I am not a sage. No special powers for seeing the future. Rather, I try to learn from the past and the present. It can help.
Sport is often the cruellest barometer of time passed. Professional footballers can become old during the course of one match, a defender left standing by a speedy winger, an attacker who times their run into the box a fraction too late. At the US Open this week, when I saw the stats for John Isner (USA) against Kyle Edmund (GBR) one thing and one thing only stood out to me: Isner is 31 and Edmund 21. Of all the things that could make a difference on the tennis court (and there are plenty), there was no doubt in my mind that Edmund would win if he could make Isner feel ten years older out on the court.
One could also see it with Rafael Nadal (ESP) too, against Lucas Pouille (FRA). Nadal is a player who has not only had more than his fair share of injuries, but has also carried his muscular, heavy frame across miles and miles of court over for close to 15 years as professional. Pouille, at 22, has energy and fervour coursing through him.
There is no lesson in this other than when the tide turns, those who are in the thick of it may not always see the change coming. Isner and Nadal are not special cases. Not even on a tennis court.