By Brandon Wall
This season has been dominated by the older generation of players. 2017 has seen the likes of Nadal, Federer and the Williams sisters return to the very top echelon of the game. Nadal made history winning his 10th Roland Garros, and Federer marked his legacy with another Australian Open victory. The return of Venus Williams to a Grand Slam final rekindled the best sibling rivalry in all of sport, and saw Serena capture her 23rd Grand Slam title. In amongst all this greatness, veterans Mischa Zverev, 29, and Mirjana Lučić-Baroni, 35, shone bright, both having breakout years. However, can the seniors of the sport keep this dominance going, or will 2017 mark the end of an era in tennis?
The young talent on the WTA circuit is always growing and throughout the last few seasons they have shown why they are highly touted to become future champions. Jelena Ostapenko is a prime example, winning her maiden title at the French Open earlier this month, aged just 20. The women’s game is filled with up-and-comers, including Madison Keys, Naomi Osaka, and perhaps the most impressive, Elina Svitolina, aged only 21 and currently leading this year’s WTA Race to Singapore. Each of these candidates have the skill to take the tour by storm, it’s not a question of if they will, but merely when they will fulfill their potential and rise to greatness. The Williams sisters have been impressive lately; however, with Serena’s pregnancy, Venus likely nearing retirement, and young players rising up the ranks rapidly, could 2017 be the last we see of this dynamic duo at the top of the sport?
The ATP is just as strong when it comes to young players challenging for the top spots. Dominic Thiem has pushed Nadal on the clay this season, trying to find a way to dethrone the long-standing King of Clay. Other rising stars including Nick Kyrgios, Alexandr Zverev and Jack Sock, all capable of causing historic upsets and playing out of their skin on the biggest stages. Djokovic and Murray have both seen drops in form from last season. Their dip opened the door for the next-gen players, along with Nadal and Federer to make their mark on the 2017 season in big ways. However, Nadal has had a stint of injuries lately and Federer is taking more and more time away from the sport. So, with young players gaining confidence every day and potential injuries looming, how long can Federer and Nadal truly keep competing at the top tier of tennis?
Could this season mark the last hurrah for some of the all-time greats of tennis? With injuries aplenty, retirements looming and young talent on the rise, 2017 could mark the end of a truly great era in tennis.