‘Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both in love with tennis and won’t disappear when they retire’
Tennis might initially find it difficult to replace Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal once they decide to hang up their rackets, but the sport can take comfort in the fact that the duo are unlikely to “disappear”, according to Federer’s coach Ivan Ljubicic.
Twenty-time Grand Slam winners Federer and Nadal have been an iconic pair not only in tennis, but world sport for the best part of two decades. Fierce rivals on the court, they also share a special bond off the court.
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However, with Federer celebrating his 40th birthday next year and Nadal turning 35, it is a given that retirement is not too far off.
Many fear that tennis might take a big hit once they call it a day, but Ljubicic says the duo’s love for tennis will see them remain involved in some capacity.
“Replacing Federer and Nadal will be difficult. But I don’t think tennis is in danger as a sport: it was also thought after [Bjorn] Borg and [John] McEnroe, or after [Andre] Agassi and [Pete] Sampras,” he told Tennis Magazine Italia.
“Perhaps, in the short term, those who win after them will not have the same appeal, the same charisma. But maybe they will buy it over time. But there is one thing that consoles me.
“That they are both in love with tennis. When they stop playing, Roger and Rafa will not disappear. There are other number ones that, once stopped, no one has seen them again. Roger and Rafa no, they will stay.”
Asked in what capacity they will remain involved, he replied: “Well, I don’t decide that. Nadal already has his own academy. Roger is his agency, and then he created the Laver Cup… After that I don’t know, I can’t know how things will go. In my opinion, they won’t be doing one thing full time.”
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