World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas has been one of the very few ‘Next-Gen’ players who have managed to show that they have the skills and talents to compete for the highest honours in tennis. The 23-year old has made consistent runs in Grand Slams for a while and was a set away from winning the 2021 French Open but failed to do so.
The French Open finals was Stef’s first-ever Grand Slam final and he was up against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic who by then had won 18 majors and was looking for his second French Open title. Despite Stef going 2-sets up, Djokovic won the final 3-sets to claim his 19th major and second of the 2021 season.
Tennis is one of the few sports to have equal prize money for tournaments at least in the Grand Slam events as the Tour events vary. With the issue of equality being in discussion throughout, the Greek was asked the question during Media Day at the ongoing 2022 Miami Masters whether he would like to make a change to the format of Grand Slams for which he had an interesting theory of his own.
“I don’t want to be controversial or anything. There is also the topic of equal pay and everything, women getting equal pay for playing best-of-three, then getting equal pay for playing best-of-five. I don’t know. There are also a lot of scientists and statisticians, whatever, out there. I’ve been told that women have better endurance than men. I don’t know.
“Maybe they can also play best-of-five, I guess. For Grand Slams, best-of-five, I like it. On the other side, on the other hand, we would have seen much more variety when it comes to different Grand Slam winners if it was best-of-three, I believe. I very much believe that the winners of Grand Slams would be very different if the format was best-of-three in men,” said Stefanos.
“Alexander Zverev could have won US Open if it was best-of-three”: Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos put forth his case at the French Open and Alexander Zverev‘s case at the 2020 US Open where the German playing against Dominic Thiem won the first two sets but Thiem staged an epic comeback to win the next 3-sets and claim his first-ever Grand Slam title while Zverev continues his wait for his maiden major.
“Alexander Zverev, who did finals in US Open. He could have won the US Open if it was best-of-three. You have my case as well in Roland Garros. You have many other cases. I’m pretty sure you can find a lot of cases where the loser of a Grand Slam won the third set or won the first two sets, still somehow found yourself losing at the end.
“It’s different psychology. I’m sure it allows the greater players, the ones that have more experience when it comes to winning Grand Slam titles, on fighting back. It gives them more chances to get back into the match with a best-of-five format. I like it anyways. I like the best of five. I think it gets very physical. It makes for a great show, as well,” added Stef during the press conference.
While the theory stands true from his own perspective, a change in format that too this big a change would definitely require some proper research and thought process as the most important rule of the tournaments will be changing. Over to the Grand Slams and other bodies to think about the Greek’s suggestion.