Gone are the days when tennis stars looked for fame and publicity only when they were on the court by their performances. With the recent surge in television shows that comprise of experts commenting on current players, the former stars have found a way of lingering in the limelight as well.
However, the limelight would be well deserved if they presented such insights which were not already understood by the common following of tennis. It, certainly, is a sorry sight when a former tennis icon tries to stay relevant by merely stating the obvious.
Former British female number one, Annabel Croft, recently said on Sky Sports that the era of the domination of the “Big Four” on men’s tennis appears to be over. According to her, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are no longer the only fancied men to win the grand slam titles. If you think about how long these four men have ruled over the tennis courts around the world, you have got to say that it is no wonder that this is the case. Roger Federer, for instance, has turned 36 and to say that he is no longer on the top of his game is not, at all, insightful, or is it?
On the flip side, Croft’s case doesn’t appear to be right either. When you consider the current scenario of men’s tennis, Nadal tops the ATP rankings, in spite of not hitting a ball in more than three months. And which star has he overtaken? Well, it is the 36 year old veteran, Roger Federer. Bearing the scenario in mind, to say that the “Big Four” are no longer on the top of the world appears to be nothing short of a foolhardy claim, hoped to bring publicity, owing to how their domination of the ATP rankings continue!
Who doesn’t remember all of the hoo-ha in the tennis world, back in 2014, after Roger Federer lost consecutive matches? Federer, who was 32 back then, was closely scrutinized for his performance, as pundits called him a “has been” superstar. Afterwards, however, Federer did what Federer does bes;: go on a spree of world domination to shut all of the “self-proclaimed” pundits up. However, after Federer recently lost two matches in a row, after an unbelievable start to 2018, questions are being raised once again.
Federer’s recent loss to Thanasi Kokkinakis, an Australian who is ranked 175th in the world, has raised an eyebrow or two on where his illustrious career might be heading. On top of that, this was second defeat in a row for Federer, causing him to lose his position at the top of the world, which he had worked so hard to accomplish at the age of 36. However, the question arises; will Federer be able to come back from this hole that he finds himself in?
To say that he will be able to manage it, just as he did in 2014, would be nothing short of a fool’s dream, especially when you consider how 2014 was four years ago. Federer had much more strength, resilience and time to come back from any predicament he might have found himself in, as opposed to now when he is at the twilight of his career. Federer returns to the court next for the Wimbledon—after missing the whole of the clay court season, including the French Open. If he is unable to leave a mark on that competition, at least, and fail just like he did in Miami, the curtains might drop on his career sooner than his fans might expect!
When you speak of Roger Federer, we all know and admire him to be one of the greatest players that have graced the world of tennis, right? Well, he might be a wonderful player of tennis and all, but the fact remains that he is not a good role-model for younger sportsmen to follow. Don’t get me wrong; every sportsman would love to achieve all of the honors and accolades that Federer has got; but the fact remains that Federer lacks spirit and the heart required to make a sportsman, truly, immortal.
How else would you explain Roger Federer’s decision to sit on the sidelines during the clay court season and to miss one of the most important competitions of the year; the French Open! After his loss to an unknown Australian commodity, who is ranked 175th in the world, Federer will not be the world number one, once the clay court is done and over with. However, this act of cowardice should not come off as a surprise to the fans of the Swiss superstar, owing to how Federer pulled off the same shenanigans last year. Federer hopes to make a return at Wimbledon next, but going by his recent defeat, his chances certainly don’t appear too bright.
What Federer needs to realize is that he is at the twilight of his career. This means that not only does he need to participate in as many competitions as possible, but he needs to continuously add to his tally of grand slam wins as well. If he doesn’t, then…well, he should know that Rafael Nadal is not too far behind and may have just got his number!
It would be hard for you to come across a hardcore tennis fan not acquainted with the name of Billie Jean King. After all the 74 old year old ex-world number one and the winner of 12 singles Grand Slam Titles should need no introduction, right? However, over the course of time, age appears to be taking a toll on Billie, owing to how her recent talk of reducing the number of sets male tennis players play at Grand Slams, has brought out surprise, resentment and disgust among the lovers of the game.
The reasoning Billie gave to buttress her stance was based upon how she found the large number of sets to be the primary reason for tennis stars getting injured all the time. However, while presenting such an interesting insight, Billie must have forgotten the likes of Roger Federer, who are still fit and entitled to being called the best in the world owing to not only their superior fitness but performance as well.
The more you think about it, the more you realize that Billie’s remarks will give tennis stars nothing more than an excuse to blame their failures and injuries upon. Grand Slam matches have featured five sets for as long as we can remember and the fans would appreciate if the legacy is not trifled with. On top of that, shortening the matches will have implications on the broadcasters as well, owing to how the new rules will have a significant impact on how long the matches last.
Darwin argued for the survival of the fittest, in his theory of natural selection, and this is exactly how it should be in the world of tennis as well. The unfit will succumb to the competition and continue to find petty excuses for their failures while the great ones will rise up to the top as a result of their superior passion and hard work!
We all lay stress on “thinking before saying”. Well, with the advancement of social media, what they should be laying stress on is: think before you tweet. Tennys Sandgren, an American tennis star, had to learn this lesson the hard way, soon after he had come on to the scene. The 26-year-old must have been ecstatic upon defeating the fifth ranked player in the world to progress into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, but he must have certainly detested he scrutiny that followed. Sandgren had followed a number of prominent figures of the alt-right mindset and retweeted a number of their tweets also. Racism and the “Spirit Cooking” campaign were some of the things that he had tweeted on during the Trump – Hilary election bout.
Instead of apologizing on holding views that were based on pure racism and hatred, Sandgren resorted to cheap excuses when inquired about them in a press conference. On top of that, he even chose to delete all of his tweets, in an attempt to fulfill his “version of a clean start”. Will somebody tell Mr. Sandgren that’s not how “clean starts” work for the sophisticated and rational population of the world? If not, then he’ll certainly be in for a rude awakening—courtesy of the French media—when he flies off for the French Open in a few months’ time!