Editorial: Tennis, Welcome to the New Age


Graphic by Amelia Coleman

Sanwi Sarode, sport editors

Tears have been shed in the tennis industry as top-notch players step down from their careers, leaving the mantle for the younger generation to carry. From Roger Federer to Serena Williams, both retiring at age 41, this year has seen some of the best tennis players of the generation step down from their post. 

Roger Federer, often referred to as the most beloved tennis player to be seen, according to Tennis World USA, retired in September 2022 after the Laver Cup tournament, giving a tearfilled farewell to his fans. Federer had 20 Grand Slam victories at the end of his career, with his specialty being at the grass courts at Wimbledon. Known for not only his effortless strokes, his class, and his humility on the court, but also his constantly cool composure and genuine shows of gratitude towards his fans. Federer was an inspiration for many rising tennis players, including myself. Following his departure, his tennis rival and friend Rafael Nadal said that Federer’s career has “set the tone for what it means to achieve excellence and lead with integrity and poise” and that it was “an honor to know [him] on and off court, and for many more years to come”, according to Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour. 

Also in September 2022, tennis star Serena Williams announced her retirement after the U.S. Open, one of the four major tennis tournaments of the year, leaving an everlasting mark on women’s tennis after her remarkable 27-year career, according to The Justice. At her peak, Williams broke the record for the most Grand Slam victories among male and female players in history, with 23 wins tucked under her belt. Needless to say, William’s powerful strokes, mental strength, and respect for her opponents on the court captured the hearts of fans worldwide.

Aside from these pillars in tennis, other prominent players, such as former number one women’s player Ashleigh Barty, and former men’s number three player Juan Martin del Patro, also retired from tennis due to a desire for perusement of other dreams and injuries respectively, according to ATP rankings. These are just a few of the vast number of players who have retired in 2022. With many influential players leaving their professional careers, it begs the question: what does the future of tennis have to offer?

The absence of these top players will now give rising stars more opportunity to shine. Women’s tennis especially has seen an influx in young players claiming the crown for Grand Slam tournaments, with 21-year-old Iga Świątek claiming an additional two Grand Slam victories since her first at the French Open Slam in 2020, according to Womens Tennis Association [WTA] Tennis. 19-year-old Emma Raducanu also made her Grand Slam win debut at the 2021 U.S. Open, taking the title without dropping a single set to an opponent. Finally, 18-year-old Cori Gauff, known to her fans as Coco Gauff, has been consistently reaching high rounds at tournaments, recently losing to Świątek at the WTA Finals. 

On the other hand, from men’s tennis, 21-year-old Jannik Sinner has been a sight to behold, getting close to winning several Grand Slam titles, only recently losing to 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz. Alcaraz has claimed the number one men’s ranking on the 2022 ATP list following his victory at the 2020 U.S. Open, a major change from the usual results of men’s tournaments in which the players known as the “Big Three” – Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – have often faced each other for the title, according to The Science Survey. Of course, now that Federer has left, it means that the race for the most male Grand Slam titles is now only between Nadal and Djokovic, creating an even stronger rivalry between the two players that is sure to spark fans’ interest in the future.

Among the young rising stars of this generation, many have cited Williams and Federer as their inspirations, showing these players’ lasting impact into the younger generation. Gauff even said that Williams was the one who taught her to never settle for less than what she worked for, according to the Los Angeles Times, and Alcaraz stated that Federer was all “talent, class, and elegance” and that his presence is a “gift” to all tennis fans and players.

Although these legends can never be replaced, the young prodigies excelling upon their leave certainly aspire to take after them and their success. It’s a marvel that fans got to witness such high class players competing together in the same generation, and it was certainly a blessing for them. Needless to say, the legacy left behind by Federer, Williams, and the many other strongholds of tennis will no doubt continue to last through tennis for generations to come.