How To Make Back Draws More Popular?

trophyWhy do players enter tennis tournaments? For the vast majority of us, it is to play quality matches vs. quality players, improve our games, and … have fun. That is why having a solid back draw (consolation round) is critical to many players. But how to make this activity more popular?

Tournament player and blog reader Winder Bill (yes, for those of you who do not know him, that is his real name) writes:

“Some (but not many) of the top players routinely do not participate in back draws. Tom Smith and Hugh Thompson are the best examples of those who DO continue to play after an early (and unexpected) loss in the main draw (Editor’s note: After an early exit to Bob Wilkie, Hugh DID sign up for the back draw in Sterling Oaks).

“There is some legitimate concern that if a player is still in the main draw doubles hunt, he may not want to jeopardize his partner’s chances by using up his physicality in an earlier back draw singles match. I speculate that sometimes travel schedule or injury are the main influences but that too often, the potential few extra points is not worth the potential loss effect.”

So what can be done?

Here are some suggestions from Winder and me:

• Make the sign-up in the back draw AUTOMATIC; so the player has to “opt out” of playing and confirm their willingness to participate at registration.

• Like the Longboat Key tournament does, have an active person in charge of the back draw who tracks down and coordinates all players.

• Increase the number of USTA ranking points given for success (and promote that number in the tournament package).

• When prize money is being given, allocate some to back draw winners (and promote that fact).

• Use, what I think is called, a “Feed In Consolation”, where loser’s to seeded players in the second (or third?) round are placed in the back draw.

• Give some flexibility in scheduling the back draw singles to be played AFTER main draw doubles.

What else can be done to make this more popular?

For a link to this week’s Florida Super Senior Grand Prix tournament at the Meadows in Sarasota, please click HERE

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4 thoughts on “How To Make Back Draws More Popular?

  1. I’d like to see a regular match played not a shorter pro set. I’d also would like to see 3 full sets not a super tie breaker.

  2. George,
    I think you and Winder have presented some excellent changes for the back draw which will make the tournaments more interesting and challenging.

  3. On the FL SSGP we certainly encourage players to play the conso and always offer prize money for the winner if bigger than 8. The key is that players must make the effort to sign up and then show up. Too many times players don’t show for a conso match thinking it’s the conso , no big deal. This is very inconsiderate to there opponent who has taken the time to show up and then has no match. Is it too tough to make a phone call?
    There is a little problem with increasing points as they need to be appropriate to the level of play. I think however it could correlate to winning a local and in a Cat II winning a 200 level. Also a key is that a certain number of matches needs to be won to earn the points. As to full three setters, the problem is time. If you want to play after doubles that means starting at 5pm or later. Do you want to finish under the lights. We also need to remember people working the tournament are there for long hours as is, to finish at 7pm or later is not really good for anyone and lights are not usually very good.
    Last time I checked a two sets and TB last about an hour and a half. That’s a pretty good workout for most folks. This year when there are enough courts we are offering second round losers conso this year at WTC and Sanchez /Casals. I like this, but is difficult at big draw tournaments. Lastly, try to remember that the success of the FLSSGP is due in large part because of the nice clubs that we are able to play at. This requires member support and by not starting the matches normally until 11 the members have full opportunity to use there courts and then enjoy the tournament. If we said they had to give up their courts, I’m afraid we wouldn’t have many clubs willing to host us.

    Larry – Many good points to consider. Thanks, george.

  4. I agree that more should be done for consolation participation, the cost of staying to play should be balanced with more points to Encourage participation.

    Leon, Thanks …george

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