2 May 2024

Faster men's doubles format trialled at Madrid Open

9:42 am on 2 May 2024
Jamie Murray (L) of Great Britian and Michael Venus of New Zealand during the 2023 ASB Classic tournament.

Jamie Murray (L) of Great Britian and Michael Venus of New Zealand during the 2023 ASB Classic tournament. Photo: Photosport

A faster men's doubles format, with greater focus on matches between singles players and established doubles teams, is being trialled at the Madrid Open.

Teams are allowed just 15 - rather than the usual 25 - seconds between points after rallies up to three shots, and only 60 seconds to sit down at the change of ends. Five rounds will be played in five days.

New Zealand player Michael Venus and his British partner Jamie Murray beat Denis Shapovalov and Alexander Bublik in the first round.

Murray likes the shortened changeovers and the tournament being spread over such a short period, but is not a fan of the reduced time between some points, the BBC reported.

"I feel like it's very rushed," the seven-time Grand Slam champion said after the match.

"Fifteen seconds for doubles is very short. In singles you are playing a lot on instinct, but in doubles there's a lot more strategy to start the points, and to lose that communication with your partner I don't think is a good thing for the sport."

Murray would also like to see more social media promotion of doubles, to attract new fans to the game.

"The social media side of things is just an absolute zero," he said.

"I wrote to ATP Media last year after Miami and I basically counted all the posts that they had done across Indian Wells and Miami, and it was like 1% of their total posts [were about doubles]."

"For me, it's a shootout, which is kind of exciting. Once we get going - bang, this is on," said Matt Ebden, the current doubles world number one and president of the ATP Player Council.

"People like seeing the volleys, the return winners, the angles and all the reactions, but there is a bit too much dead time.

"We just looked at how we can keep the game flowing to make it a better product for the fans ultimately."

Those supporters will be able to move freely around the stadium during points.

The trial will continue at future tournaments, although not necessarily always in the second week in the space of just five days.

Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas were among seven top-20 singles players to enter the event.


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