Marc Rosset: 'Would Nadal have won Wimbledon if they hadn't slowed grass?'

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Marc Rosset: 'Would Nadal have won Wimbledon if they hadn't slowed grass?'

In a column for Le Temps, former top-10 singles player and Olympic medalist Marc Rosset commented about the many injuries that are influencing the ATP Tour. Rosset analyzed several factors. 'I'm sticking with the opinion I've had for many years: surface uniformity, slower courts and the increased protection of the top seeds (16 to 32) have ended up with the emergence of a generation of four or five players who won everything and, especially, never rested. They're now paying the price,' Rosset wrote. 'There's something that's been forgotten: in my era, thirty-somethings were pushed out by the younger. Today, the slowing of the courts has made tennis more physical and the newcomers don't have big enough "tanks" to stay with the best for five sets. We see it with Alexander Zverev, who wins Masters 1000's - which means he has the game - but withers in best-of-fives.'

He also said, 'I've been fighting against this tendency, which was adopted to satisfy the tournament organisers who all wanted Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray in the semi-finals. Would Nadal have won Wimbledon if they hadn't slowed the grass? Would Federer have won eight times if they'd done it a few years earlier? These will remain unanswered questions, but those decision have deeply changed tennis.' 

Finally, he said, 'The official story is that those players were "The Big Four", "The Fantastic Four" or a generation of extra-terrestrials. I remember a discussion a few years ago on BBC radio. A guy from the ATP was saying that, and I said no, it wasn't true. The best proof was Stan. We knew him as a kid and, so sorry, but he wasn't an extra-terrestrial. He built himself up through the years, especially physically. He was one of the only ones. Today, the ATP is being presented with the bill for its short term vision. Those who were winning are all injured, and there aren't many players behind them. Goffin, Dimitrov, Raonic, Thiem are all very good players but they're already 25-26 years old, and that's not an age where you become a big star. Borg, McEnroe, Becker, Sampres, Nadal all won their first Slams at 18 or 20. The current conditions don't allow it, and we end up with a US Open with an Arthur Ashe Stadium half empty for an Anderson-Carreño Busta semi-final which interests no one.'

Translation by Mark Nixon

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