain number of matches to qualify for finals rather than 50%.
Krumholz has suggested if the format is a success, there could be potential for the regulations to stay in place next year.
“That will depend on what we hear from our players and clubs. We will be looking to get as much feedback as possible from our participants at the end of the season – it will be very important for them to make their voices heard.
“Tennis Victoria will do what we can to ensure it will be around for many, many years more” said Krumholz.
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