Novak Djokovic suggests change to Olympic tennis format
LONDON (AP) -- Novak Djokovic is a fan of the round-robin format in tennis, and he would even like to see it used at the Olympics and the Davis Cup.
Djokovic, who is chasing the year-end No. 1 ranking this week at the season-ending tournament, praised the system at the ATP finals, where players can lose a match in the first round and still advance to the semifinals.
“I think this format is exciting,” Djokovic said Thursday after winning his third straight match at the ATP finals. “I mean, look, it’s the only tournament in the year that we have this kind of format. I like playing in the round-robin system.”
Djokovic, who lost to eventual silver medalist Juan Martin del Potro in the first round at the Rio de Janeiro Games, then said he thinks the format could be used at the Olympics.
“I guess you play more matches,” said Djokovic, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games. “The people like to see the top players being at least for a couple matches, two, three matches, in the tournament. It gives more value to the event.”
Djokovic also criticized the Davis Cup, a team tournament spread out through the year. He proposed condensing it to make it easier on the top players.
“Once a year ... two weeks, have a round-robin format,” Djokovic said. “Have teams play in different locations, then come together in one location and play a knock-out stage, quarterfinals, semifinals, final four, whatever.
“It’s a no-brainer. I’m not the only one to have this kind of opinion about it. Many of the players have been talking about this format and the schedule, top players especially.”
Djokovic also said the three-day, best-of-five set system could be cut to two days and best-of-three matches. But he said the International Tennis Federation hasn’t been receptive to change.
“The only thing that they wanted to change is the neutral final, I think for next year or the year after that ... nobody agrees with that,” Djokovic said. “Again, you’re taking away from the players the one thing that players love about Davis Cup, which is the home tie, the home crowd.
“I don’t know how the future of Davis Cup will look like,” Djokovic added. “But there is definitely something radically that has to change.”