Former French Open finalist Henri Leconte says that tennis has changed, going from tennis passion to tennis business and that the sport would be very different once the Big Three retire.
Henri Leconte on the sport of tennis and the Big Three - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
According to Le Telegramme, Leconte says that the sport of tennis has already changed and that it would change even further in the coming years.
"I started playing with a wooden racket. Since then, we have moved into another dimension. We have gone from tennis passion to tennis business. There are fewer licensees, fewer players. A lot of clubs are dying because people are less drawn to tennis.
Nevertheless, it is possible that the "club" atmosphere will return after what we are living with the Covid-19. Because people will travel less, because they will consume differently. That's what I want, anyway.
But the difficulty is to attract the young fans who today have the possibility of practicing a whole bunch of disciplines. I see it in my club. Sometimes some, even after 15, go to other sports." Leconte also spoke about the the impending change of guard in the coming years when Federer, Nadal and Djokovic retire from the sport.
"It's amazing, we'll never have that again. This generation of players lives in another world. And we will have to forget it. Besides, it wouldn't be surprising if Federer ended his career after Wimbledon. And then it will be over.
Because we will see and experience sport in a whole new way. We may move into a more virtual world, through our phone or television. The Zverevs, Thiem and others knock on the door. But it will be different. The magical era that we had will be over and it will necessarily be something else.
I think people don't realize it." The Frenchman also says that it was the players such as Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, who were the first superstars of tennis and helped paved the way for future players. "Who created the megastars? It's Björn Borg and John McEnroe.
With Borg, people were crazy. But today, what touches us and what we have left are the authentic things. However, we are very much in the virtual and find it difficult to identify ourselves. It is dangerous because it becomes difficult to convey very important messages to the new generation.
Some children may stay in front of their screens all day. Passion, work, respect, generosity are nevertheless important values to be transmitted." Henri Leconte reached the men's singles final at the French Open in 1988, won the French Open men's doubles title in 1984, and helped France win the Davis Cup in 1991.