FAST4 — Tennis’ answer to cricket’s Twenty20

LleytonHewitt-1CNN — It might sound like a Vin Diesel movie, but tennis authorities in Australia are hoping that the FAST4 format, which debuted Monday with an exhibition match between world No. 2 Roger Federer and former Wimbledon and US Open champ Lleyton Hewitt, could “revolutionize” the sport.

That contest ended in the Swiss star’s favor, beating his old friend and rival 4-3 2-3 3-4 4-0 4-3 at Sydney’s Qantas Credit Union Arena.

This new version of tennis, which marks some of the most significant rule changes in the sport’s history, consists of the best-of-three sets with quick changeovers and sudden-death playoffs to prevent tiebreaks from dragging on. The first player to four games wins the set.

“Playing Roger in this new format will be an exciting challenge for both of us and a lot of fun,” said Hewitt ahead of the match.

“It’s a fantastic innovation for tennis, and one that I hope will take off.”

The Australian roadshow will decamp to Melbourne next, with Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal taking on three opponents in separate matches Wednesday.

First he’ll line up against former US Open finalist Mark Philippoussis before taking on current US Open junior champion Omar Jasika, finally playing a best-of-five match against compatriot Fernando Verdasco.

Billed as tennis’ answer to cricket’s TV-friendly Twenty20, the two formats share more than just a catchy approach to branding.

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