Should ATP thank Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for the great growth of men's tennis of these 15 years? ATP has seen its brand grow exponentially in the last decade and beyond, thanks to various factors.
A set of data shows the obvious business increases, media coverage, presence of crowd in stadiums, increase in prize money, more tournaments and new cutting-edge technological facilities (the last three wonders are the retractable roofs on Arthur Ashe Stadium, in New York, on Court No.
1 at Wimbledon and on Court Philippe Chatrier, in Paris). Thanks to careful and skilful management, ATP created a real empire, thanks to social media with all the fans. ATP investments were a crucial part of this huge increase in popularity, but without Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would it have been the same? Probably not.
The Big Three monopolized the last age of tennis, marking records that will hardly be broken in the future, winning titles, playing legendary matches and conquering the love of fans and crowds. Needless to deny it: if Federer, Nadal or Djokovic play a tournament, for the organizers this means gold: full stadiums, sold-out tickets, merchandising and media covers.
Slams tournaments mark a new crowd record every year. Year after years. And so it happens for the ATP Masters 1000. Just think that Roger, Rafa and Nole are the three tennis players who won the most Slams ever in men's singles.
And now, after the Australian Open 2020, they are all very close: Federer 20 Slams, Nadal 19, Djokovic 17. This means that the next two years will be exciting, amazing and thrilling. In short, two years in which ATP will see its success multiply.
The Big Three's role in increasing the popularity of tennis was crucial; without them, everything would have been different. Just look at the Match for Africa 6 charity event in Cape Town. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal scored a new spectator record for a single tennis match (more than 51,000 present at Cape Town Stadium).
The real question is: what will happen after them? Will ATP find other champions who can take their baton and continue the rise of the world of tennis? Yes. It has happened in the past, it will happen in the future too. But how and when is a complicated question to answer?