By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday November 16, 2020
Novak Djokovic has come out as a firm advocate for best-of-three matches across the board in ATP tennis. The World No.1, speaking in his post-match press conference at the Nitto ATP Finals, says that he is a proponent of the shorter format, for the sake of the fans and the popularity of the sport.
“I am more a proponent of two-out-of-three everywhere, even though of course slams have always been best-of-five,” Djokovic said. “So obviously it’s historically been that way, so I don’t know whether there is a chance at all for it to change. Yes, I am more of a proponent of best-of-three sets everywhere.”
Djokovic says that the ATP calendar is already so full and so demanding that it simply makes sense to shorten up the format.
“I just feel that we have enough tournaments, enough matches during the year. We have the longest season of all sports, any sport in the world. Tennis has the longest season from January 1 to end of November. Literally every single week you have tournament somewhere. I don’t see a reason why we should play best-of-five, even though of course there is a historical reason and it has been always that way, so it’s a tradition.”
He says that social trends and the long-dreaded “short attention span” of the younger generation also plays a role in his views.
“I just feel like the attention span as well of the fans, especially the younger generation, is shorter. So in order for us to really improve the product, so to say, of tennis, you know, I think commercially and marketing-wise I feel like we have to adapt to that younger generation. “I mean, I think we have to change something, in my opinion,” Djokovic said.
“Obviously we have been one of those sports that has stuck with the tradition a lot, which I respect, and I feel like this is something we have to keep, but at the same time we haven’t been really exploring, you know, some changes, whether it’s score or, you know, less sets or whatever, different calendar, just different point system, whatever it is. We have not really looked into that. Every time someone mentions that, I feel like there is not much of a support, not much of a willingness to really address that and strategically think about the things that could attract younger audience as well to our tour, to our sport.”
For his part, Rafael Nadal was asked similar questions on Sunday and the Spaniard said that he prefers best-of-three at all events other than the Grand Slams. But when it comes to the four most important events in tennis, Nadal says he believes the best-of-five tradition must be maintained.
“I am completely against to change that in the Grand Slams, no? We have a day off. I think best-of-five makes a difference on these tournaments, on the slams, and at the same time is part of the history of our sport, no?”