Serena retirement heralds sundown of sport’s golden period

Serena Williams of the U.S. serves throughout her first spherical match in opposition to Italy’s Camila Giorgi on the Australian Open tennis event at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jason O’Brien/File Picture

Serena Williams’ determination to bow out has left tennis staring firstly of the top of the game’s golden period, a dreaded however inevitable prospect that has lengthy been on the horizon.

The American, who will flip 41 subsequent month, mentioned that the countdown has begun for her to stop enjoying and dedicate extra time to her household and enterprise.

The choice — although not surprising given Williams’ struggles with kind and damage up to now 12 months — would have despatched shivers down the spines of tennis directors and organisers.

“She’s field workplace,” former British primary Greg Rusedski summed it up on Sky Sports activities.

“She’s carried ladies’s tennis for the final 20 years together with her sister Venus as properly, you’ve got clearly had different nice gamers round them, however she brings your non-tennis fan to the game.

“If you understand completely nothing about tennis, you understand the identify Serena Williams. She’s iconic and we’re dropping an icon of our sport and she or he will probably be actually, actually missed.”

However it won’t simply be a loss for girls’s tennis. She might properly be the primary in a sequence of ageing greats to name time on their enjoying careers within the close to future.

Like Williams, the triumvirate of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, have additionally dominated tennis for the final 20 years and revolutionised the game, drawing in new and outdated followers and a protracted line of sponsors.

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All 4 of them proceed to lure followers to the stands, cell and tv screens even after 20 years on the tour, whereas their industrial pull nonetheless mesmerizes manufacturers and advertisers.

Accidents to Williams, Federer and Nadal in recent times have raised the ‘retirement’ query again and again and followers and pundits have questioned how the game would deal with the prospect of dropping their most marketable athletes.

Federer, who turned 41 this week, has had a number of knee surgical procedures within the final two years and has not performed a aggressive match since happening within the quarter-finals of final 12 months’s Wimbledon.

The 20-time main winner has solely dedicated to enjoying at his hometown event in Basel and the Laver Cup later this 12 months and it stays unclear if the daddy of 4 could be able to decide to the rigours of the tour once more.

At 36, Nadal is comparatively youthful however a persistent foot subject pressured the Spaniard to ponder retirement final 12 months and in 2022 after he gained a males’s document twenty second main title on the French Open, enjoying with numbing injection earlier than every match in Paris.

A radio frequency remedy eased ache in his foot and allowed him to play Wimbledon however the left-hander doesn’t know whether or not the damage will flare up once more.

The 35-year-old Djokovic is the youngest among the many lot and undoubtedly the fittest; and seems to be the most effective wager to maintain the flag flying for tennis’ older era.

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The Serbian gained his twenty first main title at Wimbledon final month and has made it clear that he doesn’t lack motivation in chasing extra silverware.

Whereas the so-called ‘Massive Three’ of the boys’s recreation have continued to stave off the youthful era in terms of main success, Williams’ tennis profession has been much less productive up to now couple of years.

Her final Grand Slam triumph got here in 2017 and she or he has not gained a WTA title since lifting the ASB Traditional in Auckland firstly of the 2020 season.

Regardless of all that, Williams has remained the most important attract ladies’s tennis each time she takes the courtroom.