Novak Djokovic calls for changes in tennis or the sport could die

Tennis news 07 july 2024, 08:45
Robert Sykes Dailysports's expert Robert Sykes
Novak Djokovic calls for changes in tennis or the sport could die Photo: / Author unknown

After his victory over Alexei Popyrin, Novak Djokovic voiced his concerns about the current state of tennis during a press conference. The Serbian tennis star warned that without changes, emerging sports like padel tennis or pickleball could overshadow traditional tennis.

The former world number one expressed his belief that tennis is the greatest racquet sport but emphasized the need for innovations, particularly in marketing. His comments were reported by the Spanish publication Sport.

"Regarding innovations in our sport, besides Grand Slam tournaments, we need to find ways to attract a younger audience.

Tennis is, on one hand, in a good state. But at the same time, when we look at what Formula 1 has done in terms of marketing, developing the sport, and global popularity, we realize we need to work better in our tours. Grand Slam tournaments will always do well, but our tours need improvement.

We are fortunate to be a historic and global sport. Studies have shown that tennis is the third or fourth most popular sport in the world alongside cricket, with football first and basketball second. Tennis and cricket follow, but tennis ranks ninth or tenth in terms of commercial appeal. We need to learn how to capitalize on this.

We have huge growth opportunities and need to increase the number of players who can make a living from this sport."

Djokovic was also asked about his opinion on playing Grand Slam matches in a best-of-three format. The former ATP number one acknowledged that this is a contentious issue but suggested a hybrid system could be considered.

"You have asked many players whether the best-of-5 format should be turned into best-of-3 at Grand Slam tournaments. I don't think so. I believe they should remain best-of-5.

However, one thing that might be worth considering is to have the early rounds best-of-3, and then from the fourth rounds or quarter-finals onwards, switch to best-of-5. I don't know. This is just my opinion."

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