Over the past few years, there have been several debates about the length of Grand Slam matches on the men's tour. Many have appealed for a change from best-of-five sets to best-of-three, with American journalist Ben Rothenberg being one of the most vocal of those proponents.
Now, Rafael Nadal has also weighed in on the issue. Speaking to the press after his dominant 6-3, 6-4 win over Andrey Rublev at the Nitto ATP Finals, the Spaniard vehemently opposed any change in format.
Nadal cited the historical tradition of the Slams and the one-day break between matches as the reasons for his stance.
Must keep that fundamental part of the history of our sport: Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal pointed out the difference in the length of matches during a one-week tournament and a Grand Slam, and claimed that the Majors are 'different' than regular tour level events due to the format.
"I am totally against it in the Grand Slams," Rafael Nadal said when asked whether best-of-three sets should be implemented at the Majors. "As we have a day off between games, we must keep that fundamental part of the history of our sport."
Playing five sets makes players more physically and mentally demanding: Rafael Nadal
With 20 Major titles, Rafael Nadal is currently the joint-most successful men's tennis player - alongside Roger Federer - at the Grand Slams. His most recent triumph came at this year's French Open, where he defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the final.
The Spaniard's intense physicality and mental toughness have long been credited as the reasons behind his incredible success at the Slams. And according to Nadal, those qualities are necessary if a player wants to achieve glory at the Majors.
"Playing five sets in the Grand Slams makes the difference because it makes all tennis players more physically and mentally demanding. It is something different," said the World No. 2.
Rafael Nadal has come into the Nitto ATP Finals on the back of his record-equaling 20th Grand Slam at Roland Garros. He is now on the hunt for his first year-end title, and he is in prime position to make at least the semis.
Following his win against Andrey Rublev, the Spaniard will next face last year's runner-up Dominic Thiem on Tuesday. Nadal's last match of the round-robin stage will be against defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday.Published 16 Nov 2020, 23:47 IST