Top players like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer have ruled men's tennis for two decades and are still going strong. They, along with many others, have successfully grabbed the world's attention and even attracted fans from countries where tennis might not be the most popular sport.
Ever since the three players burst onto the scene, it has been impossible for any other player to win Majors consistently. However, one country that has experienced the biggest setback in all these years is the US.
Having seen players like Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi come from the US, many find it difficult to believe that an American man last won a Major event 19 years ago. No male player from the States has won a Grand Slam title since Andy Roddick won the 2003 US Open at the age of 21.
After the conclusion of the 2022 Citi Open on Sunday, tournament chairman Mark Ein weighed in on whether an American man winning a Major would increase the popularity of tennis in the country. Although Ein didn't think that it was absolutely necessary, he hopes that day will come soon.
"I think we live in a world where players like Rafa and Nick can inspire kids of any nationality. If Frances Tiafoe wins a Grand Slam, that's going to have a huge impact, because people see that he grew up in Maryland, in Washington, and he's now at the top. It would be wonderful," Ein said.
I don't think it's required for the sport to thrive, but I do think it would be a real boost if and when it ultimately happens on the men's side. It's obviously been happening on the women's side for a long time," Ein added.
Rafael Nadal opts out of the Canadian Open
During the Wimbledon quarterfinal match against Taylor Fritz last month, Rafael Nadal's abdominal injury aggravated, resulting in him slowing down significantly. Although he found a way to win the match in a five-set thriller, the abdominal tear forced him to withdraw from the tournament a day before his scheduled semifinal clash with Nick Kyrgios.
Unfortunately, the 36-year-old has still not recovered from the injury and announced his withdrawal from the National Bank Open last week.
“I have been practicing for a while now without serving and started with serves four days ago. Yesterday, after my normal practice, I felt a slight bother on my abdomen and today it was still there. After speaking with my doctor, we prefer to take things in a conservative way and give a few more days before starting to compete. I am very sad not to finally travel to Montréal. It’s a tournament that I have won 5 times and I love to play there," Nadal said.