Marriage is the killer of a professional tennis champion. And children, too, for that matter. I know. You’ll argue with me that it’s age taking them down, not marriage. I think the evidence against marrying is strong.
Every time one of these tennis titans marry, they gush about how the spouse has brought balance to their lives and happiness, yada, yada, yada. However, I wonder if tennis is one of those sports that to be a dominant champion you really have to be untethered by a ball and chain? Does it require the type of focus and isolation that excludes all else, otherwise known as having a life? It seems to me that perhaps that very happiness they glowingly speak of makes a champion lose his/her competitive edge. I won’t discuss all the casualties of marriage–just a couple from the modern era.
Pete Sampras was smoking fools tournament after tournament for years. And, then he got engaged. Dude was tanking. Then someone got kicked to the curb and walla! Suddenly Sampras was a tennis machine again, kicking ass and taking names.
Roger Federer. You couldn’t read a tennis headline or watch a tournament without seeing that guy in the final–and winning. He was charming tennis fans and the balls on the court. Then he got married. And babies quickly followed. I think the tennis balls got a lil jealous having to share that attention. It’s one thing if you have to share equipment with a long time girlfriend sitting in the stands. Quite another when that heifer is now demanding quality family time since she has a ring and crumb snatchers. Federer’s all smiles and goo-goo, gaga, and now random folks have taken him out early in the slams and those other matches to pass time until the slams.
Andre Agassi is the last I’ll focus on. He married his movie/TV star girlfriend just as Pete Sampras almost and eventually did. Talk about bombing. That career collapse wasn’t pretty. And pretty soon wedded bliss was ova. But Agassi’s also is a story that defies my entire premise. He remarried. He started making a comeback. He wasn’t dominant, but he did win one last Grand Slam tournament. Maybe it didn’t hurt that she was a GOAT tennis pro, too.
So I recommend to Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, the Williams sisters, et al, if you want to keep winning and enter the GOAT competition, don’t tie the knot. Let us tennis fans enjoy seeing great tennis rivalries so we can all live happily ever after.