SHORT GAME LOOKS FOR BIG HIT
By Stephen Bierley.
Saturday October 2, 2004.
Superset is a knockout competition played over one set, with a
winner-takes-all first prize of £250,000. The basic rules
and scoring are unchanged with the winner the first to get to
10 games. If the set is level at 10-10 then the normal tie-break
Superset launched a pilot tournament last November
in Portland, Oregon, comprising eight US ATP Tour players, including
Andre Agassi. The London event includes three former Wimbledon
champions -Goran Ivanisevic, Boris Becker and John McEnroe - as
well as Britain's latest hope, Andrew Murray, who has replaced
the injured Tim Henman.
Crowd participation is positively encouraged
and if a player queries a line-call Hawkeye and slow-motion replays
can be called up by the umpire and will be shown on a large plasma
screen. A player can question any amount of line calls provided
it is not seen as a tactic to slow down the game or to disturb
the opponent. If so, then the umpire can dock the player a penalty
Players' coaches are allowed on courtside at
the change of ends for 30 seconds, and they will be wired up to
loud speakers so spectators can hear what is happening. Players
will also wear heart monitors and their pulse rate will also be
Unlike Twenty20 cricket, Superset does not appear
to be a format immediately open to further development, although
some may worry that its truncated form is the thin end of the
wedge that could ultimately influence the organisers of the grand
slams and the Davis Cup to shelve the men's five-set formula in
favour of the best of three - something that television executives
would love to see happen.
On the other hand, tournaments on the men's and
women's tours, notably during the indoor season, could benefit
from the technological and promotional innovations used at Superset.
Opening matches: Greg Rusedski (GB) v Boris Becker
(Ger); Goran Ivanisevic (Cro) v Tommy Robredo (Spa); Robby Ginepri
(US) v Mario Ancic (Cro); John McEnroe (US) v Andrew Murray (GB).
Semi-finals: Winner match 1 v winner match 2; winner match 3 v
winner match 4.