Called "The Third Game of Tennis," One-On-One Doubles held its 11th annual prize money tournament at the ITA Coaches Convention in December. The tournament's compact, round-robin format allowed for every player in the draw to compete against three opponents in short sets (first to win four games, no-ad scoring). The draw included five female and 20 male college coaches in one draw for a true “Battle of the Sexes.” The tournament was presented in a music-friendly atmosphere. Of course, the levels of players need to match up well for the concept to work.
To give an idea of the game's format and parity, one of the tournament's female players, Trinity College Coach Gretchen Magers-Rush, a former Grand Slam Singles Quarterfinalist during her WTA playing days, defeated Henrik Bode, the eventual tournament champion, during her round-robin pool play. Bode, who coaches the top-ranked Division II Hawaii Pacific University team, defeated Greg Ouelette, a former ATP player and newly named Assistant Men’s Coach at Iowa, in the Finals.
Ed Krass is the founding force behind One-On-One Doubles and a former Women's Tennis Coach at Harvard. In addition to directing One-On-One Doubles Tournaments throughout the year, Krass markets junior tennis camps to those who want to play college tennis. In business for 28 years, his camps are taught by head college coaches.
"Serve-and-volley tennis and the all-court game have been neglected,” said Krass. “One-on-One Doubles Tennis showcases these skills. I have a goal of growing the game on the Junior Tournament Circuit and offering prize money for the winner and gift certificates for the finalists. I also want to grow this game on the WTA Circuit, showcasing the women’s athletic all-court skills. Lastly, I would like to find a Title Sponsor for national TV events.”
In January 2015, the USTA $25,000 Women’s Pro Circuit Tournament hosted a three-hour One-On-One Doubles Tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla. The draw consisted of area teaching pros, college players and top male junior players, mixed with 12 women from the Pro Circuit Tournament. In what turned out to be an entertaining battle of the sexes, Asia Muhammed, a WTA-ranked doubles player, captured the title defeating the tournament's strongest male in the finals.
This past October, Avila Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Fla., hosted a men’s prize money One-On-One Doubles Tournament event that was won by Ashley Fisher, 2006 U.S. Open Doubles Semifinalist. A local blues band performed during the four-hour tournament to create an electric atmosphere of entertainment.
"The One-On-One Doubles Tournaments have everything we hoped for: A time-sensitive, half-day format with plenty of entertainment and fun exhibited throughout the tournament. I have received rave reviews from both the players and the fans attending,” said Andy Gladstone, player development coordinator for USTA Florida, who has also run numerous One-On-One Doubles Tournaments with Krass.
Whitney Kraft, tennis director at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, has hosted five One-On-One Doubles Tournaments with plans for more. Three tournaments that both Kraft and Krass teamed up for were men's prize money tournaments accompanied by a live blues band. One of the tournaments drew Ernests Gulbis, ATP touring great, to play. Another tournament was won by Jared Palmer, former Wimbledon Doubles Champion. Kraft, who recently hosted the annual USTA National Men's and Women's Indoor Championships, implemented a One-On-One Doubles Tournament at that event.
"The game's format allows for everyone to start at the same time with a unifying on-court presentation,” said Kraft. “What makes the tournament unique is that you can put two matches on one court and have all players get three quality matches within their round-robin pool play. You can move each court's winners to the quarters or semis of single elimination play from there. The rest are enjoying the music and party atmosphere. The music is certainly one of my favorite elements when hosting a One-On-One Doubles Tournament".
Krass is getting the green light to keep growing the One-On-One Doubles Tournaments with USTA and the USTA BJK National Tennis Center. Just a few months ago, Krass was invited to present the One-On-One Doubles Tournament format at the USTA National Adult Tournament Directors Workshop in Orlando.