The opening days of the ATP Finals were an ideal opportunity for many players to take stock of the season and to express themselves on various topics. The debate broke out above all on the proposal to change the format of the Grand Slam tournaments, reducing the duration of the games with the abolition of the three out of five.
If Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev have strenuously defended tradition, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev have shown themselves more open to change in the future. In particular, the number 1 in the world - questioned by the press after the victory over Diego Schwartzman - explained how tennis desperately needs to rejuvenate its audience, citing in support of his thesis a study that would reveal how the average age of the spectators are around 61 years old.
During a long interview with World Wide of Sports, Australian legend Todd Woodbridge expressed doubts about the position of Djokovic, one of the players who has benefited most from the current best of five set formula.
Woodbridge on Novak Djokovic
According to Todd Woodbridge, the World No.
1 stood to benefit the most from the longer format given how his physique and game go hand-in-hand with the grueling demands of a best-of-5 sets match. "I'm a little surprised by Novak Djokovic's comments. He is one of those players that utilizes the best-of-5 format as well as anyone.
He has great fitness, he bounces back well from tough matches, and it's allowed him to win matches he would perhaps not have won if they were shorter," Woodbridge said. "If we were to make Grand Slams best-of-3, you're making it groundhog day," the Australian explained.
"Every tournament would look the same, and we shouldn't have that. We need the Majors to stand out, and best-of-5 gives that point of difference. The best part of tennis is the uniqueness of the Major tournaments."
It is curious to note how Djokovic would have five fewer Grand Slams in his showcase if they had played on short distance (US Open 2011, Australian Open 2012, Wimbledon 2014, Wimbledon 2015, Australian Open 2020). With Tennis Australia looking to host all its tournaments in Melbourne, Djokovic might skip them and directly play the Australian Open.
Given the 14-day quarantine, players will have to leave earlier than they would want to. And this doubt could push many to skip the ATP Cup if it happens. “From what I have heard and what I know of the latest news from Tennis Australia is that the Australian Open and the rest of the tournaments will be held in Victoria state, mostly Melbourne and around Melbourne,” Djokovic said.