Even as we saw a glimpse of the future of tennis as Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev battled it out for the ATP Finals title, Thiem believes it will be a challenge for the younger generation to keep the tennis fans hooked after the ‘Big 4’ of men’s tennis retire.
Medvedev and World No 3 Thiem had beaten both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic during the week to make the finale.
“They (Roger Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Andy Murray) brought so many people to tennis, so many new fans to tennis,” said Thiem, after his 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 defeat to Medvedev on Sunday evening.
“And as I said, there is going to be a time when they are not around anymore, and then it’s going to be so important to keep all the tennis fans, to keep them with this great sport.
“I think that’s our challenge, that we perform well, that we play great in big tournaments, that we become huge stars ourselves.
— Dominic Thiem (@ThiemDomi) November 21, 2020
“It’s super important for tennis in general, because, I mean, they gave so much to the sport. Yeah, as I said, that’s our challenge to keep all those people with tennis and to maybe continue their story.”
Thiem made a breakthrough for the younger generation earlier in the year as he won the US Open. The 27-year-old Austrian is the first player outside the Big 3 – Federer, Nadal Djokovic—to win a major since 2016.
Medvedev, who won his maiden ATP Finals on Sunday, echoed the thoughts, hoping that ATP’s Next Gen can create timeless rivalries and keep the tennis fans entertained.
“Hopefully, all of us young guys will continue pushing, will have some great rivalries,” the 24-year-old Russian said.
“Hopefully we can be there for a long time, maybe pushing the other generations back, because that’s how we can be close to the top three. They probably went through two, three generations without dropping their level, which is not easy.
“But what is definitely good from us, from Dominic, from me, we managed both to beat Rafa and Novak, which is an amazing accomplishment.”