Round Robin Reviews


More tournaments are now adopting the new (NSMTA recommended) round robin format for doubles.  Is it better for tournament play or is the old, single-elimination better?

Travel Planning

For anyone coming from out of the area to play a tournament, knowing that you will have three GUARANTEED matches scheduled for example on a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, is a great benefit in making travel and hotel reservations.

And having that minimum of three matches should also be a plus for anyone entering the event.  Rather than facing the prospect of getting knocked out in the first round, all teams are in the hunt during the round robin play.

Multiple Matches Per Day

The guaranteed match play does put added pressure and physical stress on those seniors brave enough to enter BOTH singles and doubles.  Playing a long, three set singles match in the morning makes a competitive doubles match in the afternoon a higher hill to climb.

At Longboat Key recently, the tournament learned another lesson… if there are something like 20 teams entered in an age group (which there were in my 75s), having just four groups of FIVE teams makes it necessary to have some teams play two doubles matches on one of the days (and what happens if one partner is still in the singles draw or backdraw?).

I believe next year, they will switch to having FIVE groups of FOUR teams, and not have the required two matches in one day.  Much better.

No Shows

Even with this format, some teams will be mathematically eliminated by their final rounds; and some end up defaulting or just being “no shows” for the final matches.  Unless there are over-riding personal issues (work, family, etc.), this ends up being unfair to other teams that may not be advancing either; but were looking forward to playing another match.

What do YOU think about the round robin format?

Know someone who should read this?  Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com

My Book: if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page to go to Amazon.com, look at the list of places under “My Book” on the bar above, or ask me what clubs are carrying it!

10 thoughts on “Round Robin Reviews

  1. Has anyone worked out the dynamics of double elimination? Thus guaranteeing 2 matches in an event. There will be zero no shows because the player is in the main draw even with one loss. Why re-invent the wheel.

    Bill, guess i do not know how that works (but would still only be two guaranteed matches, yes?). thanks, george

  2. I think a better format for doubles is a compass draw. This provides the best of both worlds….you can get more matches plus it limits matches for some who may also be in singles.

    Adam, another format that i am unfamiliar with! how does it work? thanks, george

  3. In the 65 dbls at Longboat Key, we had 24 teams entered with 6 groups of 4 teams each. This resulted in 6 group winners and 2 “best of the rest” teams in a quarterfinal round. I think when there are greater than 16 teams entered into an event, the tournament should consider using no ad scoring for two sets and a 10 pt tiebreaker similar to many of the pro tournaments. Therefore, if there a large number of entries, 2 doubles matches per day might be acceptable to get through the early rounds. The semis and finals could then revert back to regular scoring.

    Jim, good suggestions! thanks, george

  4. Hi George,
    As a Cat 2 tournament, Longboat Key tournament comes under National Rules (as in the ‘Friend at Court’) and a player can be required to play three matches in a day. West Coast Super Senior and other state tournaments come under State Rules which advise a limit of two matches a day.
    The number in a group always comes down to the number entering a tournament and to provide more play for everyone, a minimum group size of four is the aim. Sometimes, as with twenty-one teams, a group of five may be necessary. With five groups, quarter-finals are necessary. At one match a day, that would be seven days (including semi’s and final)!
    Makes playing singles and doubles quite a challenge
    Another issue is teams not completing all matches in a group and the effect on other teams that have played the withdrawn team. Results of matches played,stand whereas matches not played are awarded 6-0, 6-0.

    The hope is, with a fair wind, round robins will provide a minimum of three matches against the two with a single elimination main draw and consolation. Round robins hope to provide more matches for more teams overall.

    Allan, thanks for the clarification. I still think three matches in one day is too much. thanks, george

  5. Bill, I am pretty sure a double elimination just gives the winner of a consolation draw a second chance at playing in the main draw. With the RR in some cases there is double elimination as a second best team advanced to bye spot. The biggest problem now is that tournaments think it will be too many matches to play and are reluctant to try it.

    Larry, the tournaments should really keep the “consumer” in mind! thanks, george

  6. There is an indespensable advantage for super-seniors of the round- robin format: If you are only playing doubles, then for me it very important to play several matches, as you have pointed out.

    Nick, i am with you. see you in January. thanks, george

  7. I love the round-robin format if with a maximum of four teams in a round-robin. It is also great to have afternoon matches scheduled in advance for those of us who may be commuting to an event.
    Unfortunately in the Longboat Key tournament where I entered expecting Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday matches it became a schedule of one match on each of Tuesday and Wednesday and then no match on Thursday and two matches on Friday. Thursday was wasted and I would have to dedicate all day on Friday (starting at 8:00am). The logistics were overwhelming and not worth the Friday opportunities.
    A standard 4-team round-robin is much more consumer-friendly!

    Spike, i think the consensus is with you! thanks, george

  8. Very difficult to play singles and doubles with the round robin format. Could do a compass draw which would keep players playing at least two rounds.
    One of possibilities that several of us talked about at Longboat would be to play 2 of 3 four game sets with breakers at 4 all. Could also do that in singles.

    Chuck, I still don’t know what a Compass draw is. George

  9. I’ve played singles & doubles in the Florida tournaments for 10 years. I still like the main draw & if you lose up to the quarterfinals, you’re fed-in to consolations. This Feed-in Process gives the players the opportunity to play more matches. John Lundquist

    Dear Iron Man, that is just what you need … more matches!! george

  10. Yikes, no way to make all happy………………so majority should rule, or at least what may benefit the continuation of more tournament participation, providing a fun format and an opportunity to enjoy the competition.

    Howie, yes, in tennis and in life, no way to make everyone happy! thanks, george

Comments are closed.