Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have weighed in on the rule changes being used at the ATP NextGen Finals, saying they don’t want any big adjustments to the way the game is played.
The Grand Slam events, according to British newspapers, are also looking at changes like going back to 16 seeds instead of 32 seeds, and introducing a shot clock.
Speaking to press before the ATP Tour Finals in London, Federer said there were some advantages to having 16 seeds, even though it helps him avoid higher ranked players during the first week.
“That might be interesting. The draw could be more volatile, better matches in the first week,” he suggested. “That’s how it used to be when I came up, way back when. There’s definitely something intriguing about having 16 seeds. I do see the problem of the 32 seeds, plus you have eight seeds who get byes at Masters.
“The top guys have made a habit of not cruising but getting through the first week quite comfortably for a long period of time.”
But, he added, “Playing against the Nos. 17, 19 or 20 in the world is not something I really want to do.”
Federer also commented on the numerous changes being used at the NextGen Finals, which included sets to 4 games instead of 6 games, no-ad scoring, electronic line-calling instead of lines people, and coaching.
“I enjoyed watching it on TV, I watched a lot,” he said. “Sure, there were a lot [of] rule changes, but it didn’t feel too different.”
But he noted that the more compact scoring would affect the way players played.
“The longer sets allow you to stretch a lead…try different things,” he said. “You can work on stuff – whereas, when every point counts so much…there’s no room for anything any more. There are positives and negatives to it but, for the most part, I don’t like to see anything change that much, to be honest.”
Nadal was also non-committal about the NextGen Finals changes.
“I cannot say if that is the way or not,” said Nadal. “But by trying new things you can find a way that works better.
“There are some thing I like, some things I don’t like. Nothing is perfect.”
But he added that he is not against change, and notes the game has stayed the same for a long time.
“We are in a sport where we have a big tradition — not many changes have been made in all of its history,” he said. “If you asked me ‘do you want changes,’ I will say ‘no’. I am number one in the world, I have achieved a lot of things, but if the game needs something to be more attractive for the fans, that’s the way.”
The pair will be the top two seeds at the ATP Tour Finals.