- 16 Nov 2020
The possible switch from best of five sets to best of three sets has been long debated in the tennis community. While the Grand Slams remain best of five, in 2008 the Nitto ATP Finals changed their championship match from best of five to best of three. Other tournaments such as those on the Masters 1000 level are also now played as best-of-three, having previously gone the five-set distance.
Some players such as Novak Djokovic have started to question the disparity and have begun to call for a permanent change across the board. Following his straight-set victory over Diego Schwartzman in the Nitto ATP Finals, the world No 1 was asked for his opinion on the subject.
“I am more a proponent of two-out-of-three everywhere, even though of course slams have always been best of five,” he explained. “I don’t know whether there is a chance at all for it to change. I just feel that we have enough tournaments, enough matches during the year. We have the longest season of any sport in the world. Tennis has the longest season from January 1 to end of November.”
In October our Match Points panel discussed the issue in depth:
At the French Open in October, Djokovic defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-set epic before losing out to Rafael Nadal in the final in straight sets. The 33-year-old Serb, who has endured a whole host of grueling five-setters throughout his career, also commented on how tennis needs to change and adapt in the coming years.
“Unfortunately we had a stat that was a bit shocking — the average age of a tennis fan worldwide is 61,” he noted. “Obviously we have been one of those sports that has stuck with the tradition a lot, and I feel like this is something we have to keep, but we haven’t been really exploring, some changes, less sets, different calendar, different point system. We have not really looked into those.”