John McEnroe believes that the sport of tennis will continue to grow despite the retirement of big stars.
Roger Federer brought the curtain down on his career when he competed against McEnroe’s Team World.
Meanwhile, Serena Williams has retired from the sport and McEnroe says both players are well supported but feels her departure will allow new stars to emerge.
“These two players are irreplaceable,” he said.
“I don’t think there’s any question about that.”
However, he added: “The sport goes on no matter what, and we’ve seen that in every sport over time.”
“There’s an opportunity to market these young kids in a way that I don’t think we’ve done successfully before.
“Serena and Roger have more fans than anyone else in tennis,” the American said.
But, you know, there are so many more players.
I think tennis is becoming more fun because you see a lot of new people winning.
“It’s exciting to have 10 different people who can win going into these big events. Hopefully their fans will stay in the sport, they’ll want to keep watching.
McEnroe hopes neither player is ready to walk away from the game entirely, as both players have extensive interests that could keep them away from the sport.
“They were icons, idols for all of us sitting here,” he said in a pre-match press conference.
“Hopefully, you know, they have a chance to somehow come back and stay around tennis.”
This was echoed by Felix Auger-Aliassime, the world’s top-ranked player in the team.
“They were icons, idols for all of us sitting here,” he said in a pre-match press conference. “Hopefully, you know, they have a chance to somehow come back and stay around tennis.”
Later in the same Laver Cup presser, Andy Murray admitted that thoughts of retirement had crossed his mind.
“As you grow as an athlete and you think about certain physical aspects of what to stop or when to stop and when is the right time and how you want to be,” Murray said.
“I thought about it myself, but I don’t think there are many ways to get better than this.”
The longevity and unprecedented success achieved by Federer and rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have elevated the sport, but life and tennis go on.
Read more: John McEnroe on Roger Federer: ‘He’s the whole class’