What is the Fast4 tennis format?

Fast4 refers to tennis events that follows a format that is shorter from the conventional scoring system. This scoring system is characterized by four rules: No-let serve, No-ad scoring, first to four games wins the set and tiebreakers decide the set at three games apiece.

Fast4 was initiated by Tennis Australia in 2014. The application of this format for the first time took place in Sydney in an exhibition match between Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt. The first tournament to apply this format at a professional level was the Hopman Cup. But it was only applied in the mixed doubles discipline of the tournament.

Fast4 can be applied in both three-set and five-set matches. The first player to win four games (with a difference of two) wins the set. If the game score reaches deuce, then the next point decides the game (sudden death deuce). At a set score of 3-3, a tiebreak is played. The first player to win five points wins the set. If the tiebreak score is 4-4, then the next point decides the winner of the set.

If the set score is 1-1 (3-set match) or 2-2 (5-set match), then a set tiebreak is played. This set tiebreak follows the rules of conventional tiebreak system. The first player to win 10 points with a difference of two wins the match. If the score is 9-9 then the next point decides the winner of the match.

Modified Fast4, Alternative Fast4, Thirty30 tennis are some shorter versions of tennis that are inspired from Fast4. In professional tennis, a selected tournaments employ the Fast4 format in qualifying matches or initial round matches. The last notable use of this format was during Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour held during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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