INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Tennis has turned into a veteran’s game in recent years, and Roger Federer has no answers as to why.
No teenagers are in the ATP Tour’s top 100, and it may be some time before that statistic changes. The highest-ranked teen is 18-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios (you may remember his second-round match against Benoit Paire at the Australian Open), who tops out at No. 226. Compare that to Federer’s generation, which placed a number of teens in the top 100 — including Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, David Nalbandian and Federer himself — and the drop-off is hard to ignore.
“We need a podium talk here about why that is the case,” Federer said during his pre-tournament news conference at the BNP Paribas Open. “[Rafael Nadal] is maybe the best teenager we’ve ever had, with Bjorn Borg, in the game, and now we don’t have anyone anymore. So how can that happen in such a short period of time? And it’s not like when Rafa came about it was totally different. So maybe it’s a lack of quality to some degree. Maybe more kids are also playing other sports so we might lose some really great talents to other sports.”