VASS or the Van Alen Streamlined Scoring System is a kind of scoring system used in tennis that promoted a sudden death to a tie-breaker. This kind of scoring ensures that prolonged matches, which are due to players having a tie in points, will not happen. The VASS was invented in 1965 by James “Jimmy” H. Van Alen. He was also the founder of the Tennis Hall of Fame.
Van Alen had made proposals of his VASS in the early 1950s, but it was only in 1965 when it was widely accepted. This scoring system was made to shorten matches that were dominated by players who came with powerful serving skills. VASS or VASSS provided for a single-point no-ad scoring. It was also used for 21 or 31-point matches and games are scored with 1, 2, 3 or 4 points. When the game was tied 3-3, a sudden-death point will be established to determine the winner. This created excitement for the spectators and brought in more income for the organizers of tennis matches. But it was not favored by the players.
VASS was not adopted as a scoring system and a tiebreaker for a long time. But the idea behind it created the 9-point tiebreaker, which gave way to what is used today to break tied points.
VASS and Jimmy Van Alen
James H. Van Alen was born in 1902 and finished his undergraduate degree in 1924 at Cambridge University. He was part of the Cambridge’s tennis team and had played in the championship rounds of the United States and French Tournaments and the Wimbledon. He also won 3 United States Singles Championships. Despite these achievements in tennis, he was more famous for his non-playing accomplishments in the world of tennis like his creation of the VASS and the International Tennis Hall of Fame as well as his introduction of night tennis and electronic scoreboards.
Van Alen’s greatest legacy in tennis was his creation of the VASS. His persistence on its acceptance was shown on the number of times he was rejected by several amateur tennis organizations. This did not stop him from pursuing professional organizations that finally tried his idea. This was after several attempts that span for years.