Wouldn't it be great to have an app and a platform which facilitates the entire organization of setting up interclub tennis tournaments - so that everyone can focus on enjoying tennis? In collaboration with Tennis-Match.ch, we have made the tournament organization and management procedure easy and fun.

At the heart of the system is our location-based geomatching technology that helps officials and organizers to testify that players were at the right court and at the right time in order to guarantee and validate that the match took place.

What is Tennis-Match.ch?
Up until now, amateur tennis tournaments are organized fully centralized and can be considered as inflexible. Usually players have to play at a given weekend at given place, which blocks the entire weekend. The innovative approach of Tennis-Match.ch is to provide a software that allows for a decentralized, peer to peer organization of single matches, which will then aggregate to a tournament. The tournament organizer only has to setup groups and pairings and define time frames for the matches. All the rest - arranging day, time and place of a specific match, playing the match and finally reporting the score - is done by the players themselves to suit best their individual agenda.

The solution is currently available only in Switzerland, but will eventually expand globally, starting with neighboring countries such as Germany and France. It can be used by individuals, clubs, schools and other organizations.

How does it work?
First, the organizer, the overall responsible for the tournament, sets up the tournament through a web platform, registers the players, sets the groups and the tournament's phases and schedules the games between the players. The organizer decides before what date the game must be played. The tennis players decide when and where they wish to play the game through the TennisMatch app, and report the score in the app. It could not get simpler than this.

On top of the synchronized scheduling procedure, the magic behind the app arise from our location-based matching technology. Each registered tennis club will become a geofence and later work as a reference point in the system. A geofence is known as a virtual geographic boundary, defined by GPS coordinates. When the tennis players enter a geofence with their phones, the TennisMatch app understands that the tennis players are at the correct place at the correct time, which validates that the game really took place. Therefore, the organizer can rely on a system to control that the game happened as planned instead of being obliged to physically come during each game to testify the match.

Tennis players
The TennisMatch software facilitates the process before, during and after tournaments for tennis players. The app allows the players to register for tournaments, see upcoming matches, chat with other players, schedule matches, enter results, give feedback and see the current ranking. There is always one host player and one guest player. The host player is responsible of scheduling the game, meaning suggesting a court as well as date and time. Thanks to chat functionality in the app, the players can always discuss a suitable place and time in an easy manner.

The TennisMatch app 2019.

The app uses Matchmore's core technology called geomatching to attest that both players are at the court at the same time. The geomatching technology enables the two players to validate the game digitally, without needing an official present at the court. Before beginning to play, both players will open the TennisMatch app, and the geomatching technology will confirm that they are the right court at the right time. The host player will also start a match timer to additionally validate the match.

The organizer
An organizer of a tournament will mainly use the web platform which is synchronized with the app. From this platform, the organizer is able to deploy and maintain their tournaments. Among other functionalities, the organizer is able receive results automatically, automate ranking in real-time, communicate with participants and get feedback from players.

One important responsibility of the organizer is to make sure that each tennis court that will be a part of a tournament is registered correctly on the platform. The address of the court will function as a base for the geofence for the tennis players.

Technically, how does it work?
The solution includes a website, a backend and an app. We, at Matchmore, have completely developed the backend and tournament administration system in addition to the app. We also provided the hosting for the entire solution which gives us the benefits of flexibility and control. As a host, we function as a comprehensive technology partner for a third party customer.

The backend is built up on the Python framework Django and exposes a RESTful API to communicate with the mobile app that is developed using React Native. The advantage of using React Native is that it facilitates building cross platform apps but also, ensures speed and great native user experience.

The starting point: The website
There is a website connected to the TennisMatch app and the platform, and it can be found here: https://tennis-match.ch/. This website works as an information hub, and also shows what tournaments are currently running for the moment, which also can be filtered by region. You can find valuable information of tournaments such as ranking limits, dates and prices. The website is also a registration platform.

The TennisMatch app
The TennisMatch app itself is currently available on iOS and on Android, and can be downloaded in App Store or at Google Play. As already mentioned in the previous section, the tennis players can register for tournaments, schedule matches, chat with opponents and validate matches in the TennisMatch app. Let's dive into how the validation process works technically.

The technology behind the validation on the match is based on the geomatching technology, which can be seen as a smart version of geofencing. At Matchmore, geomatching is implemented as an extension of the publish–subscribe messaging pattern.

The validation process can be divided into two phases. As mentioned earlier, there is always one host player and one guest player.
Phase 1: There is one publication on the tennis court, and there is one subscription on each on the tennis players phones. When both the tennis players are within the reach for the publication with their subscriptions, there will be a match and the tennis players presence at the court will be validated. Practically speaking, this step is done by the tennis players when they click on the "Start the match!" button on the app. This will also forward them to the phase 2. In short, phase 1 validates that both the tennis players are at the court.
Phase 2. When phase 2 starts, a publication is created on the phone of the host player searching for a guest player. In the same time, there will be a subscription on the guest player's mobile phone announcing its presence and looking for a host player. When there is a match between the publication (host player) and the subscription (guest player), the tennis match will be unlocked. The host player can now start the timer to validate the match. Phase 2 basically ensures that the host and the guest player actually meet and play the game.

Screen 1 & 2: Both the players in phase 1. Screen 3. The mobile phone of the host player when starting the timer. 

When the match is over, the host will report the scores in the app and send them to the organizer. The guest player will accept the scores in his or her phone before the scores are registered.

Below is a two-screen video of the usage of the TennisMatch app from the perspective of a host player (left in screen) and a guest player (right in screen).

A platform to organize tournaments
The platform is only used by the organizers. This is where the organizers are able to set up tournaments and coordinate players into groups. The organizer is also able to chat with the players through the platform. The platform is, as mentioned in the section about the organizers, synchronized with the app.

Other sports than tennis?
Of course! The TennisMatch solution is a great example of how our location-based geomatching technology can be applied to validate the presence of users. It can easily be used to other sports as well, both individual sports and team sports. The core can be used to all kind of match play tournaments. We are actually currently in the discussion for an adaption for a university soccer tournament.

Would you like to know more about our solution? We develop fully fledged, tailor made, location-based solutions for any occasion! Please feel to contact my colleague Mitch at michel.demarsano@matchmore.com.