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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday November 17, 2020

This week at the ATP Finals the top players are sharing differing opinions on the best-of-five vs. best-of-three debate.

Rafael Nadal expressed his preference for best-of-three everywhere but the Slams, saying that he had played through the era with best-of-five Masters 1000 finals and that it had left him shattered physically, having to pull out of an event the very next week.

Tennis Express

“That, for example, happened to me in Rome, twice in a row, that I played 5 hours 14 and 5 hours 10 minutes against Coria in 2005 and against Roger in 2006 I was not able to go to Hamburg the next week,” he said.

Novak Djokovic’s support of the best-of-three format runs a bit deeper. The World No.1 said he’d like to see the format used “everywhere” on Monday when he spoke to reporters after his win over Diego Schwartzman.

But Djokovic knows that changing things at the Grand Slams would not be easy.

“I am more a proponent of two-out-of-three everywhere, even though of course slams have always been best-of-five,” he said. “So obviously it's historically been that way, so I don't know whether there is a chance at all for it to change. Yes, I am more of a proponent of best-of-three sets everywhere.”

Djokovic says he has the younger fans in mind when he thinks of the format.

“I don't see a reason why we should play best-of-five, even though of course there is a historical reason and it has been always that way, so it's a tradition,” he said. “But I just, yeah, I don't know, I just feel like the attention span as well of the fans, especially the younger generation, is shorter. So in order for us to really improve the product, so to say, of tennis, you know, I think commercially and marketing-wise I feel like we have to adapt to that younger generation.”

Daniil Medvedev joined Djokovic in supporting the best-of-three Format. The Russian, who owns a lifetime record of 0-6 in five-set matches, says that best-of-three has always been his preference.

“It's a tough question, because I actually saw that Rafa and Novak were answering probably your question,” he told the reporter who asked. “I'm not sure. They went completely opposite ways. I always say that me personally, not talking about history or something special, if you ask me, I would prefer out of three sets just because I play better in three-setters."

“So it's a tough question. I saw some comments that somebody said, Okay, let's do five-setters from quarters in majors. Of course I think it's not going to be the case, so again, if you ask me, I would do it three sets, but I know that that's not so popular opinion.”

On the other side of the coin was Alexander Zverev. The German gave the most decisive answer of any player that has been asked so far this week.

Should tennis be open to switching to best-of-three at the majors?

“Never,” he said. “Because that's tennis history. You don't change tennis history like that. You changed tennis history already with the Davis Cup, and that's working out not very great, is it? That's part of tennis history. That's part of the physical game that tennis is. We have a day off between matches at slams. This is what we put on the work for. This is what we are going to the gym for. This is what we do. Best-out-of-five sets at slams, it should stay forever.”

The debate lingers on… feel free to join it here by casting your vote:


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