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Monday, October 10, 2016

New Rules for a New Age - Fast4 Tennis at McNair Park


While the 2016 US Open was getting started we took a trip out to a park in St. Charles, Missouri called McNair Park.  McNair has four tennis courts and is part of a much larger park which features ball fields, concession, volleyball, shelters, soccer and a braille trail.

The courts are on top of a hill and on first appearance could use some work.  We also noted right of the bat that they are striped with pickleball lines which is becoming a common sight on area tennis courts.  We have played on similar courts and find the pickleball lines to be a distraction when calling serves making it confusing when you have a white service line and a yellow pickleball line within a foot of each other.


As we warmed up we decided to play a new tennis format devised by Tennis Australia known as Fast4. Fast4 is designed to play a 5 set match but with rules in place to make it move along faster.  Sets are to 4 games with a tiebreaker at 3 all.  Scoring is no-ad.

We warmed up quickly and began the match.  Stan was really motivated after his loss in the last match and come out firing some backhand winners and quickly moved to take the first set 4-1. Weirdly enough in the first set we did not encounter any 3-3 points to be decided by the no-ad system.

The second set was a different story as there were several 3-3 points with Scott taking the first one and Stan hitting an incredible forehand from an off the court wide position which rolled right into Scott's backhand corner striking the the lines to give Stan the game while Scott watched with incredulity.  The set went to a 5 point tiebreaker which Scott was able with win 5-3 to even up the match.



Stan did not want to be denied this match and came up with a dizzying array of drop shots, backhand winners and some sneaky volleys to win the third set 4-2 and left Scott questioning his dedication to the game.

The fourth set was tough - this time it was Scott feeling a lack of energy while Stan kept making him work for every point.   Back and forth it went until 3-3 at which point another tiebreaker was played.  This one was all Stan as he prevailed 5-2 to win the set and the match 3 sets to 1.  Final score 4-1, 3-4, 4-2, 4-3.

Our take on this format was we liked it a lot.  Surprisingly the match took over two hours and we both felt like we had played a substantial match.   The new rules made for some interesting scenarios which we liked. We will use this format again for sure on a future forgotten court.

As we were leaving a squad of pickleballers arrived and we had a quick chat with them about the game and watched them play for a few minutes.... a future forgotten courts subject maybe....

The courts are in rough shape and we will give the condition a 6 and location a 10 for a 8 overall.  The location is nice and quiet.

The food choices nearby for an after match meal are endless with Main Street St. Charles just a few miles away.  One of our favorites is Trailhead Brewing which has cold beer and good food.



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