John Wertheim has written one of the standard works for tennis fans, “Strokes of Genius – Federer, Nadal, and The Greatest Match Ever Played”, the re-evaluation of the legendary Wimbledon final in 2008 between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Wertheim is currently in Roland Garros as an expert for the Tennis Channel. A visit to the set.
by Jens Huiber
last edited: 26/05/2022, 08:25
By Jens Huiber from Roland Garros
Representatives from almost every country in the world have spread in the so-called “TV complex” in the Stade Roland Garros, in various forms: some TV companies send mobile teams of moderators and experts through the system – such as ServusTV Andrea Schlager and Christopher Kas – some has a Set directly on the Philippe-Chatrier track, others moderate from quite far away, Barbara Schett greets for example to Eurosport International with Tim Henman from London.
The Tennis Channel plays in a very fine studio between Court 2 and Court 3, with its back to the place where Court 1, the bullring, almost guaranteed legendary matches. John Wertheim is the pundits for the Tennis Channel along with Chanda Rubin. Wertheim has been holding the tennis flag up for US Sports Illustrated for years, not as easily in days as these given a certain slack in terms of big wins for the US.
“Luckily Coco Gauff chose tennis”
John Wertheim welcomes you in a nice way, it is pleasantly uncomplicated on the recordings for the Tennis Channel. So, Mr Wertheim, who would you most likely bet on in American tennis? “We have a large quantity at the moment, now we need the quality. There is a really nice core of players, but none of them are in the top ten yet. Considering the different gums and age, you probably end up with Taylor Fritz and Sebastian Korda. But who knows? Maybe there’s this one boy on a small island and his uncle is training him and raising him to be left-handed, or there’s a woman from South Africa who has to marry a Swiss guy and they’re a normal middle class family. and they have a talented son … It needs a trigger, it takes time and also luck. ”
There are probably alternative sports. “Fortunately, Coco Gauff decided to play tennis.” Which somehow should follow in Serena Williams’ footsteps. Speaking of which, will we see Serena at Wimbledon? “The reality is this: Serena is 40 years old and has not played at Wimbledon since last year. It was in June 2021. And you do not see her on Instagram with the message: I train again, I have just changed the grip on the serve. On it on the one hand you do not see her play tennis, but of course Serena is also proud and has achieved a lot.I would not be completely surprised if she tried one last time.With Federer you can at least see a few exercises from time to time, “that could indicate a comeback. And I can not imagine that Serena will do a farewell tour, where she will be honored with a video tribute at each stop.”
The NBA also survived Michael Jordan’s retirement
Williams and Federer are soon gone, and Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will not play forever either. What does this mean for tennis?
‘I think there will be some growing pains. But sooner or later, tennis will do well. ” But who is to carry the torch? John Wertheim has an idea. “It seems that almost every year a new star appears to take over the reigns. But the big three still win the titles. I watched the NBA when Michael Jordan retired. And even then it was said: What are we going to do? Who’s going to be interested in basketball now? And then Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and later Steph Curry come around the corner. In tennis the big tournaments continue and it takes a few years. But Carlos Alcaraz is a name that’s going to play a big role. ”
Of course, there is a “problem”: the fact that Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have won 61 Grand Slam titles together. “There are probably people who say about a player: Well, he was not that good either. He only won six majors! The standard set by the big three is so ridiculously high. ” But it’s not just the titles that Wertheim sees as a unique selling point for Nadal, Djokovic and Federer. “This consistency, which never loses early, is also often overlooked.”