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In June 2004, the ATP announced a trial of doubles enhancements would occur at six tournaments following the US Open. A philosophy behind these short-term chances was that an 80-minute time limit would encourage more singles players to participate in doubles.

 

Changes made in the initial trial included:

-         No ad scoring (first to four points)

-         A tiebreak at 4-4 instead of six 6-6

-         In the event of split sets, a super tiebreak played

 

With many people expressing outrage at the chances (most notably, the players), the initial change of a tiebreak at 4-4 became tiebreak at 5-5.

 

The ATP’s long-term plans are that by 2008, players will have to qualify for singles events to be eligible for doubles, apart from four wildcard entrants. The doubles entry ranking would be based 50 percent on singles and 50 percent on doubles events.

 

Grand Slams and the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup will not be affected by the chances (as they are governed by the ITF, not the ATP) but with players gaining many of the rankings points that allow them to compete at major events at ATP tournaments, the future for players specialising in doubles looks grim.

This site created on
Tuesday, 1st June 2004