John McEnroe believes the sport of tennis will continue to grow despite the loss of big stars upon retirement.
Roger Federer brings the curtain down on his career as he competes against a McEnroe-trained Team World.
Meanwhile Serena Williams has moved away from the sport and McEnroe admits that both players are very well supported, but feels that their departure makes room for the emergence of new stars.
“These two players are irreplaceable,” he said.
“I don’t think there is any doubt about it.”
However he added: “The sport goes on anyway, and we have seen it in every sport over time.
“The opportunity is there to market these kids in a way that I don’t think we’ve done successfully before.
“Serena and Roger probably have more fans than anyone else in tennis,” said the American.
“But, you know, there are so many more players.
“I think tennis is getting a lot more fun because you’re seeing so many new people win.
“It’s really exciting that in these big events there are 10 different people who could potentially win. Hopefully their fans will stay in the sport, they want to keep watching. “
McEnroe hopes both players are not destined to completely walk away from the game, as they both have broad interests that could keep them away from the sport.
“They were icons, idols for all of us sitting here,” he said at a pre-tournament press conference.
“Hopefully, you know, they have a chance to give back in some way and stay around tennis.”
This was a sentiment taken up by Team World best player Felix Auger-Aliassime.
“They were icons, idols for all of us sitting here,” he said at a pre-tournament press conference. “Hopefully, you know, they have a chance to give back in some way and stay around tennis.”
Later, in the same Laver Cup press, Andy Murray admitted that thoughts of retirement had crossed his mind.
“As you get older as athletes and with some of the physical problems, you think about what if or when you should stop and when is the right time and how you would like it to be,” Murray said.
“I’ve thought about it myself, but I don’t think there are many better ways to go out than this way.”
The unprecedented longevity and success achieved by Federer and rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have raised the bar in the sport, but life and tennis go on.
READ MORE: John McEnroe on Roger Federer “It’s a total class act”
The article John McEnroe believes tennis has a bright future despite the big withdrawals first appearing on Tennis365.com.