Appealing to youth and quality over quantity in the best-of-five debate – Match Points excerpt

In the latest episode of Match Points, Noah Rubin, Ben Rothenberg, and Simon Cambers talked to host Josh Cohen about the debate between best-of-five vs. best-of-three in men’s singles at Grand Slams.

October 4, 2020
The figures

Change in viewing habits

Simon Cambers sees a change in the viewing pattern of tennis watchers. While crowds in stadiums enjoy and get sucked into the back-and-forth emotions and action of a five-set match, most people, especially the younger generation, are watching at home and probably not watching the entirety of those matches. That, plus TV broadcasters clamoring for shorter slots, should be enough for Roland-Garros, and perhaps other Grand Slams, to attempt a switch.

“You’ve got to think about the future, about young players coming in young people watching it, who will sit down, as Noah [Rubin] said, who sits down and watches a whole five set match anymore ? They probably don’t. Very few. Maybe only the finals would get that.”

Quality over quantity

Noah Rubin’s biggest gripe with the current state of five-setters is that there could be so much fluff with the match — specifically certain parts of the matches that aren’t particularly competitive.

“For me, it’s quality over quantity. How many times I’ve seen five set matches and there’s just throwaway games, even throwaway sets, and they still win the match. We can’t do that anymore. People that are watching tennis, they can’t see that. The younger generation can’t see that. We need higher quality.”

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