Tennis, Tiafoe, Nadal discussed on Bloomberg Best


It wasn't Venus. So thank you very much. And all those stepping away from the court by some of the sport's greatest stars is intensifying discussion here in the U.S. about the new up and coming players, including the young Francis TFO, who made it to the men's semifinals before losing to Carlos alcaraz. I'm going to come back and I will win this thing one day. I'm sorry, guys. TFO is the first black American to reach the semifinals since tennis great. Arthur Ashe did that more than 50 years ago. And tennis star and ESPN commentator, Patrick Mack, and roe, says they're just some amazing stories behind some of the younger players who will infuse new energy in the sport. And here he is with Bloomberg's Kathleen Hayes. Let's listen in. Francis giacomo store is an incredible one. It's like an American fairytale, really, with his parents coming from Sierra Leone, his mom working two jobs as a nurse. His dad being the head of maintenance at a tennis facility, and that's how Francis and his twin brother happened to get into tennis. Just amazing, but also these guys play with so much with athleticism, style. And they love it. And the crowds love them. Well, I was fortunate enough to be in Arthur Ashe. When tiafoe beat Nadal, that was quite a moment for a lot of people. Not only the thrill of seeing this young man that we've been watching just his acceleration in his development as a tennis player, right? And also for people kind of there in nostalgia about seeing Rafa Nadal, who's not done yet, present presumably, but see him lose not even get to the finals. I mean, it was a great performance by Francis and even though Nadal was at his absolute best. It was still pretty darn good. And tiafoe had a really play well and finish him off because the Dow is not going to give anything away. And remember Rafa hadn't lost a match in a major all year, he won the first two majors of the year in Australia and at the French Open. And then had to withdraw before his semifinal with Nick curios at Wimbledon because of the stomach injury. So because of the stomach injury all summer that he was nursing, he wasn't really at a 100%. But again, that being said, he's still Rafa. You still got to finish him off. And tiafoe did that. And then he came back to be the very tough Andrei Rublev this Russian in the quarterfinals to make his move into the semifinals. Oh, yeah. He's a dynamo for sure. So it is part of this new era about race losing Serena gaining TFO. Is the new era about tennis also spreading to more different kinds of people in the U.S. and globally. Well, definitely has done that on the women's side. I mean, you've saw the Serena and Venus effect with lots of young African American women who are now not that young, but you've obviously got the youngest one and coco Goff when you've had Madison keys and Sloane Stephens. And countless others. So I've seen a change even in the last ten years attending a lot of junior tennis tournaments as I do with even in our tennis academy at Randall's island here, the McEnroe tennis academy. So I've seen the impact from all backgrounds of particularly young girls. And I hope that tiafoe will have some impact on young boys because I still think at least in the United States it's not as popular in the African American community. Tennis, it is for women. I think mostly because of Venus and Serena and also because in professional women's tennis, you can make a lot of money. So that attracts more people of all different backgrounds to the sport, whereas tennis for guys for young boys is not at the top of the list. But worldwide, you're actually right. I mean, players coming from all over the world is just amazing. The popularity of tennis has grown in other parts of the world. Especially in the last 20 years, which is why in some ways, the U.S., I think, fell behind in creating and helping develop top players. But it's good to see that that's the women's side. We're doing very well. And on the men's side, we're starting to see an impact of tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul, Opel, brooksby, corda. We've got a good group of good, really good young American men, but TFO definitely has the most charismatic of all those players. I think the first one now to get through to a major semifinal. We'll ask a couple other questions looking ahead, for example, will someone not named Nadal when the French Open in 2023? That's a great question, Kathleen. Some of it depends on the health of Nadal. He did look a little bit slower, which he actually admitted in his post match press conference. I'm going to say yes. I'm going to say yes, someone will. I mean, it's got to happen at some point, right? I mean, I think with alcaraz's development, Casper Ruud, who's great play core player, got to the finals last year, losing to Nadal. He would be a guy. And sinner, sinner, who lost to alcaraz can play on clay as well. So I think the younger generation, not only are they coming, Kathleen, they're here. They're here and I think that's sinner alcaraz match was really, to me, a generational shift in the way the game is played. The speed and the tempo that the match was played at was something I haven't seen before quite honestly. So whether the one of those guys or someone else can put that together in a major at the French Open if the Dell's healthy will be something to see next year and certainly be something to look for. How about Novak Djokovic? He's in great shape. He wants to play he wanted to play in this open and he couldn't. So what are his prospects looking like to you? I think his prospects are great. I mean, obviously it's been rough for him because of his decision not to be vaccinated to play a lot of tournaments. He hasn't been able to come to the U.S. and he's missed a lot of big events, obviously missed the Australian open. Those are two tournaments where he'd be the favorite at. But I think yes, he's still quick enough and nimble enough that he could play with these young guys, but I don't think for that much longer. I mean, that's how good I think this new players are. So, you know, I give them another one to three years, probably where if he can stay healthy and motivated and get into countries. And helping them that he's not able to play that many tournaments. But again, he knew what he was doing when he made a decision to not get back to he's the only tennis player at least in the top ranking to the world that made that decision. But from a tenant standpoint, there's no doubt that he can still play at this level for a couple more years. So another looking ahead question. Serena's retiring so we can

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