No need to worry, tennis fans. The future of the sport is in exceptional hands.
The 2022 U.S. Open started with a much-deserved, star-studded farewell to legend Serena Williams, who showed up to her goodbye party dressed as only she can – in a glittery figure skating-inspired tennis dress and custom sneakers emblazoned with 400 hand-set diamonds with the words “Queen” and “Mama” embroidered on solid gold shoelace tags.
Williams’ three matches drew 80,000 spectators as everyone wanted to get a final look at one of the greatest athletes of all time. There was a sense of sadness when she walked off the court for almost certainly the last time after a third-round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic.
But by the final weekend of the tournament, 19-year-old Spanish phenom Carlos Alcaraz had cemented his place as “The Next Big Thing” in tennis, and it was abundantly clear that there will be a handful of exciting players to watch after Serena, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic are gone.
Time will tell whether the new generation will dominate as those four did – 20 of the past 23 men’s major titles were won by Federer, Nadal and Djokovic – but it should be a fun ride.
The electrifying Alcaraz, a “generational talent” in the words of John McEnroe, on Monday became the youngest world No. 1 since the ATP rankings were created nearly 50 years ago. He possesses a rare blend of power, speed, finesse, variety and composure that belie his youth. His point construction is superb, his drop shots daring