Rafael Nadal Isn’t Questioning the Best-of-Five Format in Men’s Tennis

Photo: Rafa Nadal Instagram

Is there a benefit to keeping the best-of-five-set format at Grand Slam tournaments? Should it be changed to best-of-three?

Here’s what Rafael Nadal thinks:

The debate should not be here. You should look at it for what makes tennis more interesting from a fan’s point of view.

I think the Sunday match [against Medvedev in the US Open final] was a very attractive one, and it was a long one. But we were playing for a Grand Slam. I am the first in testing things, but in a Grand Slam, it’s important that the tradition is still there. It makes the matches being remembered.

In the end of the year, when you speak about the best matches, it’s the longest one, that was close and that had some drama. It’s a nice part of the game. It would be a mistake that it gets lost.

Source: La Vanguardia

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32 comments

  1. Does the TV staff ever complain about changing the NFL format? Football is approx. 3-4 hrs with halftime etc. I do not watch Football but I am sure the television watchers would NOT be happy if they changed it, or Baseball etc. This debate has been going on for years about Tennis. Grand Slams should always be Best of 5….. It is only 4 times a year… GET SERIOUS ….leave it alone

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  2. Sitting on the edge of my seat perspiration rolling down my cheeks/face watching this extraordinary five set U.S Open with Rafa playing is the only decision to be made for the Slams…can’t take that excitement away from me. Total heart stopping enjoyment/environment.

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  3. The accolades keep coming.

    WWE’s Triple H celebrated Rafa’s win by having a WWE custom made World Champion belt made for Rafa honoring his US Open win and 19th Grand Slam.

    “An incredible end to 4 HOURS and 50 MINUTES in the finals of the @USOpen. Congratulations to @RafaelNadal…this custom @WWE Championship should help celebrate your 19th Grand Slam title!”
    [SOURCES: DiariodeMallorca, EWRESTLINGNEWS, Twitter]

    RAFA ROCKS

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  4. I don’t think we should compare the Davis cup to the Slams. A lot of people have lost interest in the Davis cup.
    That’s why they had to shorten it. The best players from their countries don’t always play.

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    • Some players also cited scheduling as an important factor for not participating. While they love the idea of a traditional Davis Cup there were complaints about how little time they had to rest their bodies between tournaments and then having to play Davis Cup.

      As of now, Zverev will not play. Djokovic is injured and Roger is not happy about the new Davis Cup. He may not play.

      The quickest Djokovic may return to playing is at the Japan Open, if he decides to play this 500 tournament. He said the shoulder injury was worse than thought and is hoping to heal to avoid surgery. At this stage, Shanghai is an open question as is the remainder of his season.

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  5. Yes Rafa is correct..the excitement of a possible 5 setter in any match is brilliant. In Final it is the pinnacle of the Slam or Masters. Stamina determination and being up for the win is what keeps that player going to last point.

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  6. OLA OLA OLA OLA AND VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!:) CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR BEAUTIFUL US OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY!!!!!!:) BRILLIANT MATCHES AND SO MUCH BEAUTY IN EVERY POINT YOU PLAYED!!!!:) VERY HAPPY FOR YOU DEAR RAFA AND SEEING YOU THRIVE AND HAVING FUN IS PRECIOUS!!!!:) CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR BRILLIANT SUCCESS AND ENJOY EVERYTHING!!!!:) YOU ROCK SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!:) WE JUST WATCHED THE 11 MINUTES YOU TUBE VIDEO OF GREAT FOLKS DESCRIBING YOU AS THE ULTIMATE GOAT AND WE LOVED SEEING YOUR PRECIOUS VICTORIOUS MOMENTS AND ALL YOUR PRECIOUS WELL EARNED TITLES ……ENJOY EVERYTHING!!!!!!!) WE LOVE YOU AND SENDING LOTS OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS AND VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR PRIVATE LIFE AS WELL!!!!!!:) VAMOS SWEETHEART AND ENJOY A BEAUTIFUL WEEK!!!!!!:) XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

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  7. Haider’s idea is creative and doable. It’s a great compromise and provides the best support for the players without diminishing interest from the fans! Bravo!

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    • Haider’s idea? I read that in an Internet article.

      In the 1970s, three of the four slams tested best of three. It didn’t work out.

      I think the best-of-five format is here to stay.

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  8. Mark Ein gives his personal opinion in keeping the best of five format.

    “You want the most important tournaments to be the most arduous tests,” Ein said, voicing his opinion rather than an official USTA stance. “And you want them to reward the best of not just your ability to hit the ball, but your ability to be extraordinarily physically fit and mentally tough. If you’re going to win the U.S. Open, it needs to be a little bit harder.”
    [SOURCE: Chicago Tribune]

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  9. This is a question from a writer… do they have nothing else to ask?

    Rafa’s answer was stated perfectly… Changing the Grand Slam events from 5 sets to 3 shouldn’t even be brought up for discussion … Besides tradition, a Grand Slam is just that.. “Grand”… the best of 5 sets … It is this event that separates the men from the boys…. Stamina, intensity, and talent rises to the top… IMO Haider… if a player is too tired as he makes his way through the early rounds, he needs to train more.

    The best matches we have ever seen are from the Grand Slams just like this tremendous 5 set match Rafa/Daniil just played. This one…. the world will remember…..

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    • I respectfully recommend that grand slams should be played in 4 sets. If in the 4th set, both players earn 2 set wins each, the tournament shall be set to a tie break to determine the winner of the match or champion in the finals.

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  10. Tennis belongs in the category of endurance sports. I think the younger generation want shorter matches. Too lazy to train? Short attention span? Perhaps even laziness. If they shorten the slams then those who won them in 5 should be given an extra slam to be fair

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  11. Questioning the best of five format is nothing new and Rafa has ALWAYS given a great response for maintaining it; drama, memorable, and the fans love it.

    Even Medvedev said he feels when the spectators were rooting for him it was not against Rafa but because they didn’t want the match to end, they were not ready to go home. They wanted more of Rafa and Daniil battling for the big prize. And these two competitors surely delivered.

    RAFA NULLI SECUNDUS

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  12. I love that photo of Rafa. I agree with him on the best of five, but I wonder how long they will last? As we just saw, the Davis Cup has gone to best of three. I suspect Haider’s suggestion might happen. I am a huge Rafan, but I had to chuckle when he said that he likes to try new things. I think Rafa is very much a traditionalist in tennis.

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    • Rafa is always ready to try new things that may make tennis more popular. He supported the Davis Cup changes, saying that something needed to be done and this is at least a starting place. He proposed changing the ranking system so that ranking points lasted 2 years, similar to golf, so that players weren’t penalized so heavily for injuries and got accused of wanting that for himself. Rafa?? Who’s never dropped out of the Top Ten despite all his injuries? But it would have done a world of good for players like Del Potro, Raonic, Nishikori, Tsonga, Monfils…Rafa proposed altering Davis Cup to be more like soccer’s world cup, only maybe every 2 years. He’s played Fast 4’s Fast 10’s – not good formats for him. He supports roofs over stadiums despite them not being in his best interest.

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      • Well said, Ramara👏

        I think it was the right decision that they changed the master 1000 tournaments to best of three but grand slams should remain best of five in my opinion……

        I am not a Roger’s fan but I totally agree with what he says about Rafa, “Rafael Nadal has a heart of gold.”👍

        Vamos RAFA❤️

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    • va4favre, I agree that Rafa is a tennis traditionalist at heart.

      Davis Cup was on life support. He was in favor of changes in support of reviving such a storied and loved part of tennis history. He could have said it’s bleeding money, the stars don’t participate, and scheduling is a nightmare so who needs it. I think lending his voice in support of changes to keep Davis Cup points to his tennis traditionalist tendency. At this point, a tweaked Davis Cup is better than no Davis Cup. Let’s see if the changes made add an incentive for greater participation.

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  13. Rafa gave a beautiful answer and I think he’s absolutely correct. If the USO final had been a 3 set match it would have been over in 2 quick sets and no one would remember it. Memorable 5 set matches happen rather often. Memorable 3 set matches are rare. That’s why when they list the matches of the year, most of them are best of five. It’s what makes the slams special. The fact that women don’t play best of 5 weakens the women’s tour, in my opinion.

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    • Since the women get equal pay in Slams I think they should play 5 sets, but thinking how long some of them take to play 3 sets maybe not. Perhaps they should have their own Slams (5 sets) at a different venue -but Idon’t think many people would pay to watch them.

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  14. He is probably right, however if the officials do decide to experiment, then why not play best of three sets till round 4 then best of five from the quarter finals to the final. That way no one player will be too tired from expending too much energy in week 1 and we can see good quality tennis when it really matters.

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    • There are only 4 slams a year. They’re special. Why tinker with it. I’m sure most fans would agree. If it’s the TV staff complaining I think they should just ask for more overtime pay.

      Like

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