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‘The players complained – so they’ve speeded the courts up!’ Djokovic on changing Paris-Bercy conditions

The Serbian had some thoughts on the constant battle to keep players, fans and tournament organisers happy when it comes to court conditions

Novak Djokovic Novak Djokovic in Paris (Federico Pestellini / Panoramic)

It’s rare that every single tennis player will be content with the conditions they’re presented with. Often, they’re not happy about the apparent speed of the court; last year Paris-Bercy garnered several complaints, and this year the Laver Cup, Astana and Basel have all been the subject of plenty of moaning.

Former world No 1 Novak Djokovic says that last year’s complaints at the Rolex Paris Masters might have forced the tournament organisers’ hands to adjust the conditions – but he added that it’s tricky to balance what players want with what might be safest, plus what the fans in the stands want to see.

“Oftentimes what the tournament wants and what the players want is maybe two different things,” he said.

“But it doesn’t particularly mean that in this case for Paris-Bercy it’s two different things, because I was speaking with Cedric Pioline an hour ago, and he told me that many players, I mean, were kind of complaining about the slowness of the court last year, the conditions. So that’s why they decided to speed it up.”

Djokovic: There is no golden formula

“I think it’s fair,” he added. “It’s okay. You know, it’s what they have the right to do. I can’t tell you what kind of speed of the court is best for everyone, because everyone is different. We all like different conditions.

“For a big server, those guys, I guess, they would prefer quick conditions. For someone who is staying at the back of the court and playing with a lot of spin, you know, they like things to be, balls and conditions to be slower.

“So it’s just I don’t think there is a golden formula, to be honest with you. And remembering all the years that I played here in Bercy, there were years when it was really quick, then medium quick, medium slow, slow last year. Now back to medium quick.

“So, I mean, it changes and it changes also depending on the local players as well, also. I think that’s something that we know it’s happening in tennis. You know, when you have a home-court advantage that a tournament is trying to please the hometown heroes, the players that have possibility to win more matches in certain conditions that they prefer more, which is something, as I said, that was happening a lot in the past.
Yeah, that’s my answer, basically, is no one golden rule or formula that works for everyone.”

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