Younger ATP players are not "moving the needle" for tennis like Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic: Patrick McEnroe

Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev after the final of the 2021 Nitto ATP World Tour Finals
Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev after the final of the 2021 Nitto ATP World Tour Finals
Ewan West

Patrick McEnroe does not believe the younger generation of ATP players are "moving the needle" for tennis in the way Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have. The American thinks it is inevitable, though, that Alexander Zverev will win a Major title in his career.

The top 10 of the ATP rankings currently feature eight players aged 25 or younger, with World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev the oldest in this group. Djokovic, 34, and Nadal, 35, are the two players outside this age bracket, while 40-year-old Roger Federer sits in 16th position after two injury-plagued seasons.

Zverev won the 2021 ATP Finals last week by beating his rival Medvedev in the final. The ATP is currently investigating allegations of domestic abuse made against Zverev by his former girlfriend Olga Sharypova. The German has denied the allegations.

In an interview with The New York Times, McEnroe addressed the allegations against Zverev, and how he feels the 24-year-old has been impacted.

“I think it’s affected him personally a lot more than he’s let on,” McEnroe said. “These allegations hanging over him are very uncomfortable, and we can only hope it works out for everybody, including the young woman in this situation."

The American then asserted his view that younger ATP players, such as Zverev and Medvedev, are not helping tennis advance off the court like the Big 3 have done.

"But the larger issue for tennis if I put on my ESPN hat and former U.S.T.A. hat is that, let’s be honest, these young guys at the moment are not moving the needle for tennis the same way the older guys have," McEnroe continued. "They are not selling tickets the first week of the U.S. Open the same way that Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have been doing.”

McEnroe also expressed his view that it is a matter of time before Zverev wins his first Grand Slam title. The German lost in five sets in the semifinals at the French Open and US Open this year and came within two points of winning the 2020 US Open.

“I feel like it’s inevitable Zverev is going to win a major,” added McEnroe. “I’ve been saying for a couple years that he’s been knocking on the door. Now he’s banging on it.”

Novak Djokovic practises ahead of 2021 Davis Cup Finals

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic headed straight to the practice courts after landing in Innsbruck for the 2021 Davis Cup Finals. Djokovic trained with Serbian teammate Miomir Kecmanovic just three days after losing to Alexander Zverev in the semifinals of the ATP Finals.

#Djokovic in practice with Miomir Kecmanović. #DavisCup📹 @TSSRBIJE

Serbia are in Group F with Germany and Austria for the team event, which begins on Thursday.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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