Novak Djokovic shares deep analysis on the future of tennis

The Serbian champion has underlined how it is very important to ensure that more athletes can make a living playing our beloved tennis

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Novak Djokovic shares deep analysis on the future of tennis
© Francois Nel / Staff Getty Images Sport

What are the big problems that are plaguing tennis, which Novak Djokovic also talked about at the press conference at after beating Alexei Popyrin in the 3rd roud of Wimbledon? The Serbian tennis player focused on the problems and challenges that the world of tennis will have to face in the near future From a question asking his opinion on whether the Grand Slam tournaments should confirm the format of 5 sets or should switch to 2 sets out of 3, the Serbian has analyzed in depth what are the problems that tennis organizations will have to focus on, especially to ensure that many players can actually make a living playing tennis.

"We must, beyond the Slams, understand how to attract a young crowd and youg people. In a way, tennis is in a great position, but at the same time I think both circuits need to improve in terms of growing our sport. The Grand Slams will always be good. We are fortunate to be a global and historic sport. One of the studies that the PTPA did three years ago showed that tennis is the third/fourth most popular sport in the world. However, when it comes to business opportunities and how to capitalize on that popularity, tennis is ninth or tenth on the list.

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport
 

There is a huge amount of room for growth. We need to grow the number of players who make a living from this sport. Very rarely do I see articles in the press that there are only about 350 or 400 players, men, women, singles and doubles, who make a living from this sport. For me, that is worrying. We talk a lot about the winner of a Grand Slam who gets this and that. The focus is always on the big prize. And the base? Tennis is a global sport, loved by millions of kids who want to pick up a racket and play.

However, we don’t make it accessible. It’s not that affordable, especially in countries like mine. It should also be noted that tennis is the king of racket sports but at club level it is in danger. If we don’t do something about it, padel or pickleball will turn tennis clubs into something else, simply because they are cheaper. For a club owner, it is much more convenient to build three padel courts in the space of a tennis court. If we look at it in a broad and global sense, these are the challenges we have to face. They have been there for a long time, but I don’t think we are addressing them properly.

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport
 

5 sets in the Majors? Today in the Slams there are best of 5 sets matches and I guess that’s what excites the fans the most. And it’s also true for us players. One of the most exciting matches I’ve played in my life was the 2019 Wimbledon final against Roger Federer. It was the first year they introduced the tie-break after reaching 12-all in the fifth set. If that match had been best of three sets it would have been very different.

Another situation: Holger Rune, my next opponent, would be out in three sets today, instead he came back from two sets down and is still in the competition. During my career there have been several matches where I was down 2-0 or 2-1 and then I won. They are a very important aspect of the history and future of this sport. I am in favor of five-set matches, especially in the final rounds of Slams. I have seen that there is a lot of discussion about it, that people often ask themselves whether Slams should be best of three sets. The only thing I think could be positive is to consider making the first rounds best of three sets.  And play best of five sets starting from the fourth round or the quarterfinals. I don't know, that's my thought. I think, however, that five sets should remain, especially in the last three or four rounds of the Slams," he explained.

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport
 

Djokovic qualified for the 4th round of Wimbledon after beating Popyrin in 4 sets. The result - in terms of sets - was identical to that of the last match of the 3rd round, but the performance that accompanied the success can this time give more confidence to Novak Djokovic. The Serbian champion will have the chance to play the 16th 4th round at Wimbledon (only Roger Federer has done better than him - ed.) thanks to the 95th victory (like Billie Jean King - ed.) obtained on the lawns of the All England Club. Djokovic defeated Popyrin in a comeback - an opponent who had already created more than one headache for him in Melbourne this year - with the score of 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6( 3) .

Novak Djokovic
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