The first major public match of Fast4 was on January 12, 2015, when Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt played in an exhibition match at Qantas Credit Union Arena in Sydney, Federer winning 4-3(5-3) 2-4, 3-4(3-5) 4-0, 4-2. The match was broadcast live nationally in Australia on Nine Network as well as some international networks.
Rafael Nadal also participated in the Fast4 promotion with an exhibition match on January 13, 2015 at Melbourne Park, site of the Australian Open. The match was played inside Hisense Arena. Fernando Verdasco was one of the participants in the exhibition. .
The shortened format offers a "fast" alternative to tennis, with four points, four games and four rules: there are no advantage scores, lets are played, tie-breakers apply at three games all and the first to four games wins the set.
Similar to 12 point tiebreaker but with a few format changes especially on service order. First player to 5 points. Each player serves twice starting in deuce court switching sides after 4 points. At 4-all, a coin toss by the umpire (or racquet spin if none is present) determines who will serve the ninth point with the receiving player choosing sides on the final point.
The full explanation of the Fast4 format and rules is available at Tennis Australia.
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The wide uptake of the Fast4 format in competitive tennis in the UK has led to some criticism of some aspects of the format.
In particular, the mandatory playing of all lets (serves which hit the net and still land in the service box) can lead to unplayable serves, sometimes at key points in a match. This approach to lets has also led to confusion when switching between different types of tournament.
Whilst the format will normally result in a balanced result between highly differing standards of player, the use of short sets, sudden death deuce, played lets, and short tie break formats can also lead to a strong element of chance between closely matched players. There is often limited opportunity to recover from a poor start, or a chance event such as a 'Fast4 Ace' (Net cord).
There is also a concern that on-court time during tournaments can be reduced due to the shorter format, reducing participation time and effectively increasing the court time cost of tournaments, as some providers are keeping tournament prices the same for the faster format.
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