Sports

Is tennis moving into a new golden era? We can only hope.

There’s something for everyone. The grace of Roger Federer. The punitive power of Rafael Nadal. Novak Djokovic and determination. The solid path helps Serena Williams break the tired tradition.

Over the course of two decades, professional tennis has been bathed in a golden light powered by an immutable player hierarchy with distinct styles and personalities that combine to define the game of the century. 21.

But time, and the coronavirus, change everything.

For a second consecutive major championship, as the Australian Open unfolds in the sweltering heat of Melbourne, Federer and Williams feel at home, healing at 40. We’ll probably never see them play at their peak again.

Of course, it’s already over Djokovic.

It is still unclear when the world No. 1 will return to play in the major championships, and how scorn from fans will affect a player who has spent his career aspiring to win. worship. Depending on how the pandemic unfolds, denying tennis’ most famous vaccine could ban travel to the host nations of the year’s biggest tournaments, leaving him scrambling to find his way past the 20 Grand Prix. Slam logjam that he has with Federer and Nadal.

Of the golden quartet, only Nadal has reached Melbourne. The 35-year-old is tired, he’s about to have a leg injury that kept him out of most of last year’s games.

He looks sharp in Australia’s opening stanza, perhaps good enough to summon greatness again and lift the championship trophy for a second time. Even if he does, how long can the Nadal we know become the Nadal we revere?

What in tennis can be trusted anymore?

Is not.

The days when the game can rely on the ostentatious power of its rock star quartet to draw in fans and add excitement – the days that pin them as locks to at least the semi-finals of the game. every major title – those days are over.

Remember when Naomi Osaka was supposed to be the next big thing? Right now, her last major title win, last winter’s Australian Open, seems to span this disparity as if it happened a decade rather than a year ago.

She left the French Open last year, taking the opportunity to open up about the anxiety and depression weighing heavily on her shoulders. She skipped Wimbledon, needing time away from the harsh words and glare. She lost early at the US Open and the Tokyo Olympics. Last week, Osaka’s attempt to repeat in Melbourne finished under the hands of the world’s 60th player.

Remember Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez, the up-and-coming teenagers who powered the US Open last summer by reaching the women’s final? Haven’t done much since then. Fernandez lost in the first round last week. Raducanu was sent off in the second.

There may be a silver lining in the emerging uncertainty of the game. Without being overshadowed by the biggest stars, you’ll easily gain enthusiasm for a larger cast.

In her first week at Melbourne Park, that was meant to wow 20-year-old Amanda Anisimova, as she tore the net of backhand winners against Osaka in a nasty win. Or watching Carlos Alcaraz18, sprint, slide, and stretch to keep a survivable point before slamming forward and beating a full-speed winner.

The uncertainty has brought more shine to young Italian Jannik Sinner, as a great gift for an upstart like that, as he tries to make it through the draw.

It focuses more on Ashleigh Barty, last year’s Wimbledon champion who owns the smoothest match on this side of Federer.

Will Daniil Medvedev, who broke Djokovic’s Grand Slam dream when he defeated the Serb to win the US Open 2021, claim the world No. What if he becomes one of the game’s consistent standard-bearers?

In Melbourne last week, Medvedev his quirky and almost unfathomable game. Some of his shots look as if they were self-taught and honed in a craggy public park by playing with hitters – the reflex volley with one hand on the throat, the forehand swing The twist sometimes ends with a split and a suffocating follow-up shot.

As Medvedev often has at Flushing Meadows, he shows he can be an attractive champion – witty, open and than being willing to play the villain with a wink.

This year, the usually boisterous Australian Open crowd used “Siuuu!” Famous of Cristiano Ronaldo! shouts of celebration during matches. That angered some players, including Medvedev, who thought the chanters were boos in his win over Nick Kyrgios. As we might expect based on his past pranks at the US Open, Medvedev caused laughter from the crowd when he scolded them for the song during a court interview.

He then explained, out of his habit of voluntarily drawing ire: “Not everyone does that. But the people who are doing it may have low IQs.”

Imagine Federer saying such things about fans. It can not be. But maybe it’s a good and energizing change.

It is very difficult to let go of a generation.

A new era has arrived. All we can do is accept it, wait patiently and hope for the best.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/sports/tennis/australian-open-federer-nadal-williams.html Is tennis moving into a new golden era? We can only hope.

Fry Electronics Team

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