Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are two names that stand out amongst the rest when it comes to men’s singles tennis. More than decade of dominance in the sport has seen them establish themselves as two of the greatest athletes ever. Federer and Nadal won the award for the best male athlete of the year in 2017 (by L’Equipe). The duo split the slams for themselves and also asserted themselves as the top two players in the singles rankings.
In an exclusive interview with the French newspaper Nadal revealed how Federer’s season stood out more than his because of the age difference. ‘It wasn’t an obvious thing, imagining that we’d be playing each other for the top titles after our injuries in 2016’, Nadal said. ‘That you put us equal I find normal. Nadal also added-‘It’s not easy analyzing our seasons because there’s good in both of them. [smiles] One could say that what he did was more impressive because he’s older than I. That’s a purely mathematical argument. He managed to win a lot while playing a little.’
Marat Safin, a former grand slam champion, says that if the same players who dominated the sport in 2009 are still the people to beat, then there is something seriously wrong with the sport. What he implies is that the youngsters have not risen o the occasion to trouble the veterans. However Nadal thinks otherwise.
‘I hear that you might think at 31 and 36 we should have been overtaken by younger players’, the Spaniard commented. ‘But deducing from that that tennis has a problem seems an exaggeration to me. I think despite everything that, along with Roger, we’ve brought a lot to the game and are still doing it. But the young players are emerging from the woods very well this year, and seems obvious that this tendency will continue in 2018.’
2018 might just be the year that the Next Gen shines in the limelight. We will just have to wait and see.