Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The day the big four retire from tennis will be a bad day for tennis

I know this may seem a little left field considering everyone’s opinion of tennis in this day and age, but I am starting to feel that apart from the top four players the rest of the top 100 stars are just not as good as ones from the past.

One thing I got sick of hearing a few years ago was that Roger Federer had it easy; he won so many majors and tournaments because the standard of tennis was poor. What a load of crap (just think so many of the supposed poor players from Roger's era are still playing and beating the younger guys now, even when they are over 30).  The reason Federer was and still is winning is simple; he is just the greatest, streets ahead of the rest of the field.  Then along came another genius in Rafa Nadal and then another in Djokovic and now finally Andy Murray seems ready to join their elite level of winning slams.

Also what is very disparaging about Federer's era, the guys around 30 is the way they talk about Andy Roddick, he was and still is a world class player and he will be sadly missed from the tour.  Roddick was just extremely unfortunate to come across the greatest player ever.  He should have won Wimbledon in 09, and he will always be fondly remembered at SW9.

So now we have the four great players, and let’s be honest they win everything, 29 of the last 30 majors, every Masters 1000 since November 2010. They are generally the guys who get to the semis and no one else apart from once in a while can challenge them. Only one person in 8 years of slams and nearly 2 years in Masters Events; does that not seem strange.  The only one that may add his name to the list would be Juan Martin Del Potro, but he gets injured a lot and he still has to go through the big four to win a slam and he has never won a Masters 1000 event.

The next thing that sprang to mind was Tsonga’s attitude to losing and his comments about how it’s nearly impossible win anything, I think Berdych may have said similar comments.  Tsonga’s comments and his attitude seemed to say to me that he knew to win the US Open this year he would have to beat Murray in the Quarters, Federer in the Semis, and Djokovic in the Final, and it felt like he had given up before he even hit a ball.

On top of this apparent apathy which is clearly starting to affect some of the nearly top players, players who would have won far more competitions in the past in their opinions I expect, we have a resurgence of the 30 something’s, coming back into the game.  Instead of the past precession of top star, 18 – 26, then fading away gracefully, the top stars are not going away.  I think I heard there was a record amount of 30 year olds in Wimbledon and now the US Open. 

So what does this say, it certainly knocks the credibility of the people who say Roger Federer was lucky because many of the people from his era are still playing a high standard of tennis.  And what can we say about the future, as I watched the Murray Raonic match the commentator said Murray was reaching the final of the US Open as Raonic’s age, and Milos is supposed to be one of the next big things in tennis.  Djokovic had won the Aussie Open at Raonic’s age, Rafa won at 18; Del Potro won at 21 also.  Who at that age now is going to beat these guys – no one?

It is sad to say but when finally Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray hang up their tennis rackets and retire the guys ready to take their place, don’t exist.  There is no one in their class at this time, not even close; people can rave on about Raonic or any other lanky big server, but it will be a long time before we see the like of this era of tennis again.

One parting notice on the US Open, the crowds were really poor in the first week it is as if everyone knows tennis is about four players, so why turn up when the prices are so high.  What is the point of having a massive 23,000 seated stadium if it’s only got a few thousand people in it.  Either make the tickets cheaper for supposed lesser matches or allow kids in to watch, do something because if anything will turn off the tennis pro from performing at their best it’s an empty stadium.

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