Tennis’ young rising stars still
struggle to surpass the older,
more experienced generation
The Santa Clara
November 16, 2017
Despite being over 30 years old, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal still pose a major threat to the new generation of tennis players who aren’t able to consistently defeat them. After winning his latest Wimbledon championship in June, Federer said he believed that top young players such as Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Marin Čilić need to be more aggressive and imaginative if they want to be taken seriously.
Jack Sock can also be included as a player who is up-andcoming. After coming off one of the biggest wins of his career in Paris, he was confident that he would defeat Federer. However, the 25-year-old American lost to Federer 6-4, 7-6 in the opening match of the ATO World Finals. Sock gave it his all in the second set with a close deuce, but even that wasn’t enough.
“Roger has played some outstanding tennis this year,” Sock said. “He puts a pressure on you that I feel no other player really does.”
Grigor Dimitrov was equally frustrated by both Federer’s and Nadal’s consistent dominance.
“I’m not going to lie. Even when you think you’ve put enough work in it, there’s still that much to go,” Dimitrov said. “What we all forget is that while we’re working, they’re working as well.”
If any of the younger generation can dethrone the top duo it’s Alexander Zverev. The 20-year-old German has already made his way to the number four spot on the rankings. He has a great deal of potential, but he’s still too young to view Federer and Nadal as beatable because he still watches them in awe.
“I think Roger and Rafa have been playing the best tennis of their lives this year,” he said. “I really think that, especially Roger. He’s only lost four matches this year. It’s quite amazing how he’s able to play at 36-years-old.” Zverev then continued to praise Nadal’s performance on clay courts, saying, “And Rafa on clay, winning a Grand Slam losing three games in a set, max, is something that I don’t know if we’ve seen before.” While the new players in tennis aren’t on top yet, they are still doing something that hasn’t been done in a while; slowly but surely, change is coming in the world of tennis. Fifty of the last 54 Masters 1000s events were won by the Big Four (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray) but this year Dimitrov, Sock and Zverev all won masters.
Right now, Federer isn’t striking the ball perfectly, but his shots all land inside the court. He’s able to make up for his weak ball contact by delivering crushing backhands and volleys. With age creeping against him, that could soon change.
With Federer’s impending weakness and Nadal pulling out of London due to a knee injury, younger players may have a greater opportunity. If all goes well for Zverev, he is poised to rise to the top spot.
Contact Jay Mehta at email@example.com or call (408) 554- 4852.