Playing Consolation Matches

Playing in a consolation/backdraw bracket in a USTA tournament can be dodgy at best… you are “second class citizens” when it comes to scheduling, frequently you have to play an abbreviated scoring match, and your opponents sometimes blow off their obligations and cancel at the last minute.  What can be done?

Some Options

Tournament player Winder Bill has a novel suggestion for the mid-level competitors.  He was flying out to California to play a National Hardcourt tournament and writes:

There comes a point in the backdraw if you keep winning where a value judgment must be made on continuing to play.  For me, I will not play a backdraw match if I have to add the expense of changing flights, and add additional hotel room expense to the close to $2,000 I am already paying for flights, hotel, and rental car. 

“I will joyously do it if still in main draw but a potential Friday backdraw match has 3 possible outcomes under our current system. 

  • I lose. End of story;
  • I am winning but default on last point so opponent can keep playing and next round player does not get default;
  • I win and create a default in the draw. 

Creating Lucky Losers

“My proposal is to add another option: the lucky loser option.  I win, immediately tell my opponent and the tournament that I am pulling out, and the loser stays in the draw.

Winder, it is an interesting idea that lets the “winner” play as hard as he can to get as far as he can; but lets an interested “loser” continue and earn more points.

Main Draw Option

Why not have the same option in the main draw?  In one tournament, my partner and I had a “walkover” because the winning/opposing team got injured during their victory and could not continue.

Why not have a “Lucky Loser Window” of time (say 4 hours) and if the player(s) default during that time after their victory, the player(s) they beat can still move forward in the draw???

Other thoughts??

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6 thoughts on “Playing Consolation Matches

  1. No labels… no conditions… no part of the draw… no time period… If the winning individual or team cannot move on, the losing individual or team moves on. There ultimately is only one winner and the rest of us, especially us “older” gentlemen,just want to play tennis.

    Walt, not sure which side of the issue you are coming down on? george

  2. The only true answer is a double elimination tournament. That way a loser in the 1st round remains interested until the next round he loses then goes home. A lot of one and done players become 2 and done.

    Bill, thanks for the idea! george

  3. George, I agree with Walt’s bottom line: “…us ‘older’ gentlemen (older but never OLD) just want to play tennis.” In fact, I know one “older gentleman” who, when faced with playing a top seeded player in the second round of the main draw will dump his first match so he can (hopefully) get to play more matches in the consolation. I’m sure he knows that there are more points by winning a main draw match, but he just wants to play more matches. You know, George, those of us who have played the tournaments for years are very aware of who the top tier players are and, being realistic about our chances with one of them as well as our desire to “play more tennis”, if not opting to tank match number one in the main draw at the very least are not devastated when losing that first match. In fact, personally I don’t mind being relegated to the consolation in my first couple of tournaments just to play more and get my “tournament legs” on for the remaining tournaments. The final of a consolation is often a very competitive match and I wouldn’t mind having the title “King of the Consolations.” It still feels good to win a match no matter main draw or consolation. (Only once did I default out of a consolation and that was due to the fact that my first consolation match wasn’t scheduled until three days after my first match loss in the main draw and it wouldn’t have been economical for me to stick around for the additional time.) Personally I wish there were more “feed-in” tournaments where one can re-enter the main draw after several consolation wins. But that’s just me.

    Bernie, i too know which tournament player will intentionally lose that first round match to get into the consols. george

  4. Hi George , another possible solution is to give more points for the consolation matches making it worth hanging around for . Part of the problem for tournament directors etc. Is that most of us only want to play one match of singles each day , I am one of those players, I choose to play age groups because back to back matches against 20 year old 30 year olds in the hot sun is not fun for me (. lol). So load the points up it’s worth a try.

    OhioJack, worth a try! Thanks. George

  5. In New England a tournament on Cape Cod Chatham the director guaranteed at least three matches. Everyone was asked to play the two consolations.

    Phil, better than nothing. thanks, george

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