It was the year the indomitable Fed-Express ran at full speed, steamrolling almost everyone, excepting Rafael Nadal. Roger Federer again proved to be the master of the game by finishing the year as No 1 after accumulating an all-time high of 8,320 points in the ATP Tour rankings. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Francisco Roig, one of the most successful coaches in tennis, is convinced the sporting world will get used to a new generation of players in the not so distant future.

With the top three of men’s tennis — Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic — not getting any younger, Roig is fully convinced the void will be filled up quite astutely by a host of chasing next-generation players.

“Honestly, we don’t know when this [retirement] will occur. But we all know that it will happen one day and these top players will step away from tennis. We can see one of these three still winning, but we will also have to consider that their departure seems closer each day. It may be a bit strange not to see these top players around soon,” Roig told Gulf News after concluding a Tennis Emirates clinic with youngsters at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium earlier this week.

“There will come a day when the next gen players will start winning Grand Slams and all the big ones. They will take the place of these current champions, and life will go on,” the 51-year-old added.

The coach, who counts Nadal as among his best students since he became part of his team in 2005, offered that it would have been nice to see the top 3 joined by American great Pete Sampras. “Tennis would have been unbelievable if Sampras was with these [Nadal, Djokovic, Federer] three,” he said.

“Each of them push each other to be better each time. If there was no Rafa, then there could have been no Roger. One pulls the other. Sampras didn’t have anyone to push him and challenge him.”