Most tennis players will go their whole career without ever sniffing a chance to complete a perfect, or “golden” match. When a clean 48-consecutive point sweep does happen, it is almost always in qualifying on the lowest level of the ITF World Tennis Tour (formerly known as the Futures circuit).
That’s exactly the case in “professional” tennis’ most recent golden match, where Thailand’s Krittin Koaykul defeated Ukraine’s Artem Bahmen 6-0, 6-0 in the first round of qualifying at the M15 event in Doha.
Sometimes tournaments don’t fill their qualifying draw, which opens up the door for anyone who pays the tournament entry fee and has an ITF membership, or “IPIN.” In a sport like tennis, where revenue is not necessarily free-flowing, the tournament has no incentive to deny entry when there are open spots in the draw. It’s simply extra money for the tournament.
But after reviewing the film, you can't help but wonder how many times Bahmen has actually played tennis before. It can’t be many. This is technically a professional match, and Bahmen can technically say he is a professional tennis player, at least for the day, since he competed in a sanctioned professional event. Something like this could only happen in the whacky world of tennis.
How does someone who looks like they’ve never picked up a racquet into their life get into a $15k ITF tournament?? https://t.co/MwJVdk3yha— Harry (@stokaljona) December 9, 2019
Prior to Koaykul’s victory the most recent golden match came in the opening qualifying round of a then-Futures event in the Czech Republic. There, France’s Dan Added, now ranked No. 245 in the world, defeated France’s Freddy Prioton in 30 minutes.
A golden match has never happened at the ATP or WTA level, and probably never will. However, there have been two golden sets. Yaroslava Shvedova won the opening 24 points against Sara Errani in the 2012 Wimbledon third round, and in 1982, American Bill Scanlon recorded a golden set over Brazil’s Marcos Hocevar on the men's tour in Delray Beach, FL.
It is certainly an eyesore for the sport, but if you are looking to claim your first ATP point, consider spending some of your Christmas vacation in Doha next year.