Clive Brunskill / Getty Photos; Sarah Stier / Getty Photos; Rob Newell – CameraSport through Getty Photos
I’m not a psychic. I am a tennis fan. However I’ve a prediction: I consider this weekend’s Laver Cup might be one of the vital watched sporting occasions ever. The Laver Cup pits six of the highest males’s tennis gamers from any a part of Europe in opposition to six of the highest males’s tennis gamers from the remainder of the world, in a Ryder Cup-like match. It is Group Europe versus Group World.
No, it is not the Tremendous Bowl. It is not the NBA championship. It is not the Olympics. However it’s the final alternative you’ll have to see three of the best athletes who ever walked this Earth: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic play collectively, on Group Europe.
It’s a historic second that any sports activities fan wants to look at. These three athletes have dominated a sport in such a means that it’s exhausting to think about Grand Slam tennis with out them.
Again in 2003, I referred to Pete Sampras as the perfect tennis participant that ever lived. Which he was. At the moment, I by no means thought we might see one other like him. Not to mention three. (Bear in mind, I am simply speaking males right here. Do not even get me began on Serena and her 23 Grand Slam titles. Serena is an entire different story. Are you able to say GOAT, GOAT, GOAT?)
However since Federer gained his first Wimbledon remaining in 2003, the Massive Three – as they’re identified – have cumulatively gained 63 Grand Slam titles. Solely 14 Grand Slams in that timeframe have been gained by males not named Federer, Nadal or Djokovic. (Sarcastically, that is the identical variety of Grand Slams that Pete Sampras gained, earlier than the Massive Three got here on the scene and obliterated his reign di lui because the GOAT.)
After this weekend, we should see Rafa. And we should see Novak going for extra Grand Slams. However the one which began all of it? The primary of the Massive Three – Roger Federer? We’ll by no means have the possibility to see him play one other Grand Slam once more. This weekend is his goodbye of him. What higher means for him to exit than alongside his two biggest rivals di lui?
So thanks, Roger, thanks, Rafa, thanks, Novak. You’re the GOATs. Plural. Individuals can argue forwards and backwards why any one in all you is the best of all time. They usually’d all be proper. We’re all blessed to have watched all of you play in opposition to one another. Positive, with out all three of you within the combine, possibly one in all you alone would maintain all 63 Grand Slam titles. However it could’ve been completely boring. And I doubt it could’ve occurred. Your three-way rivalry made every of you a greater participant.
I, personally, am an avid Rafael Nadal fan. Although I’ve rooted in opposition to Novak and Roger after they had been enjoying Rafa, I’ve at all times revered all of them. How are you going to not? And, this weekend, I might be rooting for all three of them. My prediction and hope is that the entire world might be watching with me.
Sorry Group World captain John McEnroe. Sorry Group World teammate, Frances Tiafoe. Love ya each. However this weekend? I am all Group Europe!
Jane Braden is a author and former sports activities editor. Her essays of her have additionally been heard on NPR’s Weekend Version. She works within the company sponsorship division at VPM NPR & PBS in Richmond, Va.