New Tourny Format??

A New Idea!

Here comes a new idea from a tournament player on how to provide more guaranteed matches and do away with the usually under-participated consolation round…

The Round Robin Format

The ITF frequently uses a round robin format in its tournaments; so here is his concept…

  • Use a round robin format to replace the early rounds of a tournament and have the winners of each group feed into the next round.
  • The groups would have no more than four or less than three players/teams, and then winners of each group, depending on draw size, move to the next round.  For example, with 16 draw, there are four groups of four and winners move to semi’s.  In a 64 draw, winners move to round of 16.
  • There would still be the same seeding process, with the seeds spread out across the groups.
  • This concept could be used in both singles and doubles
  • With fewer than 16, the number of groups or players in each could be smaller; but each player would be guaranteed to have at least two or three matches.
  • Second chance possibility.  Where there are odd number of groups, the player with the best record of the non-winners would move to the bye spot thus giving him another chance to win in the main draw.   Example, draw of 9 would have three groups of 3.  Then in addition to the three winners, a fourth player with best record (tiebreaker- percentage of games one) moves on
  • And there would be NO consolation bracket; but additional rounds won in the round robin would have higher value than any consolation wins.
  • There could still be a modified consolation to give players who played in groups of three a chance to have three matches.  However, this would only be for players who had won at least one match.  Example, draw of 10 with two groups of three and one of four.   After the fourth player with the best record is moved into the bye spot, then the remaining players who have won a match would go into a consolation (maybe call it a “back draw playoff”).   This gives the player who lost to seed and won his other match a chance to keep playing.  This back draw playoff would be much smaller and easier to run than normal consolation for the tournament director.


I think this is a great idea and worth trying.  The consolation round is always a crap shoot as to who will sign up and actually show up.  And for tournament directors, it should make life a lot easier.

What do you think??  If you like the concept, please add a quick “Comment” and just say that – so tournament directors can get an idea of its possible acceptance.

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18 thoughts on “New Tourny Format??

  1. George : great Idea
    you could also advance players finishing #1 & 2 in each group
    #1 from group A plays #2 from group B

  2. George, I like it. More meaningful matches for more players. What’s the downside to at least trying it? Thanks

  3. Somewhat complicated, but once everybody went through it at one or two tournaments as an experiment it would be better understood by the players and officials — and any warts that may not currently be identified would be revealed. Overall, I like the concept and would encourage it to be tried. My only question…how would the USTA account for ranking points using this different system, including reconciling points that may be won by surviving more matches in a given tournament under this system as compared to the current system where people are totally out of a tournament once they lose (barring a consolation round, which has fewer points applied to a ranking). This suggested system almost seems too novel and sensible, so therefore it is reasonable to predict the USTA may have a problem with it.

  4. I like the idea.
    I play in ITF Canada and Quebec senior tournaments where this approach is already being used with success. It compensates for 2 other things, a possible bad day, or being drawn against top seated players in the first round.

  5. Yes something Needs to take place in order to keep growing the game, I’ve seen so many people start playing age groups to lose big and not even have the consolation player show up after waiting 24 hours to play them. The secret to tennis is FUN whatever we can do to keep having fun , even if you did age groups along with the 3.5, 4.0 , 4.5 it would let the new players get adjusted instead of throwing them to the seeded players lol example 1st round 60 year old 3.5 versus 4.5 plus 60 year old not much fun for the 3.5 lol

  6. I love it! The last FOUR tournaments I’ve played I have won the first round fairly easily and then gotten either the #1 or #2 seed. Two and through! This doesn’t seem fair when I know I can compete or even beat the lower seeded players or win the consolation. In other words some players that may be less skilled than me are getting to play a lot more matches.

  7. I like it. Beats having a bye. Other possibilies are block seedings or like in France where the 3.5’s play and the last 4 ( 8 ) feed into the 4.0 bracket and the last 4 feed into the 4.5 until you reach the open division. Lots of ways that can encourage participation

  8. Although I like the concept, it might add an additional day to the tournament. For example, in a standard draw of 16, there are 8 matches Day 1, then 4 matches on Day 2 in the quarters. Thus the semis could be held on Day 3. In the proposed format with a draw of 16 with 4 groups of 4, the round robins would take 3 days (assuming only one match per day per player). Therefore the semis could not be played until Day 4.

  9. I use to play alot of volleyball in college and this is a format that was very common. I had never thought of it for tennis. I think it might work great. It would guarantee more play and give less focus to seeded players. If a good player comes in unseeded he would have a great chance to come in 2nd if not first in the pool which might help him move up in the rankings faster then if he had played a top seed in the first or second round. Also it would give more players a chance to play a seeded player so they can get a better feel for where they currently stand.

    Randy Beerman

  10. great idea…..I always thought there should be more round robin formats

    I’ve played some singles tournaments outside of naples where they had small draws … and felt they should play a round robin format

  11. One advantage may be that the rankings can be based more on the universal rating system (quality of your wins versus points per rounds of draw you get to no matter the defaults etc that might not reflect the true achievement). Injuries can dilute the quality of a win but every system has some potential flaws.
    I do not know how this compares to the block seeding concept Larry Turville has presented. We not top level players tend to forget that a top level player like Larry or Fred Drilling might enjoy tournaments more without so many early, noncompetitive matches. Earning the right to play against that level of player would come from winning against the others.

  12. Looks like it may be worth a try

    Larry, let’s do it! I look forward to participating in one or more. thanks, george

  13. Great idea…..each player gets to play against a seed but still continue if he loses.

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