Nadal’s US Open Win Proves Time Warp Tennis Theory
Concerns about the lack of potential players able to fill the ever-growing age gap in especially men’s tennis was aggravated by the overall results of 2017’s Grand Slam tennis events. How is it that two thirty-something’s, and deep into thirty-something’s at that, are still dominating the world of tennis? This in a sport renowned for physically wearing down its participants over time.
Whilst it’s true that Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal aren’t merely two top professional tennis players – but two committed athletes, accounting for their immense collective levels of success in the world of professional sports – it’s also true that they certainly will not be playing at the level that they have been for too much longer.
For many, tennis seems to have entered a time warp of sorts. Federer had not won a Grand Slam event between 2012 and the Australian Open of this year – an almost 5 year period of sub-standard performance. Nadal, in turn, has been plagued by injury since his French Open win in 2014. A gap of opportunity was effectively created for new, younger, talent to step up to the plate – and yet, that just did not happen. Not so that you would notice, in any event.
Off-Court Issues Hampering On-Court Performance?
The stark reality of the matter is that sporting greats like Federer and Nadal grew up and developed physically and mentally during simpler times. Growing up, life was all about tennis. These two men did not experience even half of the distractions that are present in the life of teens and even young adults, today.
International tennis coach Roger Rasheed has been trying to get to the bottom of the age gap – having coached some of the next-level hopefuls like Grigor Dimitrov and Gael Monfils as well as having had a bird’s eye view of the sheer fighting spirit and absolute skill that has driven Federer and Nadal, he is perhaps the man most capable of making an on-shot observation.
Social media, says Rasheed, has a lot to do with it – much more than what one may think. Dealing with the pressures of social media on pliable young minds as well as the fact that more people now have direct access to a player has become part and parcel of the professional sports coaching package.
All Not Lost
Despite concerns that the time warp is just about to swallow tennis and chewing it, there is still hope yet. Hope in the shape of young players like 24 year old Austrian player Dominic Thiem and Australia’s own Nick Kyrgios.
As the age old saying goes: the time, gentlemen, is now.
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