John McEnroe proposes a 'revolutionary' change for Majors

The American legend suggested an alternative to the fifth set in Slams, to reduce the length of matches

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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John McEnroe proposes a 'revolutionary' change for Majors
© Elsa/Stuff Getty Images

During an interview with The Times, the American legend John McEnroe, now a BBC commentator, suggested a curious solution to reduce the duration of matches, defined by the American himself as revolutionary. Between those who propose the transition from five to three sets also in the Slams, and those who defend the traditional best-of-five-set system, McEnroe took a stand in the middle, suggesting a 10-point super tiebreak that replaces the deciding set.

"I would propose a middle ground. It's a compromise I would start from, instead of going to best of three sets. There's something that separates the men from the boys when you play best of five sets instead of best of three. It's a big change from the regular Tour and a big demand, so you need a combination of explosive speed and endurance, which makes tennis a lot more difficult," he told.

John McEnroe
John McEnroe© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images
 

McEnroe then talked about the criticism of a fragmented and physically demanding schedule due to interruptions for weather reasons.

"Welcome to the world of tennis. There are times when there is uncertainty. Once upon a time there was more uncertainty when you didn't know if you would play if it rained and there was no roof. The idea of ​​playing half below the roof and half open air is much better. I wish I had a roof when I play, let's put it that way. The BBC, for example, and the All England Club say, 'Hey, sometimes people like to watch it at 8 or 9pm, when the ratings are great. People are sitting down after a long hard day at work and maybe want to watch some tennis, so it's not the worst thing to do in the evening. We try to find the right balance. It's not always easy to find the right balance," he explained.

Over the years, with the evolution of the rules and technological evolution, the Majors have undergone important changes, which have significantly reduced the duration of the matches. One above all, the introduction of the tie-break in the fifth set. However, the scheduling of some events and some delays caused by bad weather often led tennis players to stay on the court until late at night, and then face the next match with less than forty-eight hours of rest. That of reducing the playing time of some tennis tournaments, especially the Slams, is one of the themes circulated most insistently in the speeches of enthusiasts and experts.

John Mcenroe
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