Andrea Gaudenzi is the new Chairman of the ATP Tour and while many fans and experts are worried about the state of men's tennis after The Big Three (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) retire, the Italian himself does not seem very concerned, saying that tennis is a great product and that the sport will eventually create new stars in the future.
In an interview to the ATP Tour website, Gaudenzi, who took over his new role as Chairman on 1st January 2020, says, "Honestly, I think the game of tennis is a great product, so eventually the events and the sport will create new stars.
Their longevity is incredible though, and of course they will be missed whenever they decide to retire. If you look back, the sport has always generated amazing rivalries — when I played in the years of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in the ‘90s, and before that it was Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, and so on.
When I quit tennis, I said to myself, “No one ever will win more than 14 Slams like Sampras did and it's going to be very difficult to match the rivalry between Sampras and Agassi”. Both of these assumptions were actually passed because now we have Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal competing for record Slams.
So who knows what happens in the future and maybe greater things await us in the future." The ATP has introduced a new competition this year - the ATP Cup - which Gaudenzi says is going to be a great event since most players like the feeling of playing a team competition.
"As a player, I loved to play team events. Tennis is a pretty lonely sport. You travel all around by yourself, you're alone in a hotel room. You've got your team, but basically it's yourself against everyone. So playing in a team for a couple of weeks a year, you get that sense of team play and playing for your country is something special, so I think it's going to be a great event."
The 46 year old Gaudenzi, who was a former Top 20 player himself, says that the ATP Tour is doing very well for itself currently but the tour needs to work to take on the opportuities of the future. "It’s doing very well.
We are always doing very well. We are probably at the greatest time in terms of the players and the talent. We’ve got three of the best players of all time still playing at the top, even at their age. In terms of media in general, the technology and media distribution is allowing a wider reach to consumers.
And, of course, linear broadcast remains critical as well, but now with the digital distribution also reaching a younger audience there is a huge opportunity, with social media as well. So we are in the right place, but I think the best is yet to come and we have some work to do to take on the opportunities of the future."