Wimbledon-in-the-desert might someday be a possibility, according to open-minded ATP Player Council president Novak Djokovic.
The world No. 1 did not completely discard the out-of-the-box suggestion made during a British podcast by his good friend and sometimes “advisor” Janko Tipsarevic.
The 34-year-old Tipsarevic, coming back from several years of injury and surgeries, told The Tennis Podcast floated his suggestion in a conversation over trying to increase prize money in a light-hearted fashion – and Djokovic did not totally rule out the long-odds possiblity.
One way, he opined, was moving the four Grand Slams to different venues around the world in what would amount to a massive dollar chase.
“We need players to realise that there is a possibility to move French Open to Rome, to move Melbourne to Beijing… to believe that Wimbledon can actually be moved to Abu Dhabi,” Tipsarevic said.
Djokovic, who said he had listened to a portion of his mate’s broadcast, put his side of the issue after an opening clay win at the Monte Carlo Masters.
“(The Slams) are over 120 years old, and we have to respect the history and tradition and everything.
“‘But at the same time, we have to balance it with evolution of sport… Whether it’s (moving Wimbledon or any other major) possible, whether that’s future, we don’t know. I mean, I leave everything open.’
Djokovic, with 15 Grand Slam titles, admitted he had plenty on his plate as the current man to beat on the circuit.
But he said that doing his political Player Council job was a responsibility he felt strongly about.
“It’s a conscious, responsible decision I made to be part of it, partly because I also feel that players want me to be there.
“I was re-elected to be there and re-elected as the president to run another term.
“We all feel and understand that this is an important time for tennis, a lot of different changes and a lot of different rule changes and new events.”
Djokovic has been reported as the force behind the failure to renew the contract at the end of this year for ATP CEO Chris Kermode, who has done the job for the last five years.
The 31-year-old Serb has also been somewhat militant in pushing for more player payouts from tournaments, with the revenue-sharing in tennis his major target.