Do We Take Our Legends for Granted?

Michael LanichCorrespondent IApril 26, 2009

Jun 1990:  Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia in action during the Stella Artois Championships held at the Queens Club, in London. \ Mandatory Credit: Dan Smith /Allsport

Every sport has them.  A young, talented and hungry player comes through the ranks of their sport and begins to dominate.  There is something about that particular athlete that makes some of us immediately take notice.  We watch breathless as they ascend to the top and assault the record books. 

We cheer their losses, and lament their defeats.  But, as the years go by, we stop hoping for brilliance, and instead, expect it.  By this time, we have forgotten to love what they have done.  We just want more.

We fail to realize that these players will only be around for so long.  One day their skills will diminish and they will fade away.  That forehand won't be quite as fast or they will lose a step on the court.  The back will hurt more, or that inflammatory hip condition will flare up.  Sometimes, time is the ultimate culprit.

Every legend of the game from Federer to Sampras, Agassi, Lendl, Borg, and Connors had their time to shine and while fans loved them, they simply did not realize that it would not last forever. 

That saying; "you don't know what you have until it is gone."  It's a good way of describing that moment in our favorite players career, when it's apparent, that they will never be what they once were.

Because of this, I am appreciating Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer while I can.

To be frank, I think that Rafa will end up in double digits in slams for his career which will make him one of the greatest tennis players.

Whether or not he does get there, or somehow gets the slam record, I will always appreciate and be proud to have been a fan, and to have seen him play.

I'm joyful to watch him play as much as I can when he's entering the peak of his career. Watching his steady rise to the top. Even when he loses, I appreciate it. I think that it can all end so swiftly, we wonder how it happened.

Appreciate Roger for what he has done, and for what may be to come, regardless of whether or not that means more slams or more losses.

Appreciate Rafa for the drive, heart, guts, and ambition to improve that brings the results we are accustomed to seeing. Appreciate Djokovic and Murray for their young and successful careers thus far and what they may become in a few years.

Appreciate them because whether by illness, injury, death, or time, they all leave the court to the next group of young hopefuls. Appreciate them because we only see them for a short time and then they are gone.