The Game

3 or 5 sets?

3 or 5 sets? I am always more drawn to the Grand Slams, partly because they are the most important but I also enjoy the five-set format.

In my opinion, the five-set format creates more room for seesaw and drama. We all want a match to be a story, right?

I think the issue with three-set matches is that if a player starts slowly, the match can quickly run away from them. The possibility of coming back from two sets down creates some breathing room for the player.

Should women play 3 or 5 sets?

I would love to see the women also play five sets in a slam. I understand it might be physically more gruelling, but maybe they can start doing it from the quarter-finals? Just for the chance to build more of a storyline around your match.

I know that the Next Gen finals tried the four games and five sets format, but that feels a bit weird. Maybe it’s a thing we can get used to though?

Have you ever played a five-set match yourself? It’s rough! I’ve played five sets as an experiment and I was pretty broken down afterwards.

It’s tough, but it’s so much more fun to watch. Discuss!


View Comments

  • I agree that women's tennis should be decided on the 5-set format for the reasons you state. It should start from round one too. I don't think that stamina has a big gender gap. For example, the difference in average marathon times by gender is only about 20mins, and 13 minutes at the top end of endurance running. I'm sure these athletes would meet the challenge.

  • In theory 100% yes but there would be a logistical problem especially in the early rounds if many matches go long, also there are so many blow outs in the early rounds in women's tennis (6-0, 6-1) etc. it's hardly worth it watching another set of such a blowout, 5 sets for QF, SF, F? I think that would be a good idea but still the way tournaments schedule matches it could case problems if the first match of a night session for example goes very long, is it fair for the second match to start at 11.30-12pm? so they play till 4am? most of the crowd would go home a little unhappy they couldn't see the end of it because they have a life to lead and most people would switch off also, 2 potential five set matches in a row is just a bit much for most people to sit down and watch. But the women's final should be 5 sets for sure and it's a disgrace that it isn't.

  • Three-set tennis has changed the profile of tennis players. Before then there were more short tennis players, since it was possible to win based on resistance in a long game. Now everything has been oriented so that the player of great stature almost always wins the tennis player of short stature.
    That way of shortening tennis harms our sport and makes it more unpopular. We must return to the origins and recover the five sets at all levels. That will make the game stop being something so fast and so beast.
    Serve and volley tennis players have also been lost, since the strings and rackets shoot faster, but the return of matches to five sets would make it easier to resume that strategy, since there would be less tiring and the baseline tennis player who is a passer, could be defeated from the net.

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