3 min read
Indian Wells, Calif. — The inaugural UTR Dingles Championships took place last week during the BNP Paribas Open and showcased the high-level competition of an innovative game. From March 16-18, teams battled on Stadium 4 in the desert for the chance to win prize money and earn the honor of becoming the first-ever UTR Dingles champions.
The three-day event was made possible by a partnership between Universal Tennis and the BNP Paribas Open, led by tournament director Tommy Haas. Haas is a UTR Dingles spokesperson and a huge advocate for the game.
The six-team field included a mix of rising stars, college standouts, and former champions, featuring the likes of Mike Bryan, Mark Philippoussis, Tommy Haas, Nicholas Monroe, Bradley Frye, Stefan Dostanic, Christian Groh, Greg Hill, Meecah Bigun, Joseph Oyebog, and Brody Nejedly Krall.
What is UTR Dingles?
Last month, Universal Tennis added UTR Dingles to its platform, expanding its already extensive tennis products and initiatives. Providers can host UTR Dingles events by simply selecting it from the dropdown menu when they set up registration for events. Players can use the Create Play feature to host their own games with friends or within their community groups. All scores can be posted to Universal Tennis for free.
The UTR Dingles Championships in Indian Wells was the first of its kind, showcasing the great hybrid game that is both singles and doubles at the same time. The quarterfinals were played on Thursday, followed by the semifinals on Friday, and the final on Saturday.
How Does UTR Dingles work?
To start, players toss a coin to determine the feeding (“serving”) team. The two “serving” players on the same team feed cross-court rallies simultaneously and play out half-court points. When a cross-court singles point ends (by error or winner), the winning player calls out, “Dingles!”
Using the ball that is still in play, the point immediately evolves into a normal full-court doubles point. A team must win both balls to score a point. When a team wins both points, they get to feed (“serve”). Teammates change half-court sides only when they score a point on their serve. The format is best 2 out of 3 sets, with each set to 7 points (sudden death is at 6-all).
The UTR Dingles Championships
The first day of action on Thursday saw the junior pairing of Oyebog and Najedely win their first match, followed by the USC tandem of Frye and Dostanic taking out Bigun and Bryan, the best doubles player in the world who won a whopping 18 Grand Slams during his career and holds the record for most weeks at No. 1.
“UTR Dingles was a lot of fun,” Bryan said. “Being down here in the desert playing at the BNP
Philippoussis, who won the singles title in Indian Wells back in 1999, would take to the court on Friday, thrilling his many fans.
“I love the format,” the Australian said. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great way of training and combining that with a points situation. It’s fantastic. There’s a lot of room for this, even for the guys on tour.”
Ultimately, Haas and Groh would emerge as the 2023 champions in a tight win over Dostanic and Frye on Saturday.
“It’s such a great game, and we’re trying to introduce something that is so highly competitive, where you’ve got to play and be very thoughtful of every shot,” Haas said. “I think it can grow into something big, so here we go UTR Dingles!”