“Not at All Worried”: ATP Chief on Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s Departure From Tennis

Published 03/15/2021, 10:10 AM EDT
Novak Djokovic of Serbia, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerlan wait to go on stage during the ATP Heritage Celebration at The Waldorf=Astoria on in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


It is a known fact that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic aren’t getting any younger. They are edging towards their 40s and Federer will be the first to step into his forties this year. They hold almost every tennis record and thus have not only been the flag bearers for men’s tennis but have also brought in fans, sponsors, and money. Tennis will need new stars soon, but ATP chief Andrea Gaudenzi isn’t too concerned about their imminent departure.

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal of Team Europe react. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

In a recent interview, ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi revealed that he is not too worried about losing the three biggest entities the sport has seen.

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“I am not worried at all for our sport if we do the right thing. And that doesn’t mean taking anything away from those three guys. They are probably the best players our sport has ever had and maybe will be for a very, very long time.”

Andrea Gaudenzi on Pete Sampras’ retirement and the emergence of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic

Gaudenzi drew parallels with how, when Pete Sampras retired, men’s tennis lost an icon but then Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic slowly emerged. Likewise, he expects someone else to step up when The Big 3 retire.

“It’s going to be very, very difficult to achieve that type of records, even though I said the same thing when Pete Sampras retired. I thought there won’t be anyone ever beating Pete’s records. Here we have three guys doing that. So never say never.”

Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Roger Federer. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Gaudenzi confident for tennis after Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic

Gaudenzi showed great confidence in ATP’s ability in building new personalities in men’s tennis. He sees this as a normal cycle where legends retire and new champions emerge to take tennis forward.

“We have to be realistic, even if you look back you know you build these personalities over the years. We were concerned after Sampras retired. And it’s not that when Roger started winning right away we said, ‘Oh! This is the guy who’s going to save us’. He grew into that. We will be capable of building new personalities, new champions that will attract the attention of fans.”

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Rafael Nadal of Spain and Novak Djokovic. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Men’s tennis would need a consistent winner to woo the fans. As Pete Sampras was consistent, he commanded huge support. Similarly, The Big 3 were consistent and thus hold a great fan base.

Tennis would require players who can win multiple Grand Slams and titles. After the departure of the big 3, tennis could see players scramble for titles and thus divide the fan base.

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Bhavishya Mittal

976 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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