Novak Djokovic playing tennis.
Novak Djokovic playing tennis. @djokernole Instagram

Djokovic: “Tennis is endangered” due to rise of pickleball, padel

DALLAS, TX - One of the causes of the tension between pickleball and tennis is the fact that pickleball players have been encroaching on the spaces that previously were exclusively used by tennis players.

That makes sense, especially considering that the Trust for Public Land reports that the number of outdoor public park pickleball courts in major cities has risen 650% over the past seven years.

The resulting turf war has even made its way to the top of the tennis sphere, as World No. 4 Novak Djokovic spoke candidly about the state of racket sports following his third-round victory at Wimbledon.

He identifies the grassroots popularity of pickleball and padel as one of the threats to tennis’ growth at the recreational level.

“Tennis is the king or queen of all the racket sports, that’s true. But on a club level, tennis is endangered, and if we don’t do something about it globally and collectively, they’re gonna convert all the tennis clubs into padel and pickleball because it’s just more economical. You can build three padel courts inside one tennis court. If you do the simple math, it’s just much more financially viable for an owner of the club to have those courts.”

Does the 24-time Grand Slam champion have a point about his sport’s future?