WTA CEO Steve Simon told the press over the weekend in Wuhan that he thinks shortening matches might help the sport of tennis.
Specifically, Simon suggested playing no-ad scoring with shorter sets (sets to 4 instead of 6) and using a match tie-break after the second set, all of which would benefit the sport. And these currently are the parameters in tour doubles.
“The attention spans of the audience today is shrinking. Everybody wants it in very short nuggets and to see somebody sit for two to three hours and watch anything anymore is getting harder and harder,” Simon told Sport360.
“Our future audience, that we need to begin embracing – now if a video is more than 20 seconds it is too long and they won’t even look at it.”
Rafael Nadal, however, does not agree. Nadal, who plays some of the longest matches, says the public won’t be as invested in a quick match are they are in a longer match.
“I don’t remember no one match in my life, not of me, or tennis in general, that the match finished in one hour,” Nadal said in Beijing. “I think is not in the memory of the people, these kind of matches. The kind of matches that stays on the memory and on the history of our sport are a little bit long matches and dramatic matches that become emotional, the physical issues, everything. You need to put everything together to create a great show, to create a show that the people emotionally feels involved on the match.
“I don’t remember a match that the people remember with just serves and winners and mistakes and short points. I am not sure if the people are looking for that.”
Nadal, who won the Beijing title in 2015, opens play Tuesday against Italian Paolo Lorenzi.
“For me is always special be back here. Is one of the most important places in my career. I won the gold medal in this place eight years ago. Goes quick,” Nadal said.
“Yes, I am excited to be back here. I need to keep practicing well this afternoon, tomorrow, try to be ready for the match on Tuesday. That’s all.”
Before focusing on the event, Nadal also got a chance to finally visit the Great Wall. “I’ve been here lot of times already. I had never the chance to visit it. I really enjoy it.”
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