It’s been practically 1 / 4 of a century since Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all sat out the identical Grand Slam tennis event.
That modifications subsequent week, when the U.S. Open will begin at Flushing Meadows with none member of that distinguished and dominant trio.
Williams, whose fortieth birthday is in September, withdrew on Wednesday, becoming a member of Federer, who turned 40 this month, and Nadal, who’s 35, on the sideline due to accidents. Williams’ older sister, 41-year-old Venus, additionally pulled out of the sector Wednesday.
Everyone is aware of they will’t play perpetually, in fact, and that this grand period will finish sooner or later. Now followers, different gamers, the excursions, tournaments, sponsors, TV executives and the remainder of the world are getting a glimpse of what the probably-not-too-distant future holds for tennis.
Is That As Daunting As It Sounds?
“We have been asking ourselves that question for many years. They’ve defied the odds with their legacy and their dominance of the sport well beyond other champions. Without question, our sport does go through the passing of the baton,” U.S. Open event director Stacey Allaster stated in a phone interview from New York after Serena’s announcement however earlier than Venus’.
Not the most effective information everybody. I’m becoming a member of @serenawilliams @RafaelNadal and @rogerfederer on the injured checklist. It’s nonetheless going to be a terrific US Open & many due to the @usta for the wild card. I used to be so wanting ahead to it, nevertheless it was not meant to be this yr. I will probably be again! pic.twitter.com/s0PRgdSSx2
— Venus Williams (@Venuseswilliams) August 25, 2021
“The athletes that are here, they’re ready for it. We’re starting to see who those potential next Grand Slam champions will be. We’ve gone through this cycle before, and our athletes have risen to the occasion and they’ve stood on all champions’ shoulders and taken the sport to the next level.”
That definitely will be stated of the Williams sisters, Federer and Nadal, who all managed to turn out to be international superstars and stay related for gone the same old timeframe in tennis. Not because the Australian Open in 1997, the yr Venus Williams made her main debut on the French Open, has any Grand Slam event been contested with out at the very least one of many 4.
Because the precise hamstring she tore at Wimbledon in late June is just not sufficiently healed, Serena once more won’t be able to pursue what can be a twenty fourth Grand Slam singles title, tying Margaret Court for probably the most within the sport’s historical past. (As it’s, Serena holds the Open period mark of 23, as a result of greater than half of Court’s whole got here earlier than professionals have been permitted to enter main tournaments in 1968).
Since coming back from maternity go away in 2018, Serena has reached 4 Slam finals, going 0-4. Her 2017 Australian Open title whereas pregnant at age 35 makes her the oldest lady to win a serious singles championship within the Open period. Ken Rosewall set the boys’s mark of 37 on the 1972 Australian Open.
Federer, the primary man to achieve 20 Slam trophies, is completed for 2021 as a result of he wants a 3rd operation on a proper knee that was repaired twice final yr. Nadal, who matched his rival’s whole by getting his twentieth main on the 2020 French Open, can also be carried out for the season, troubled by recurring left foot ache.
What nobody is aware of for certain, proper now, is when or, in truth, if every will return.
In Serena’s social media put up Wednesday about her withdrawal from the U.S. Open, she closed with this pledge: “I’ll see you soon.”
In Federer’s announcement 10 days earlier, he spoke about wanting “to give myself a glimmer of hope, also, to return to the tour in some shape or form.”
Nadal, the youngest of the group, vowed final week that he nonetheless has “a couple of beautiful years” left in his profession.
“I’ve all the time thought, every yr, as their careers obtained into the twilight years, each time we had them
right here within the U.S. Open, we have been extremely lucky,” Allaster stated.
“They have done so much for our sport and for this tournament.”
Now, although, there will probably be much more consideration on Novak Djokovic as he tries to finish the primary calendar-year Grand Slam by a person since Rod Laver in 1969 and break his tie with Federer and Nadal by claiming a twenty first main title.
And further consideration on reigning U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka as she returns to Grand Slam motion for the primary time since pulling out of the French Open, then Wimbledon, for a psychological well being break.
“We are disappointed for our fans. How could they not be disappointed? They’re fan favorites, without question. They are just such exceptional champions,” Allaster stated about Serena, Federer and Nadal.
“At the same time, the show goes on.”