Nowadays, it’s hard to deny that more and more modified versions of tennis are becoming mainstream. TouchTennis might be, arguably, the closest alternative to actual tennis. If you’re on the search for an engaging option for tennis, then, perhaps, you should know more about this sport.
TouchTennis is a modified form of tennis, which has similar rules to tennis, whereby the participants play on a smaller court, use foam balls and shorter 21-inch tennis racquets.
This sport, which was developed in 2002 in London, England, it’s a versatile game that can be tried on any flat surface, be it indoors or outdoors. Plus anyone can play it regardless of their abilities.
The game was invented from short-tennis (a.k.a. mini-tennis) as a progressive form of the sport, meant to cater to both youths and adults around the world looking for an exciting and easy way to play tennis.
If you’re more of a watcher than a reader, we suggest checking the following video.
Read on to find more about this great alternative to tennis.
A Brief History
TouchTennis was invented by UK citizen Rashid Ahmad, who saw it as an innovative way of entertaining his daughter in their yard. Eventually, he went ahead to share it with some members of his local tennis club in London, where it started to gain popularity.
Seeing that it was a competitive game, which attracted rivals from all walks of life, he quickly transformed it into a tournament, where various players began challenging each other for the top spot.
Currently, it’s being played in around 30 countries globally, and about 10 of them even feature official tour tournaments.
Ahmad, the G.O.A.T.?
Being the inventor of TouchTennis, Ahmad has amassed about 20 Grand Slam titles and was ranked No. 1 in the world for five years. However, in spite of his several wins in the court, he’s recently been facing a younger group of players who are already testing his skills and beating him in some games.
Even though Ahmad’s dream of becoming the greatest player in the game he invented is now questionable, TouchTennis is still rapidly growing in popularity across the world and has developed something like a cult following among players. Many people prefer it over other forms of tennis due to its simplicity, similarity, and ease of play.
Emphasis is on Placement
Unlike regular tennis, where strength and speed are crucial to succeeding, this game requires more placement and strategy rather than sheer power. Its unique 21-inch racquets, foam balls, and compact court setting, coupled with carefully formulated rules and regulations are intended to make the game more competitive by promoting long, forceful rallies and calculative angle play.
No matter your age or skill level, the joy of playing this game and its addictiveness comes from the ability to outwit your opponents continuously on the court.
The TouchTennis tour includes a professional ranking, as well as 4 major Grand Slams and Masters Events. Furthermore, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) officially recognizes this game as a modified form of tennis that uses slower balls and shorter racquets.
The Tour Championship is becoming well known internationally, among tennis enthusiasts, and it’s, even, featured on Sky Sports Channel, where well-known tennis commentators talk about it. Similarly, some former Wimbledon champions have already recognized the sport and are actively playing the game.
Moreover, if you’re interested in playing it competitively, you can join the TouchTennis circuit and try out your skills against other competitors. Young talents are competing vigorously for monetary rewards in these tournaments that can go up to $10,000, as well as ranking points that place them higher than their competitors.
A Fun Sport for Everybody
While to compete in a TouchTennis tournament you need to be 16yrs or older, this game can be played by anybody, regardless of their age and ability, who is interested in racquet sports and enjoys trying new things.
If you don’t want to play it competitively, then the game can still be entertaining for beginners, and the less experienced players seeking to improve their motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Furthermore, with unique rules that strictly inhibit racquet-throwing and temper tantrums in the court, TouchTennis is a mostly peaceful sport where players aspire to develop the spirit of sportsmanship rather than of aggression and winning at all costs.
The official measurements of a TouchTennis court are 12 x 5 meters (39.4 x 16.4 ft) for singles and 12 x 6 meters (39.4 x 19.7 ft) for doubles. Nevertheless, sometimes variances of up to 1 meter (3.3 ft) are accepted, which can make the game even more accessible and approachable.
The net (at the posts) should be no taller than 36 in (91.5cm) or shorter than 31.5 in (80cm). However, for professional tournaments, such as Grand Slams and Masters, the net height has to be at least to 33.5in (85cm). For recreational purposes, you can use any mini tennis net, just make sure they don’t go lower than 31.5 in (80cm).
Besides, players can utilize a badminton court by slightly lowering the net; or mini tennis red courts, which are used by kids of around 4 to 6 yrs of age.
The racquets use to play TouchTennis should be about 21 inches (53.34 cm) tall. Although there are specially made TouchTennis racquets, you could, also, used 21″ junior tennis racquets, made for little kids to play tennis.
Furthermore, the racket-head should be no larger than 107 square inches.
This game requires unique foam balls which have been designed to withstand heavy striking, as well as, to adapt to the court dimensions. They measure about 8 cm (3.15 in) in width and are made from a pure cut foam material.
Additionally, they have an official TouchTennis logo on the surface which is a sign of authenticity. However, regular tennis foam balls, used for little kids, can also be used.
Rules and Score Format
This is some important information about the rules and score format.
- Matches might be played to the best of 3 sets or 5 sets.
- Each set is played up to 4 games; at 4 all, a 5 point tiebreaker is played (first to get to 5 points wins).
- Each game is played like regular tennis game (15, 30, 40 and game). However, there’s not add scoring, which means that at 40-40, a golden point is played.
- There are no second serves; you only got one chance to start the point. This discourages players from taking a significant risk when serving.
- Once the ball is toss during the serve, the player must hit the ball; otherwise, it’s considered a fault, and the server losses the point.
- No lets – If during the serve the ball hits the net and goes over and lands in, they the point continues.
- If during the serve, the ball hits the returner without bouncing, it’s a fault against the server; except if the returner is standing on the service box, in which case the point will be given to the server.
- Both overarm and underarm servings are allowed, but it’s a requirement that you let your opponent know if you’re about to serve underarm.
- The returner is not allowed to hit the serve in the air.
- If the racquet goes off your hands when trying to hit the ball, the shot shall still count, as long as the racquet doesn’t go over the net to your opponent’s side.
- In the case, you through your racquet to hit the ball, and you decide not to pick it up, you can continue playing the point with your body.
- Grunting is permitted, and, even, encouraged.
To Sum Up
TouchTennis, which was developed in the UK, is pretty much a small version of tennis with some tweaks.
The sport is played on a smaller court with foam balls and 21-inch racquets, which requires players to focus more on placing the ball cleverly. That’s why it is called “Touch” tennis because, to be successful in this game, you need to have good hands, as well as, proper control of the ball.
If you’re still not convinced about this sport, make yourself a favor and watch the following clip!