The ABN Amro World Tennis Championships in Rotterdam is underway this week and while the tournament has attracted a decent field with the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gaël Monfils, David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Roberto Bautista Agut, Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov among the seeded players, the event is lacking the buzz that comes with the presence of one of the members of tennis' BIg Three - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
And at least one Dutch tennis expert says that the Big Three are not likely to play in Rotterdam in the future. Commentator and former player Marcella Mesker says, "The level is fine. But the men under the top 3 are not good enough to hold the event.
Not in terms of charisma and therefore not in terms of tennis, with defeats for Medvedev and Tsitsipas in the first and second round. Federer and Djokovic never do that." Mesker says that having a top Dutchman in the field would also be helpful.
"Previously, even after the golden generation, you had a Sjeng Schalken, who often made it to the quarterfinals. That helps, just as Kiki Bertens now creates a hype for the media and the public. And you can forget the big three.
They won't come anymore. You will get a time with a different winner every week. Then it takes a long time before you have new icons. There are real gems to admire this week with players like Jannik Sinner and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The real enthusiast is often on the second ring, too far from the center court. The lodges along the track determine the atmosphere. Logical that the VIPs are there, they make the tournament possible. But that makes it all a bit dull.
" Raemon Sluiter says: "Put Daniil Medvedev in jeans on the Lijnbaan and he does not have to hand out many signatures or take pictures. Tsitsipas played on Wednesday. Nice guy, high ranking, did a fantastic job last year.
But those players still have to create their fan base. The field of participants is fantastic and everything around the center court too. But it is all a bit slow. Also a matter of the current time. I always heard great stories about Ilie Nastase, Guillermo Vilas, John McEnroe from my planner Bob Janse, who worked here in the 70s.
That was rock and roll. Those guests played less, sometimes made a deal here and there at the smaller tournaments. All of that is no longer there. It is now so intense and intense, there is no longer any room for those kinds of excesses, which make for smooth stories. Beautiful on the one hand, but also a pity. ”