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Federer to AP: Tennis can withstand the retirement of big names




LONDON Roger Federer watched closely together with everyone else then Serena Williams played what is expected to be her last game at the US Open three weeks ago.

Not surprised. Just very similar to me, in many ways. We expected it to come someday, Federer told The Associated Press. You never want players like Serena to retire one day. … I just thought, what a great career.

He acknowledges that their back-to-back exits have each been in tennis after about a quarter of a century is 41 and leaves with 20 Grand Slam titles and they turns 41 on monday and has 23 big singles championships will push some fans to leave the sport.

However, Federer insists plenty will remain.

I mean, look, it will leave some fans with not the same taste for the game. We could lose a few because they say, OK, that chapter closes for me, and I move on to another sport or another athlete, Federer said in an interview at the Laver Cup on Wednesday, where the last game of his great career will be. in doubles alongside rival Rafael Nadal for Team Europe on Friday night.

And some will stay with the game forever because tennis is just a sport (that), once you’re in it, you’re normally in it too. That’s why I don’t believe many people will leave, he continued. But they may not wake up at 3am for the Australian Open anymore. Or they may not use their vacation time to travel to a place. Maybe for a few years they say, okay let me go with a friend of mine and have a good adventure trip somewhere, until they find their way back in.

He and Williams, along with Nadal, a 36-year-old with a men’s record of 22 Slam titles, and Novak Djokovic, a 35-year-old with 21 titles, have contributed to a golden era in the sport. attract new viewers and inspire new players.

Serena and Roger probably have more fans than anyone else in tennis, said Taylor Fritz, a 24-year-old Californian who is the tallest American man at number 12 and a part of Team World in London. It’s hard to replace two iconic people, but I still think there are a lot of exciting times ahead.

But what happens after they leave?

These two players are irreplaceable. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that, said John McEnroe, who won seven major trophies from 1979 to 1984. He added this caveat: The sport continues no matter what, and we’ve seen that in every sport over time.

That is why Federer is among those who are optimistic about the future.

I’ve always been a big believer that tennis is bigger than anyone else, he said, and it will always create new superstars.

Federer thinks highlights that find their way on social media can help. Thus, telling each new top player can tell a compelling story.

McEnroe called the sport a need for better marketing from fresh faces.

Someone who, according to Federer, could fit into the superstar category is: Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old from Spain who won the US Open and became the youngest man at No. 1 in the history of the ATP computerized rankings, which dates back to 1973.

Federer watched some of Alcaraz’s epic quarterfinal in Flushing Meadows against Jannik Sinner, a 21-year-old from Italy. It lasted 5 hours 15 minutes and ended at 2:50 AM in New York, which is 8:50 AM in Federer’s home country of Switzerland, so the father of two sets of twins missed the fifth set, he explained, because I had to take the kids to school.

He was impressed by both players.

Super movers. Great strikers, forehand and backhand, said Federer. And I always said it: the best movers are the best players. We’ve seen it with Novak, we’ve seen it with Rafa, we’ve seen it with myself, Lleyton (Hewitt). You name it. … And because you cover the field so, so well, you end up giving yourself more time and less stress.

Alcaraz’s prowess in all courts has been compared, albeit far too early to put their names in the same sentence as Federer’s.

Federer did not dismiss the comparison.

He has a lot of power with his forehand. And that takes care of everything for him. In that sense, if you can do that, like I did, then you can decide: Shall I dropshot? Shall I go big? Shall I do it again? Or should I actually go for the corner? Or should I come in? explained Federer, whose first Grand Slam title came at 21. My problem when I was younger and I don’t think I was nearly as good as him at his age is that it was so hard for me which decision to make. He seems to have more clarity. He is mentally stronger. He has worked harder. You can see his body; if you look at our two bodies, we were different guys. He has a lot that is already going in a really good direction. Then it’s just a matter of persevering, plowing on.

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