This is definitely a topic that is always up for debate. Everyone has their favourite era and when the GOAT discussion starts, one era is always weaker than the other etc.
I grew up with Edberg and Becker as heroes, enjoyed Agassi’s unorthodox style, snoozed through Sampras dominance, regained interest in tennis thanks to Federer, and really got hooked during his dominant years, now I’m a devotee but I’m missing something. Something.
The sports keeps getting better. The physique, the gear, you need a whole team to be able to compete it seems. Some players you think almost more of as machines than as sports men. And this is probably what I miss: personality.
When I got back into tennis again, Federer had just started what was going to be a record run. Then Nadal came into the picture and made it more interesting. Their rivalry was exciting not only because of the quality of tennis, but due to the difference in styles. Compare it to Djokovic and Murray baseline-feasts and you know what I mean
But we also had other guys who could play amazing ball: Safin, Nalbandian, Gonzales, Roddick, to name a few. Big egos, big personalities, interesting to watch! Today we have a few promising young players, but outside that most of the top guys are rather boring. They play amazing tennis, but they don’t have a standout shot that defines them, they don’t throw tantrums and they lack the oomph to bring people who are not tennis nerd to the stands.
Out of the top ten, I don’t find many players I’m excited to watch. Federer, Nadal, maybe Nishikori, but that’s it. Djokovic and Murray are of course amazing players, but their baseline mastery is not exciting enough without a player to test them on the other side.
We need some funky new players in the top. Hotheads, crazy shotmakers like Dolgopolov, or colorful (always wears neon?) blasters like Kyrgios. I like Gulbis and Fognini because they’re kind of mental, but Gulbis has lost his game completely and Fognini beats Nadal one day and gets three games against Thiem the next. Well, maybe that’s what makes him interesting…
Tennis is a sport, but also a great spectator sport. Let’s hope we get some exciting new players soon to make sure it stays that way.
Which players do you think bring the extra entertainment to the court? Do you fear that we’re leaving a golden era for the sport into something else? Please comment below.