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Novak Djokovic fears for popularity of tennis

Novak Djokovic fears for popularity of tennis

Novak Djokovic has claimed that tennis is "endangered" by the rise of racket sports like padel and pickleball.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion fears that the sport is not "accessible" and "affordable" to youngsters who want to play and that its future will be at risk unless changes are made.

Djokovic said: "Tennis is a very global sport and it’s loved by millions of children that pick up a racket and want to play, but we don’t make it accessible. We don’t make it so affordable."

The world number two thinks that padel and pickleball could overtake tennis in terms of popularity as it is more "economical" to have three padel courts as opposed to just a single tennis court.

Djokovic explained: "Now we have the padel … that is growing and emerging. People kind of have fun with it and say: ‘Yeah, but tennis is tennis.’ Tennis is the king or queen of all the racket sports, that’s true. But on a club level, tennis is endangered.

"If we don’t do something about it, as I said, globally or collectively, padel, pickleball in [the] States, they’re going to convert all the tennis clubs into padel and pickleball because it’s just more economical.

"You have one tennis court. You can build three padel courts on one tennis court. You do the simple math. It’s just much more financially viable for an owner of a club to have those courts."

Djokovic thinks that tennis could follow the example of Formula 1 - which has soared in popularity in recent years with the aid of the Netflix series 'Drive to Survive' - to boost its fanbase.

He said: "When we look at Formula 1, for example, and what they have done in terms of marketing, in terms of growth of the sport, in terms of the races around the world and how popular they are, I think we need to do a better job on our respective tours."

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