It is an absolute game of assumptions, but it is still intriguing.
Will the legacies of the four most prominent and award-winning tennis players in activity – and perhaps of all time – be affected by the truncated 2020 season?
And how will Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – the Big Three of men’s tennis – fare alongside Serena Williams, the empress of the women’s circuit, when they return to competition? (Federer will be out of business until 2021 after undergoing a couple of arthroscopies on his right knee.)
They are the Great Quartet. They are the leaders of tennis on and off the court. They have done it to the point that no matter how many wins and losses they have for the rest of their career, they have already secured their place in history.
Williams has 23 Grand Slam titles, the most in the professional era. Federer holds the male record with 20, Nadal 19 and Djokovic 17; no other man is over 14.
They attract the attention of fans and non-tennis fans alike.
You have to be honest: What happens to them matters more than the rest of the players, especially when Williams is looking to match Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24 big date titles, as well as Nadal and Djokovic closing in on Federer. .
Also what is intriguing: their ages. Federer and Williams will soon be 39 years old. Nadal is 34 and Djokovic 33.
“It could be that they’re saying to themselves, ‘I really enjoy spending time at home.’ They are not in a race, there is no rush. Then emotionally and mentally they might think, ‘Do I really want to do it again? Do I really want to start training? Can I really be 100% focused? ”Said Chris Evert, winner of 10 Grand Slam titles. “Or on the other hand they could have a sense of urgency and say, ‘OK, now I really need to value my tennis for another year and I need to reach my goals. I’m not that young”.
Wimbledon should be running right now, but the tournament was canceled for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Professional tennis was suspended in March and is currently scheduled to return in August. The US Open begins at the end of that month. The French Open, which was postponed in May, is now scheduled to start on September 27, two weeks after the US Open ends.
“It is easier to get the body ready at 21 than the body at 34. That is 100%. But at the same time, a 34-year-old body and mind have much more experience than the body and mind of a 21-year-old, so I don’t know what will happen ”, Nadal analyzed.
“Generally speaking, it is better for a young person because this time that we lost, a young person has time to recover. An older man, in terms of ‘time’ ”, Nadal acknowledged, using his fingers to indicate quotation marks,“ we lose the same amount of time, but in terms of perspective it is different. Losing a year at 34 or 36 or 36 is not the same as losing a year at 20, when you have your entire career ahead of you. “
Perhaps Nadal decides to skip playing on the concrete courts in New York, where he is the current champion, to arrive well rested and prepared for the brick dust of Paris, where he would equal the record of 20 Grand Slam titles now in the hands of Federer, consecrating himself for the 13th time at Roland Garros.
Perhaps Djokovic would prefer to go to the US Open, after all, after speaking out against the assumption that a Nadal absence gives him more chances of victory.
Federer’s best chance to increase his harvest will be at Wimbledon, where he has been crowned eight times. It is hard to venture to say how many more are left.
Williams, on the other hand, reached the finals of the last four majors, losing them all. And despite an unexpected elimination in the third round of the Australian Open in January, it is taken for granted that she will try to go far in another tournament, especially at the US Open, where she has been consecrated six times and was runner-up in 2018 and 2019.
After a long period without playing, Williams said: “I feel like my physique needed it, even though I didn’t want it. And now I feel better than ever. I feel more relaxed, in better shape. I feel like I can play serious. ” AP (HN)