Switzerland’s Roger Federer and his Australian rival Lleyton Hewitt will battle it out in an exhibition match set to revolutionise the laws of tennis. The goal of the match is to shorten the length of play before the start of the Australian Open, the first of four major championships in Melbourne at the beginning of next year.
The match will take place between Federer, who took first place in the Davis Cup with his country’s team only five days ago, and Hewitt on 12 December in Sydney, Australia.
During this match, the players will work to incorporate four changes into the rules of tennis, which are:
One: Cancellation of service lets.
Two: Elimination of the advantage scoring in case of a 40/40 tie.
Three: Granting the win to the team that wins four sets instead of six.
Four: Tiebreakers used after three games, not six as is currently the case.
Through these revolutionary changes in the world of tennis, the two stars aim to reduce the time for games in a move inspired by cricket standards.
President of the Australian Federation Craig Tiley was delighted with the new system, which will “revolutionise the game of tennis, particularly at club and social levels.”
He added: “Time today is precious and this new fast format is perfect for any player who wants to fit their tennis matches into a busy lifestyle.”
Federer, holder of 17 grand slam titles and 2nd ranked player internationally on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings, emphasised he is excited at the idea of playing this exceptional game with his old friend. Hewitt now ranks 50th globally on the ATP rankings, despite his being the youngest player to be ranked No. 1 in the world in singles at age 20.
Federer led his team to first place in the Davis Cup after beating France’s Richard Gasquet with scores of 6-4 6-2 6-2 on the third day of the final round Sunday in Villeneuve D’asqc.
This is the third win for Switzerland after the first win on the first day when Stan Wawrinka defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1-6 6-3 3-6 2-6, the second of which during the doubles match, when Federer and Wawrinka beat Gasquet and Julien Benneteau 6-3 7-5 6-4 on the second day.
Federer was thrown off by his loss to Gael Monfils 6-1 6-4 6-3 in the second singles match on day one.
Federer’s participation in the final is uncertain due to a back injury he sustained which prevented him from competing in the final of the Masters Tournament against Serbian Novak Djokovic in London two weeks ago.
Federer and Hewitt, both 33-years-old, have met 27 times since the year 1999 during which time Federer managed 18 wins, although Hewitt won the final match between the two in Brisbane, Australia last January.
Since 2013, the ATP began testing several new systems to reduce the duration of matches through strict punishments. This included penalties for players who took longer than the allotted 25 seconds between each point in professional matches and cancelling service lets in second-class matches.