Novak Djokovic suggests major tennis rule change in very passionate address at Wimbledon | Tennis | Sport

Novak Djokovic has called on tennis chiefs to shelve five-set matches in the early rounds of Grand Slam tournaments and instead introduce best-of-three showdowns. The Serbian presented his argument as he passionately addressed the media after defeating Alexei Popyrin at Wimbledon on Saturday evening.

Djokovic went up against his Australian opponent in the final clash of the day on Centre Court.

And he was forced to overturn a one-set deficit in a Wimbledon thriller as he eventually won 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6.

Djokovic, who has won the Wimbledon title seven times, was asked in a press conference after the clash for his thoughts about playing three sets in Grand Slams instead of five.

And the 37-year-old replied: “I think they should stay best-of-five. The only thing that I’m maybe thinking it could be good to consider is the opening rounds that could go best-of-three.

“Then you move into the hybrid of best-of-fives from the fourth rounds or quarters. That’s just me, my thinking.”

Djokovic has won his fair share of five-set matches over the years, having claimed a record 24 men’s Grand Slam titles.

The veteran last triumphed at a major at last year’s US Open but is yet to lift a Grand Slam trophy in 2024. And he continued: “Five-set matches – nowadays you can only see them in Grand Slams, right? That’s what I guess excites both players and the crowd. Most people love to see it. We as players like to play it.”

Djokovic went on to discuss his showdown with Roger Federer in the 2019 Wimbledon final, with the Serbian winning the fifth set 13-12 following a tiebreak in the decider. And he explained “The one that I can highlight was one of the most exciting matches I’ve ever played in my life, the five-setter against Federer here in the finals of Wimbledon 2019.

“So it was an incredible match with some match points saved. If that match was best-of-three – yes, I was two sets to one up – I think it would be quite different because he was the better player.”

And the veteran added: “Holger Rune was two sets to love down [against Quentin Halys on Saturday]. Still he’s not out, he can still win. I think if you’re physically fitter than your opponent or have more experience than your opponent in best-of-five, it still gives you a sense of confidence and tranquillity, even though you’re two sets to love down.

“Throughout my career, I’ve had quite a few matches where I was coming back from two sets to love or two sets to one down. Winning record mostly, positive score in a fifth setter.

“I enjoyed those throughout my career. I think they’re an important aspect of the history and of the future. I would support it, particularly in the latter stages of the Grand Slam.”

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