About a month ago, Novak Djokovic suggested that tennis doesn’t need lines umpires any more since the technology to replace them was already here. The Serb has now supported the idea of reducing Grand Slams to best-of-three set affairs.
“I am more a proponent of two-out-of-three everywhere, even though of course Slams have always been best-of-five,” World No 1 Djokovic said after his straight-sets win over Diego Schwartzman at the ATP Finals in London.
“It’s historically been that way, so I don’t know whether there is a chance at all for it to change.
“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 some changes.
“Whether it’s score or less sets or whatever. 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 a younger audience as well to our tour, to our sport.”
Even though men’s matches at Grand Slam are still played over five sets, it would be inaccurate to suggest that the sport has not paid heed to the changing times.
Earlier, all matches used to play over five sets and did not have a tie-break to decide them. Till 2005, finals at all ATP 1000 Masters were best-of-five.
All Davis Cup and Tour matches have now been reduced to three sets. The sport has adopted the tie-break rule. Three out of the four Grand Slams now have a fifth set tie-break rule, drawing a definite finish line.
“I just feel like the attention span, as well as the fans, especially the younger generation, is shorter,” Djokovic added. “So in order for us to really improve the product, so to say, of tennis I think commercially and marketing-wise I feel like we have to adapt to that younger generation.”
Rafael Nadal, though, disagreed with Djokovic’s suggestions.
“I am completely against change in the Grand Slams,” the 20-time major champion said on Monday.
We have a day off. I think best-of-five makes a difference in these tournaments, on the slams and at the same time is part of the history of our sport.”