Patrick Mouratoglou recently gave his thoughts on the influence that legends like her former ward Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal have on tennis.
Djokovic, Williams and Nadal have captivated fans over the last two decades, winning 24, 23 and 22 Major titles, respectively. However, their appeal goes beyond mere achievements. The trio is the hallmark of power-packed baseline tennis, allowing them to be a part of various narratives over the years.
Against that background, Patrick Mouratoglou took to his Instagram account on Wednesday (February 7) to assert that the fanfare and the stories surrounding Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal played a big part in making tennis popular.
“I think every sport needs superstars. Superstars go beyond the sport, bring new fans. They fill up the stadium, and I think it’s very important. I remember when Serena was playing,” Mouratoglou said in an Instagram reel. “The excitement around it, of course, is the same now with Novak and with Rafa, who unfortunately couldn’t play.”
The Frenchman added that while such legends were crucial for the sport’s global perception, they also require young players who can challenge their place at the top. He also spared a word for Rafael Nadal, before summarizing his argument by claiming that ‘every sport needs tension’.
“It brings a lot of attention. But I think it’s exciting to have both superstars and also young players coming up, it’s not great if the champions always win,” he added. “There has to be some suspense and uncertainty.”
“The ideal situation at the moment, I think we have it because Novak is still at the top. Rafa, we’ll see, but on clay, for sure, he will be the guy to beat. And you have young players coming up, who are very dangerous. There is this tension that I think that every sport needs.”
Serena Williams won 23 Major titles in a career spanning more than two decades
Serena Williams has a plausible argument to be the greatest player of all time, having won 73 pro titles — of which 23 came at Grand Slam tournaments. Having turned pro in 1995 at the age of 14, the American was a fixture at the top of WTA, finishing in the top 10 rankings in sixteen seasons.
Williams also spent 319 weeks as the World No. 1, which is the third-highest in tennis history after Novak Djokovic (411) and Steffi Graf (377). The 42-year-old also won four gold medals at the Olympics, which is a record that she shares with her elder sister Venus and Great Britain’s Kathleen McKane Godfree.
Some other impressive feats that Serena Williams achieved are: winning a ‘Non-Calendar Grand Slam’ in 2002-03, lapping up about $95 million in prize money and winning 178 matches against top 10 opposition. She retired from professional tennis at the 2022 US Open after losing to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round.