Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon wonders what happens in the fall.

It’s all in the kids’ hands now. 

We’ve heard quite a few times over the past few years that the next generation of men’s tennis players is there. That they’re ready. Primed to take their place at the top. Well now’s the time, it’s in their hands now.

Because if it doesn’t happen now, then when? If the likes of Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Denis Shapovalov, Daniil Medvedev, and a few others, if they can’t take men’s tennis by the horns this fall, then when will they ever? If they can’t do it while Roger Federer has all but announced that he’s retiring sometime in the next (let’s be generous) 16 months, Rafael Nadal’s body has suffered another breakdown, and Novak Djokovic is broken, if they can’t do it then, then when will they ever?

The kids are supposedly alright, but now would be the time for them to show us how alright they are, is what we’re getting at. Because Federer and Nadal have confirmed they won’t be playing and because Djokovic may only be here in spirit. Because while the door may not be wide open, it’s definitely as open as it’s ever been.

What else can we look for this fall?

Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer may be missing in action for the time being, but that doesn’t mean that all is lost in men’s tennis. Fall 2021 still promises to be a good time, and who couldn’t use a good time at this point?

It’s a wide open sport for the time being, which after the first three fourths of the season and because of Djokovic’s dominance, is an unforeseen development. There’s something and someone for seemingly everyone except, like, maybe folks in Sweden? According to Mikael at the betting site casinoutanspelpaus.io, fans from the country can keep up-to-date on every event throughout the season. 

The fun in the rest of this 2021 season starts this week in Boston for the 2021 Laver Cup. We’re still not entirely sure what exactly this event is, or wants to be, but this is neither here nor there. And anyway, we’ll have an actual event preview for the Laver Cup coming this week.

The other great highlights

Otherwise, on the men’s side we’re looking at a somehow stacked San Diego Open, a 250 Masters that has just about everyone worth anything competing. Then next month the calendar opens up with a big bang in the form of the year’s unofficial fifth slam. That’s right, from October 7 to October 17, all tennis eyes will be on Indian Wells for the return of the BNP Paribas Open.

Beyond the events themselves, we know that there’s one reason why Djokovic will likely be back before long: while it’s nowhere near a guarantee, it’s quite possible that the Serb loses his grip on the No. 1 ranking and, especially, the year-end No. 1 ranking. If it happens, it would be at the hands of Daniil Medvedev, but remember that the Russian has about a gazillion points to defend and he himself has called this quest “almost impossible.”

But there’s a chance it happens, which is why we think Djokovic comes back motivated after getting over seeing his bid at a calendar-year Golden Slam die a quick death.

Because finishing the season as the year-end No. 1 would give the Serb a seventh-career such distinction. This, in case you didn’t know, would place him alone for first in men’s tennis history. In short, it would be yet another place where Djokovic has the absolute advantage as he solidifies his case as the best player in ATP history.

What’s more motivating than this?

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG 

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