Quebecer Leylah Annie Fernandez celebrates her victory in the semi-finals of the US Open. (Photo: Getty images)
GUEST BLOG. The performance of a few teenagers at the US Open in New York, the fourth grand slam on the annual professional tennis calendar, is quite extraordinary. Leylah Fernandez (19), Carlos Alcaraz (18), Emma Raducanu (18) have shown us all the colors since the start of the tournament.
And what about our Quebec players! Who would have thought that Quebec would have two players among the two men’s and women’s square aces of the US Open?
It’s especially refreshing to see a new generation of players challenge the best, after twenty years of dominance in men’s tennis by three players – Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. We need new blood in tennis. This edition of the US Open may be the start of the changing of the guard.
But beware. Success in tennis is a long road strewn with steep curves, climbs and descents. The early success of a young teenager does not guarantee his future success, far from it. The pitfalls are manifold, starting with the enormous pressure that comes with inordinate media and fan attention. Plus, life on the pro tour is tough and tiring, requiring living in hotels and jumping from plane to plane, away from family and home. Injuries are also common in a circuit that never really takes a break. In addition, the competitors they will face will have had time to analyze their game and adapt their strategy to better resist them.
The phenomenon reminds me of the Stock Exchange. We would all like to see a few young companies outperform the big companies of this world, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple. Many of them have made the leap to the stock market in recent quarters and obtain huge market capitalizations. Expectations are particularly high for these newcomers to be the future Amazon of the stock market. But, like in tennis, the euphoria surrounding an initial public offering (“IPO”) can lead to headaches in subsequent years. The reality is that a tiny fraction of the new companies on the stock market will continue to be successful, and few will replace the larger companies.
At this point, young teens who have taken the tennis world by surprise should remember that the hard work that got them so far and so fast has only just begun. Above all, they will need to stay humble and remember that the road ahead will be one of ups and downs and that resilience is an essential quality for a long and successful tennis career. It’s the same on the stock market, both for business leaders and investors.
The world of tennis is like the world of business. Inevitably, a company will not be able to remain dominant indefinitely and will sooner or later have to give way to a new generation of players. This is what makes both areas so exciting!
Philippe Le Blanc, CFA, MBA
Chief Investment Officer at COTE 100