The Greatest of All-time, or the Greatest of This-Time?
When the best players in the world decide to call it a day, it can be very upsetting for fans. In the 2014 US Open Mens Singles Final, Marin Cilic faced Kei Nishikori, and recorded one of the lowest viewing figures in the last 20 years for a mens final. Why? Becuase there was no Roger Federer, no Rafa Nadal and no Novak Djokovic. Fans love to watch the best, the legends of the game. They are who the crowds cheer for. So when, after winning their millions of pounds in prize money and their array of trophies, they finally decide to call it a day, it can leave a big void.
In the modern game, there are 4 big name players, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Serena. They can all be considered legends of the game, and the greatest of all time for one reason or another. Sadly, with Federer and Serena both aged 37 with families, Nadal at 32 but constantly battling injuries, and Djokovic slightly younger at 31, it will be hard to see any of these playing in 5 years time.
The first thought in hearing that is, “Well we will never see anyone as good as this again.” Well that’s just not true is it. When we look back, there is always a G.O.A.T. who gets surpassed by the next best player. Before Williams there was Hingis, then Graf, then Seles, then Navratilova, Evert and Jean King. The list goes on. It is the same on the Mens. Before Federer there was Agassi or Sampras, then Becker, Lendl, McEnroe, Borg, Laver, and we have gone back 60 years. There will always be a new player who is a bit faster, bit stronger, bit better than the last. The big difference between the legends of today is the longevity. There are players in the top 30 who were born after Serena won her first major. However, the way sports science and medicine is developing, players are able to play longer and longer. Who knows, Tsitsipas may be able to play through into his forties. Imagine those grey curly locks