The break from tennis because of the spread of coronavirus has had different effect on various players. And given the short careers that most tennis players have, it remains to be seen how it affects the careers of the top ones like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Some other players have had their say.
Djokovic was the top-ranked player before tennis, along with most other sports, went on an extended break because of the pandemic while Rafael Nadal was ranked second in the world.
Also both were gunning for Roger Federer’s record 20 Grand Slam titles, with Djokovic having clinched his 17th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier this year while Nadal was expected to level Federer’s record at Roland-Garros.
Things have come to a grinding halt since March and the question now is whether or how it affects these three tennis maestros. Former Spanish player and a contemporary of all three, David Ferrer has had his say.
Ferrer reckons this break could extend their careers, helping them regroup and recover from the wear and tear of the grind that the extended tennis season brings with it. Federer, for instance, had opted to get back to playing on clay and a numerous exhibition competitions along with the Laver Cup.
Nadal led Spain in the Davis Cup late last year and followed it up with a few exhibition matches earlier this year before representing his country at the newly-founded ATP Cup as well.
Speaking to Marca, Ferrer said:
“This break can be good for Rafa and Roger, with this break we hope we can enjoy them for a few more years.”
Another former player, Germany’s Boris Becker also seemed to have agreed with this assessment, saying the break would not only help Federer but also women’s legend Serena Williams. In a Sky Sport interview, Becker announced:
“If the year is lost then I don’t think it’s bad for Federer or Serena. They haven’t really abused their body for a year so in a way they have gained a year.”
Becker also said someone like Andy Murray who is still recovering from his hip injury, and Djokovic would be benefitted by the break but the younger players might not be too happy. Incidentally Nadal had earlier claimed a year off at this stage of his career feels worse off than if he was 20.
Current American player Reilly Opelka, however, had a different view from the others. He said he reckoned the hiatus might not be good for Djokovic and Nadal, depending on when they return from it. He said:
“I don’t see a near-end to this. I don’t think it will be easy to categorize who it helps. If it’s going to hurt anyone, it’s probably Novak or Rafa, depending on when we come back. For those guys, it will affect them a lot more.”
For now, the only tennis on offer is the Tennis Point Exhibition Series, which is being in Germany.