Sports

Federer and Serena era ends, tennis turns to Alcaraz, Swiatek


After a lot of hands in recent years on what will become tennis once transcendent superstars like Williams and Federer leave the game – he told the world on Thursday he would be leaving after Laver Cup next week; she made her plans public last month, then lost in the third round of the US Open on September 2 – the sport seems to be in good hands as it prepares to go on.

“They helped make tennis what it is today. We will miss them,” Nick Bollettieri, a Hall of Fame coach, said of Federer and Williams.

Bollettieri, who has worked with the Williams sisters, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova, said: “Having these young players as number one,” will make a big difference to trips. tour “.

First of all, don’t forget: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are still around – even if injuries, in Nadal’s case and vaccination status, in Djokovic’s case, limit their ability to play at their best. or always. They combined to win three of the year’s four Grand Slam titles, bringing Nadal’s total to 22, the most for a man, and Djokovic’s to 21.

Williams has 23 and Federer 20, and both have dozens of other titles, Olympic medals, hundreds of weeks at number 1 on the leaderboard, etc.

They are standard bearers not only because of such statistics.

Williams has become a celebrity as a record-breaking athlete and one who has helped expand the sport’s audience while also inspiring more children to join tennis.

Federer has become a widely respected ambassador for the game, attracting fans and new players from around the world.

Now, some of those new faces are ready to enter the space that opens up new champions, new primetime TV, new sponsorship deals, new interests.

Of course, one never knows how things will turn out in sports, or what might happen in terms of injuries, for example, or other potential obstacles to a long career. and stand out, but Swiatek and Alcaraz certainly seem set to succeed.

From their athleticism and shooting ability, to their demeanor on and off the field, to the teams around them – both of whom work with a sports psychologist, for example – they’ve grown in an extraordinary way. .

Swiatek, No. 1 since Ash Barty retired six months ago, is the first woman to win two Grand Slam titles in a single season since 2016.

Alcaraz, No. 1 since Monday, is the youngest man to occupy that spot since the computer rankings began in 1973. He is also the first teenager to win the men’s US Open championship since Pete. Sampras in 1990 and won the biggest men’s tournament since Nadal at the 2005 French Open.

Both took to Twitter to comment on Federer’s impending departure.

Swiatek’s message, in part: “I want to thank you for everything you’ve done and all you’ve done for our sport. It is a privilege to witness your career. “

Alcaraz’s, part: “Roger is one of my idols and an inspiration! Thank you for everything you do for our sport! “

Because of his age – born two months before Federer’s first Grand Slam title and two years before Nadal’s first title – Alcaraz grew up admiring both giants of the game.

Similarly, Swiatek was 2 when Federer’s first Slam came, 4 when Nadal did. She was still unborn when Williams won her first major title at the 1999 US Open.

Swiatek and Alcaraz learned tennis, learned what it takes to be a champion, learned what success beyond the boundaries of what it looks like, in a golden age as their sport once enjoyed.

With two frontrunners and lots of other talent around – Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff, Frances Tiafoe and Jannik Sinner, Casper Ruud and Ons Jabeur, etc. – tennis can only exist. Develop? Maybe.

“Roger certainly had the era of Novak and Rafa, two of the most incredible athletes and tennis players ever. That’s what people know today. But there were other rivalries with Roger before them. And together, they all understand the importance of developing the game,” said Tony Godsick, Federer’s longtime agent. Tennis is in a great position. You look at this boy, Alcaraz – he’s coming. And there are others behind him. So tennis is a great sport here. “

This story has been published from the electronic agency’s feed with no modifications to the text. Only the title has been changed.

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