Big 3 aside: What is the future of the ATP?

What is the future of the ATP?

  • Big 3 ruined them

  • Shift towards other records

  • Pretend the records dont exists

  • Create a new dynamic somehow

  • Just wont be as exciting


Results are only viewable after voting.

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
So put aside your Big3 fandom here, we get it: Fed good, Djoker bad, Rafa clay.

Go have your farm animal debate somewhere else.

This is to discuss the upcoming, and inevitable questionable future of the ATP. For the last 20+ years we have truly been blessed by the tennis Gods.

  1. 90's tennis and the beginning of record quests
  2. Early 2000's: The slam race begins and introduction of ATG Fed
  3. Mid 2000's: One of the greatest rivalries in sports begins, introduction into ATG Rafa
  4. Late 2000's: Feds slam race, introduction to Djoker
  5. 2010-2021: Slam race, weeks race, h2h race, masters race, and etc.
This was all a privilege and we have no right to complain. We enjoyed every minute of it...

However, will we pay the price?

What direction will the ATP tour take in 5+ years when the Big3 races and records are all a thing of the past? No new player will ever have a shot at essentially ANY record for a long long long time. What will the ATP try and sell. Who will buy it? Will they try to reshape the dynamic of the tour? Downplay the big 3 significance?

Now, everyone here loves tennis, yes, but to keep a sport thriving it needs new customers and excitement around it for non tennis freaks like us. We will still find a way to make it interesting for us, and we still will enjoy it, but the ATP is NOT worried about what we feel or think, they have their eyes set on potential customers.

Will be interesting to see how the ATP deals with this, because it is coming, and I dont think they have a plan.

What would you do? Any ideas?

 

James P

Legend
Good question. I'm sure tennis will retain most of its fandom, it just won't be as fanatical and all consuming. Probably see a moderate (20%) decline in consumption, but new players and rivalries will capture the attention of the audience.
 

alexio

Hall of Fame
Good question. I'm sure tennis will retain most of its fandom, it just won't be as fanatical and all consuming. Probably see a moderate (20%) decline in consumption, but new players and rivalries will capture the attention of the audience.
always thought it's hugh jackman, but it turned out to be med in your avi
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
Good question. I'm sure tennis will retain most of its fandom, it just won't be as fanatical and all consuming. Probably see a moderate (20%) decline in consumption, but new players and rivalries will capture the attention of the audience.
Yeah, I think that will work for us, but a loss in revenue and attention from the media hurts us true fans too.

I will still be watching, but that 20% could be hugely detrimental to the tour.

Any ideas what they could see us on, as I dont see "big star" working post big3 unless someone is racking up the slams.
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
Big 3 did ruin the future of ATP a bit.
Think about this.

Tiger rejuvenated and grew a sport like never before during his prime. Since he has tailed off so has the tour. Yet, that was just one man and one record.

Look at what Phelps did for swimming. People were drawn to the Olympics when he was in it. Not so much anymore.

Without the big3 the ATP will have to do something very dynamic.
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
We are lucky there are big 3. There will always be great players.
Well, maybe, but it could be hard to tell in 5 years.

But great players wont get it done in the future if they want to grow the sport. It is not a team sport, but an individual one that needs something more than good to great players.
 
I think as new slam winners come by default, we should get some serial finalists/rivalries develop which will capture some interest, particularly from casual fans. Anyone who grew attached to the level of tennis displayed by the big 3 will likely be disappointed for a while by the looks of things.
 

HazBeen18

Rookie
I remember when the Connors/McEnroe/Llendl era wore down and people were talking about how boring it was watching Becker and Edberg trade Wimbledon titles. But I LOVED those Becker/Edberg Wimbledons: so evenly matched... such excellent grass-court players. Then, when Pete retired, it was the "end of an era... we'll never see his like again... no more Pete vs. Andre yada yada" and then Fed shows up... and then it is the era of Darth Fed.. unbeatable.. unmatched... and then Rafa shows up, and then Nole, and then Murray, etc. etc... There will be more great tennis personalities and more great tennis rivalries. It's hard to see that right now, but history tells us it will happen.
 

Jonesy

Hall of Fame
Well, maybe, but it could be hard to tell in 5 years.

But great players wont get it done in the future if they want to grow the sport. It is not a team sport, but an individual one that needs something more than good to great players.
Change is inevitable like death, perhaps if people want new excitement they can invent new ultra fast balls or electrical shots. Change tournament rules to make it ruthless to win a tournament. Perhaps VR tennis is the future.
 

Indigo

Semi-Pro
It seems tennis doesn't have big champions any more. Without a distinctive champion tennis will fail. ATP tried to promote new generation but it also failed against geriatric Big 3. New generation doesn't have any weight any more because it didn't dethrone Big 3. Big 3 was dethroned by no one. Tennis as a sport is Finnish.
 

Nadal_King

Hall of Fame
I think in WTA there is no talk of such records and all currently apart from when serena is playing but still it has established itself well like there are likes of osaka, halep who have established themselves so once a new guy comes around and wins 3-4 slams there will be again that feeling of having someone big around
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
I think in WTA there is no talk of such records and all currently apart from when serena is playing but still it has established itself well like there are likes of osaka, halep who have established themselves so once a new guy comes around and wins 3-4 slams there will be again that feeling of having someone big around
Hope so. But womens tennis basically has one. There was no current race, it was a static race. The atp tour has been built by the big3, but can it sustain it without it? I have yet to see how.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
It's going to be tough.

Whereas the WTA has Serena, even if she breaks the slam record, she won't have done absolutely everything (won't have the weeks at No 1 record, the CYGS etc.). And there are a bunch of different, exciting young champions out there now (Osaka, Barty, Andreescu, Swiatek etc.) who could enjoy some great rivalries over the coming years. One or more of them might get to 10+ slams and be considered legends of the sport, even if Serena remains ranked above them.

The ATP however has three icons still playing (and let's be honest, barring Novak Djokovic's DQ at the USO last year, still winning everything). If all three of these guys retire with 20+ slams, the weeks at No 1 record, the YEC record, insane consistency records like Fed's weeks at No 1/consecutive slam finals, Nadal's RG records etc, there will be literally nowhere for the young guns to go - even if some of them did display the talent and personality of the young WTA stars.

The sport will therefore have to move towards a different dynamic, rather than the chasing of records. Perhaps the game could move back towards something like the 90s, where conditions on different surfaces varied substantially, allowing a lot of entertaining players to emerge on different surfaces. They could re-introduce a big money tournament like the Grand Slam Cup. A charismatic talent from Asia would help, much as Osaka / Li have done on the WTA. Essentially, the ATP has to re-invent itself and create new narratives - because there'll never be another time again when so many record breakers play simultaneously.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
So put aside your Big3 fandom here, we get it: Fed good, Djoker bad, Rafa clay.

Go have your farm animal debate somewhere else.

This is to discuss the upcoming, and inevitable questionable future of the ATP. For the last 20+ years we have truly been blessed by the tennis Gods.

  1. 90's tennis and the beginning of record quests
  2. Early 2000's: The slam race begins and introduction of ATG Fed
  3. Mid 2000's: One of the greatest rivalries in sports begins, introduction into ATG Rafa
  4. Late 2000's: Feds slam race, introduction to Djoker
  5. 2010-2021: Slam race, weeks race, h2h race, masters race, and etc.
This was all a privilege and we have no right to complain. We enjoyed every minute of it...

However, will we pay the price?

What direction will the ATP tour take in 5+ years when the Big3 races and records are all a thing of the past? No new player will ever have a shot at essentially ANY record for a long long long time. What will the ATP try and sell. Who will buy it? Will they try to reshape the dynamic of the tour? Downplay the big 3 significance?

Now, everyone here loves tennis, yes, but to keep a sport thriving it needs new customers and excitement around it for non tennis freaks like us. We will still find a way to make it interesting for us, and we still will enjoy it, but the ATP is NOT worried about what we feel or think, they have their eyes set on potential customers.

Will be interesting to see how the ATP deals with this, because it is coming, and I dont think they have a plan.

What would you do? Any ideas?

After Nadal and Federer glory period is over tennis will radically change. Within 5 years slams will be best of 3 sets and probably the slams will lose their prestige and there may be a Super 10 events or something. Probably the scoring system will change to make tennis much more quick fire as they perhaps look at 2020 Cricket as an example of maximising revenue.
Within 20 years the likes of Nadal and Federer will be consigned to a by gone era of slow play and long matches in an era of an innocent slow paced world.
It is why Nadal is actually genuine and honest in that he doesnt really care that much about records. He has worked out that while the here and now is great in life things move on quickly and he has worked out that once he retires he will be forgotten within a few years as will Federer etc. It has always been thus but nowadays the generations coming through have no respect for history and have a me me culture and live virtually through apps. It is all about for them living in the moment and the world is changing to reflect that.
It is utterly depressing but sadly a reality.
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
It's going to be tough.

Whereas the WTA has Serena, even if she breaks the slam record, she won't have done absolutely everything (won't have the weeks at No 1 record, the CYGS etc.). And there are a bunch of different, exciting young champions out there now (Osaka, Barty, Andreescu, Swiatek etc.) who could enjoy some great rivalries over the coming years. One or more of them might get to 10+ slams and be considered legends of the sport, even if Serena remains ranked above them.

The ATP however has three icons still playing (and let's be honest, barring Novak Djokovic's DQ at the USO last year, still winning everything). If all three of these guys retire with 20+ slams, the weeks at No 1 record, the YEC record, insane consistency records like Fed's weeks at No 1/consecutive slam finals, Nadal's RG records etc, there will be literally nowhere for the young guns to go - even if some of them did display the talent and personality of the young WTA stars.

The sport will therefore have to move towards a different dynamic, rather than the chasing of records. Perhaps the game could move back towards something like the 90s, where conditions on different surfaces varied substantially, allowing a lot of entertaining players to emerge on different surfaces. They could re-introduce a big money tournament like the Grand Slam Cup. A charismatic talent from Asia would help, much as Osaka / Li have done on the WTA. Essentially, the ATP has to re-invent itself and create new narratives - because there'll never be another time again when so many record breakers play simultaneously.
Exactly. Plus, they beat Williams many times in slams.
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
After Nadal and Federer glory period is over tennis will radically change. Within 5 years slams will be best of 3 sets and probably the slams will lose their prestige and there may be a Super 10 events or something. Probably the scoring system will change to make tennis much more quick fire as they perhaps look at 2020 Cricket as an example of maximising revenue.
Within 20 years the likes of Nadal and Federer will be consigned to a by gone era of slow play and long matches in an era of an innocent slow paced world.
It is why Nadal is actually genuine and honest in that he doesnt really care that much about records. He has worked out that while the here and now is great in life things move on quickly and he has worked out that once he retires he will be forgotten within a few years as will Federer etc. It has always been thus but nowadays the generations coming through have no respect for history and have a me me culture and live virtually through apps. It is all about for them living in the moment and the world is changing to reflect that.
It is utterly depressing but sadly a reality.
Scoring might honestly be the change they make unfortunately. Yep, the new generations have no appeal. They just dont seem to live for the game.
 

clout

Hall of Fame
Bit of both, obviously the tennis world has been helped greatly by the big 3 + Serena in the last 15-20 years now and the records they've re-written and are still chasing are enticing to watch.

On the flip side, when Fed, Rafa and Djoker leave, there will definitely be a hole in the game, the same way the NBA took a dip shortly after MJ retired and when Tiger Woods when on a several years long injury hiatus in golf. No more records to chase, no more watching the greatest players ever play live and every new player will be held in an unfair comparison to them.
 

Tennis_Hands

Bionic Poster
The quest for new rivalries will continue. If we are lucky, the tennis authorities will stop putting their dirty fingers in the process and let it develop naturally. That is the only hope for tennis to remain as we know it today. I am pessimistic that that will happen, but we shall see. Stranger things have happened.

If not, the sport will transform into a heavily commercialised show, probably with massive rule changes. That will basically wipe out the traditional tennis fan, and with him the demise of the sport will be full. I am preparing for that time by transforming a meadow into a tennis court and putting white painted wooden benches and garden chairs next to a bar with refreshment drinks to mock the hilarity of it all.

:happydevil::cool:
 

Robert F

Professional
I think you'll see some stagnation. Some guys might pick up 3-4 slams. But it will still be compared to the Big 3 until there is some event or change that in a sense resets records and games.
Weightlifting has adjusted it's weight classes to create new world records.
Comic books and fantasy fiction have retcons and reboots...what could reboot tennis?

Beckerserve makes some good predictions. But, I'm hoping of reboot that would make tennis better not necessarily more convenient. I'm a traditionalist, so I shudder when we talk about reducing score.
The previous resets of tennis seemed to make tennis better--most importantly the Open Era. It elevated all events in prestige and let the best players play.

If you go to best of 3, get rid of Ad scoring and start replacing 3rd sets in smaller events, it seems to weaken the quality, it might make it shorter but something seems lost.

What could make tennis better not more convenient? That would allow a good line in the sand. If you make it more convenient you only elevated the Big 3 titles.
Yeah I won 15 slams, best of 3, no AD. Fedd had to do it with B05, that must have been tough.

I wonder if UTR replacing rankings and seedings would create a new metric--highest UTR. Longest UTR.
I hate to say it, but if slams turned into 16 or 32 draw with a back draw and double elimination. This way you have 2 weeks of the best players playing each other.
I guess technology might create a new era--but what could change the game more than strings?
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
I think you'll see some stagnation. Some guys might pick up 3-4 slams. But it will still be compared to the Big 3 until there is some event or change that in a sense resets records and games.
Weightlifting has adjusted it's weight classes to create new world records.
Comic books and fantasy fiction have retcons and reboots...what could reboot tennis?

Beckerserve makes some good predictions. But, I'm hoping of reboot that would make tennis better not necessarily more convenient. I'm a traditionalist, so I shudder when we talk about reducing score.
The previous resets of tennis seemed to make tennis better--most importantly the Open Era. It elevated all events in prestige and let the best players play.

If you go to best of 3, get rid of Ad scoring and start replacing 3rd sets in smaller events, it seems to weaken the quality, it might make it shorter but something seems lost.

What could make tennis better not more convenient? That would allow a good line in the sand. If you make it more convenient you only elevated the Big 3 titles.
Yeah I won 15 slams, best of 3, no AD. Fedd had to do it with B05, that must have been tough.

I wonder if UTR replacing rankings and seedings would create a new metric--highest UTR. Longest UTR.
I hate to say it, but if slams turned into 16 or 32 draw with a back draw and double elimination. This way you have 2 weeks of the best players playing each other.
I guess technology might create a new era--but what could change the game more than strings?
Alll great points. I think taking away seedings could be good, at least for slam drama. But that will fade eventually, and could cause repercussions in the long run.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Yes agree. Medvedev reaction after losing to Djokovic was disgraceful. How anyone can be smiling after a loss and joking is alien to me. Clearly did not hurt enough for him
I'm especially disappointed because Medvedev seemed a bit more serious than guys like Zverev and Tsitsipas. He'd won 20 consecutive matches, beating many top players, yet collapsed in the final. Obviously Djoker in the AO final is going to be a very tough proposition, and if Med had say, lost in 5 and clearly been hurt by the defeat, I wouldn't criticise him. But yet again, his performance was another one from a youngster who just looked happy to be there in the presence of a Big 3 member.
 

ADuck

Hall of Fame
I don't blame the Big 3 more so much as I blame the "next gen." I think one day we'll figure out smartphones are the cause of this lull in ATG tennis players. Never being bored has to have had some consequences.
 

Lew II

G.O.A.T.
I'm especially disappointed because Medvedev seemed a bit more serious than guys like Zverev and Tsitsipas. He'd won 20 consecutive matches, beating many top players, yet collapsed in the final. Obviously Djoker in the AO final is going to be a very tough proposition, and if Med had say, lost in 5 and clearly been hurt by the defeat, I wouldn't criticise him. But yet again, his performance was another one from a youngster who just looked happy to be there in the presence of a Big 3 member.
Look how frustrated he was today. Of course the AO loss hurt him. It's not a lack of motivation, it's Djokovic being too good.

 

BGod

Legend
All downhill. Historians will accurately assess the early 21st century period being the peak of physical sport entertainment.

Talent dilution due to more sports gaining traction and the inevitability of e-sports will render physical sport competitions an elder interest.

People under 40 in 2050 won't be paying attention to any group of atholetes.

Big 3 will literally be the end reference for the big book of tennis.

In the 22nd century, the 2000s will be defined by changing bio-tech landscape, AI & virtual living. Sport as we know it will be a niche interest.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Look how frustrated he was today. Of course the AO loss hurt him. It's not a lack of motivation, it's Djokovic being too good.

He didn't seem especially hurt after the AO final.

Like I said, it's not exactly the fact that Novak Djokovic defeated him, but the manner of the defeat and Medvedev's attitude.
 

uscwang

Hall of Fame
I hope to see a change in the financial aspect of tennis such that it supports more pros and semi-pros and thereby draws more talents, from poor countries and poor families in rich countries.

I also see IT, AI, and robots in particulate playing a bigger role in the tennis training. In ten years, we might have a robot that can beat ATP #1 in tennis.
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
All downhill. Historians will accurately assess the early 21st century period being the peak of physical sport entertainment.

Talent dilution due to more sports gaining traction and the inevitability of e-sports will render physical sport competitions an elder interest.

People under 40 in 2050 won't be paying attention to any group of atholetes.

Big 3 will literally be the end reference for the big book of tennis.

In the 22nd century, the 2000s will be defined by changing bio-tech landscape, AI & virtual living. Sport as we know it will be a niche interest.


But I just dont see that happening.
 

BGod

Legend
I hope to see a change in the financial aspect of tennis such that it supports more pros and semi-pros and thereby draws more talents, from poor countries and poor families in rich countries.

I also see IT, AI, and robots in particulate playing a bigger role in the tennis training. In ten years, we might have a robot that can beat ATP #1 in tennis.
Unfortunately it's the game itself. In team sports for example you have regional sponsorships. So the 80th best player in the league can still make bank in a particular region. In tennis the only team concept is national attention but that only comes with big time success at the Slams. Mind you Australia does a far better job than Canada for example but that's not going to change universally any time soon. How the payouts work might be tweaked but there are still massive advantages the higher seeds get that translates into easy money. Plus not every tournament can have the prize money payouts like the USO which gave 58k for 1st round exits and 18k for 2nd Qualifying winner. Indian Wells gives 16k for 1st round losers as one of the higher secondary tournaments but when accounting for expenses that might be close to minimum for a lot of players. But to change the cultural thinking of giving more prize money to 1st and 2nd round losers is asking a lot. As for subsidies for tennis in poorer nations, that's unlikely to happen outside individual player involvement.




But I just dont see that happening.
The easiest way or I suppose the most logical to predict future progression is considering previous periods of progression and multiplying by 2. For example, look at progress made in movies from 1980-2020 and consider that same level of progress will be made from 2020-2040. Same in sport. Reality of sport in North America being saturated is just, well undeniable. The money aspect stems from shift in sponsorships, not necessarily more people spending a higher percentage of their earnings. But let's look at gridiron football, in the 1970s a lot of players in the highest league (NFL) had second jobs during the off-season, if not more than half considering all the bench spots. Now a lot has improved but most contracts are not guaranteed and the average tenure of a pro is still about 3-4 years. We'll see how brain damage affects the future of the sport but there's already a noticeable trend in student athletes playing less football. I mean, brain damage for no money and higher risk of injury inherent to the sport.

But what do you think is realistic by 2050 for example? Surely the only captivating next thing would be a player winning all 4 Slams in a year right? Then what if it happens more than once a decade? And most of the records won't just be unreachable, the Top 3 in most categories will be unreachable.
 
Top