Roger Federer Urges Respect In The Men’s Game When The ‘Big Four’ Retire
The ATP Tour should not worry about the prospect of a member of the ‘big four’ retiring, according to Roger Federer.
Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic make up the quartet that has dominated the tour over the past decade. Between them, they have won 50 grand slam titles since 2003 as well as 99 Masters 1000 trophies. In the ATP Emirates rankings Nadal is the current world No.1 followed by Federer in second. The legacy created by the players has broken various records with the 36-year-old Swiss player admitting that there will be a void in the game when they retire.
“There’s going to be a certain void, when Rafa retires or Novak or myself or anybody of that stature who has been in the game for 15, 20 years and done great things and records and all that stuff, which we all have in our own ways.” Federer told reporters in Shanghai following his win over Alexandr Dolgopolov.
It is for this reason why the ATP has been pushing hard with their Next Generation campaign. An initiative to promote and support the rising stars of the men’s game. Next month will be the inaugural Next Gen finals in Milan featuring the highest ranked players under the age of 21. Although world No.4 Alexander Zverev remains unsure about his participation.
Federer is hopeful that his fans will continue to follow the sport when he retires. The 19-time grand slam champion has a social media profile of 9.67 million followers on Twitter and almost 15 million likes on his official Facebook page. According to Forbes, he is the fourth highest paid athlete in the world this year with $58 million in endorsements alone.
“Our fans hopefully will still follow tennis, or it’s going to be different for them or unfortunately they will leave tennis.” Explained Federer.
“The new generation is going to bring in new fans. The wheel keeps turning. There is all the Masters 1000s every year, the 250s, 500s that keep moving on, same as the slams and the World Tour Finals. It’s going to create new players, new legends, new Hall of Famers.”
Respect the legacy
The positive outlook from the world No.2 comes with a warning from him as well. The future of the sport will be in good hands as long as players show respect and appreciation to past superstars of the game. Federer was pivotal in the creation of the Laver Cup, a team tournament featuring Europe against the rest of the world. In Prague he said that he wanted to create the event in order to celebrate the previous icons of the sport. The tournament is named after Rod Laver, who claimed two calendar grand slams during his career. Federer’s belief is something he hopes the likes of Zverev and Dominic Thiem will emulate in their careers.
“It’s always going to be fine, in my opinion, as long as we respect the legacy that the players have left behind, remember who have paved the way for us.” He stated.
“If we do it with class because I think our sport is very classy and I hope it’s always going to remain this way. So we will be fine.”
Federer will resume his Shanghai campaign on Friday when he takes on Richard Gasquet in the quarter-finals. This week he is bidding to win his 94th ATP title.