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T30 tennis Blog ATP President Chris Kermode on Innovation and Where Is The Next Generation of Fans?

Updated: Nov 19, 2019

Below is an excerpt taken from a recent online article where Chris Kermode, the departing head of the ATP, was speaking at the ATP Finals in London and where he discussed innovation and his biggest issue: Where is the Next Generation of Fans?

The growth of the ATP Finals, which has thrived at the O2 in London, the birth of the Next Gen Finals and the soon to arrive ATP Cup are all projects that Kermode will look back on fondly.

Innovation, he feels, may be necessary to capture a new generation of fans beyond the golden era of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

The game will carry on when Roger, Rafa, Novak and Andy all leave.

They have played an immense part and are obviously going to be missed but the game will survive and the talent that’s coming through is incredible.

‘But the biggest issue for me is where is the next generation of fans?

That’s really what that event [Next Gen Finals] was designed for was to just test potential ways that the game “could”, and I emphasise the “could look” in the future.

I’m not advocating, by the way, that the Slams ever change from a five-set format, because it’s brilliant and it works.

But I think there is an opportunity for the sport to have different formats, like cricket [Twenty20] and other sports do it.

The sport has got to look ahead for the next 10 years.

My children in their 20s, just how they consume any entertainment is completely different to how I did and how we all did.

The game has to adapt.

People fundamentally don’t like change but change will only happen when the sport faces not a crisis but maybe a reset… it’s difficult to get people to make those changes now when it’s going up, because they say, “Well, why change?”

The article (6 mins) can be read in full here.

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