March 15, 2024

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Tennis-End of An Era, But Alcaraz and Swiatek Ready to Keep Torch Burning

4 min read
Tennis-End of An Era, But Alcaraz and Swiatek Ready to Keep Torch Burning

The men’s “big four” may be history but two of its remaining members, In a transformative year for tennis, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal continued to put up strong resistance to the younger players.

Although the retirement of Swiss master Roger Federer in September at the age of 41 was not shocking, he had not played since the summer of 2021.

In particular, Serena Williams’ emotional farewell speech at the U.S. Open a few weeks prior was noteworthy because, like Federer, she was an icon whose influence extended far beyond the tennis court. Open aged 40.

Williams lost to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the tournament despite having the most Grand Slam singles titles ever with 23, even though she finished one behind Margaret Court’s record.

It sparked an outpouring of tributes for the American, whose journey from the open courts of Compton in Los Angeles to more than two decades of glittering dominance was the stuff of Hollywood fairytales, along with sister Venus.

“Congratulations, Serena, for your heart, skill, intelligence, dedication, and grace,” former President Obama of the United States.

“Few athletes have influenced more people in and outside of their sport than these ones!”

In a career that saw him win 20 Grand Slam tournament titles, Federer most certainly accomplished that. He did so with style and panache that may never be matched. Throughout his 24-year professional career, he raised the bar for effortless shot-making, laying the groundwork for unquestionably the greatest era of men’s tennis.

With Nadal, the Spaniard whose career has been gloriously intertwined with his, made an appropriate exit in London, the city where he won a record eight Wimbledon titles.

There weren’t many dry eyes in the room as both players sobbed and even held hands after their doubles match against Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at the Laver Cup.

Therefore, tennis needs to fill two voids in 2023, but Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek seem qualified to do so.

Enduring Brilliance

In the Australian Open final, Nadal came back from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev and win a men’s record 21st Grand Slam title. He then made it 22 by defeating Casper Ruud of Norway to win his 14th French Open.

After getting involved in a political controversy over his lack of COVID-19 vaccination and being deported prior to the Australian Open, Djokovic brilliantly bounced back to defeat Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon and increase his Grand Slam total to 21.

Despite their enduring brilliance, Alcaraz accelerated into the post-Federer era as the year came to a close.

After traveling across the Atlantic in August to win the U.S. Open, he won the Miami Open in April when he was just 18 years old. become the youngest ATP world number one while also playing in open.

In 2023, it will be tantalizing to see Alcaraz square off against the historically aspirant Djokovic and the grizzled veteran Nadal.

Swiatek, from Poland, seems prepared to exert the kind of constant dominance that Serena did when she was at her best.

Eight victories were won by the 21-year-old this year, including her second and third Grand Slams at the French Open and U.S. Open. open, and had a record-breaking 37-match winning streak.

It would have been fascinating to see her go up against the erratic Australian Ash Barty, who in January ended a 44-year drought for a singles champion at her home Grand Slam by defeating American Danielle Collins in Melbourne.

But less than two months later the world number one Barty announced she was “spent” and was retiring aged 25.

Swiatek defeated Ons Jabeur of Tunisia and rising American Coco Gauff in the French Open final. Open final.

Jabeur came perilously close to becoming the first African woman and the first Arab to win a Grand Slam singles title. Her mesmerizing racket prowess and vivacious personality won her adoring fans around the globe.

On Wimbledon’s Centre Court, everything appeared to be set up for her, but she ran into Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, whose powerful hitting destroyed Jabeur’s hopes.

The Wimbledon organizers, who took a risk by forbidding Russian players in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, found it awkward that Rybakina, who was born and raised in Moscow, had won a title.

The tournament’s unilateral stance, for which the ATP fined it 820,000 pounds, will probably be put to the test once more the following year since there is still no sign of an end to the war.

Reference: https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/tennis-end-an-era-alcaraz-swiatek-ready-keep-torch-burning-2022-12-15/

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