ATP chief optimistic about life after ‘Big Three’ | Tennis News

MUMBAI: Losing the top three players of all time would be a big blow to any sport, but ATP boss Andrea Gaudenzi says tennis is strong enough to thrive after Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic hung up their rackets.
Federer returned to the pitch after 14 months on the sidelines this week, and Nadal and Djokovic are going nowhere soon, but they’re all well over 30 and the ATP eventually has to host tournaments without them.
“I’m not at all worried about our sport if we do the right thing,” Gaudenzi told Reuters this week.
“And that doesn’t mean taking anything away from these three guys. They are probably the best players our sport has ever had and may be for a very, very long time.”
Federer, who will turn 40 in August, and 34-year-old Nadal have set the men’s record of 20 Grand Slam individual titles, while 33-year-old Djokovic is on the hunt on the 18th.
American Pete Sampras, who retired in 2002, is on the list with 14 majors – a brand that many thought would never get better.
“It’s going to be very, very difficult to hit these kinds of records, even though I said the same thing when Pete Sampras retired,” said Gaudenzi before adding, laughing, “I thought there will never be anyone who beats Pete’s. ” Records.
“Here we have three people who do that. So never say never.”
The so-called “Big Three” attract fans to the stands even after two decades on the tour, while their commercial appeal continues to fascinate brands and advertisers.
Only 11 of the last 68 Grand Slams have been won by other players, but Gaudenzi believes that more champions and fan favorites will emerge, if not immediately.
“We have to be realistic, even when you look back, you know you build these personalities over the years,” he said.
“We were concerned after Sampras retired. And it’s not that when Roger started winning straight away we were like, ‘Oh! This is the guy who’s going to save us.’ He grew up in it.
“We’ll be able to build new personalities, new champions who will grab the fans’ attention.”
Gaudenzi is confident that tennis is well positioned to compete in the rapidly changing global entertainment market, although he believes more work needs to be done on how the product is offered to the public.
“The reason I’m extremely optimistic is that tennis these days fits perfectly into the distribution of content in terms of volume and different time zones,” said the Italian.
“It’s global, gender neutral, we’re the best sport in terms of women’s equality, and it’s just super fun.
“You could argue, yes, it’s too long. But we can actually format it with short- and long-form highlights.
“It’s the way we distribute it, it’s the way we package it, it’s the way we sell it, it’s the way we handle it.

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