Simon Chambers, a panelist on Tennis Majors' videocast "Match Points", recently opined that although Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be dearly missed when they retire, the tennis community should stop expecting the younger players to take their place.
In a conversation with 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli and noted journalist Ben Rothenberg, Chambers noted how Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal account for a large percentage of the tennis viewership. The journalist also expressed disagreement with ATP's attempts at marketing the Next Gen as successors to the legendary duo.
"It's not going to be possible to replace Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and I don't think that the tour should try to market those guys in the same breath, or say that's what they're doing," Simon Cambers said.
Cambers' comment came in response to Marion Bartoli, who had earlier opined that tennis would be hit hard when 'Big 3' finally call it a day. According to Bartoli, it is difficult for a player to become popular with casual fans if their name isn't Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. The Frenchwoman also cited the poor TV viewership numbers from this year's Miami Masters to prove her point.
"Not yet at all, and the numbers are showing it," Bartoli replied when asked whether men's tennis was ready for life after the Big 3. "The final of the Miami Open this year between Sinner and Hurkacz lost 72% of the viewers on the ratings on the TV compared to the 2019 final between Roger Federer and John Isner. So that's just showing in itself that (the sport is not ready for life post Big 3)."
Panelist suggests Next Gen will have to reach the top on the strength of their own achievements
The trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the most iconic athletes in tennis history, and have continued to dominate the tour even after going past their prime. The 'Big 3' have won 14 of the last 15 Majors, making many wonder whether the sport will ever stop revolving around them.
Cambers echoed that sentiment during the interaction, as he called for a "new breed" to take the reins of the ATP tour. The journalist added that the Next Gen will have to work hard to carve out their own path to glory.
"This has to be a new breed, they'll have to work really, really hard at it," Cambers said.