Serena Williams withdrew from the rest of the season, a decision that has led to a lot of conjecture as to what the future of the world No. 1 will be.
We, of course, can't say for certain what the landscape of tennis will look like in 2016 or what Williams' motivation will be, but her prolonged inactivity will change the dynamic of the game, at least until she decides to return to the court.
With that, ESPN tennis analysts Pam Shriver and Brad Gilbert weighed on some burning topics in another edition of true or false.
The quest for the season Slam was too much for Serena to handle mentally
Shriver: True. Serena must be feeling some burnout from her Grand Slam attempt that saw her lose 13 total sets in those majors and go 11-1 in those three-setters. There was a lot of pressure on her to complete one of the rarest feats in tennis, something that had not been done since Steffi Graf in 1988. And, obviously, as the year went on, the pressure had to have become that much more intense. We saw that against Roberta Vinci in the US Open semifinals -- the culmination of a yearlong battle against incredibly high expectations.
Gilbert: False. She gave it a great go. Considering how many times Serena was close to losing in all the Slams, she found a way to win. And then probably the unluckiest person of all was the one who exploited Serena's bad day. Roberta Vinci, an older player, took advantage of the pressure Serena was feeling. Serena made the same run the Bryans made a few years ago in doubles when they won the first three majors before falling just short in New York. We didn't question the pressure for them. Losses happen.
Now 34 years old, the best of Serena is behind us
Shriver: True to an extent. Will we see a third Serena Slam? No, but she will pass Graf and come close to Margaret Court, unless Serena retires in the next two years. Serena has had a history of lapses, only to come back and win multiple majors in a row. It'll get harder with her age, but there's little to suggest she won't win a few more Slams -- maybe just not consecutively.
Gilbert: Normally, you'd say true. Yes, 34 is an unusual age to succeed, but athletes today are pushing the envelope longer. Look how amazing Tom Brady is playing at 38. I do know this, too: Never underestimate a Williams. You'd like to think that taking time off will rejuvenate Serena. She'll be a year older, but she's so much more dominant than the field that it's going to take more than one loss before we can begin to talk about the demise of Serena.
Serena will win at least two majors in 2016
Shriver: True. Serena will win Wimbledon and the US Open, where she has a combined 12 major titles. Her power game is most conducive to those two events, and after her shortcoming in New York this season, she is going to desperately want revenge.
Gilbert: False. But it's a tricky one. I would put the over/under at 1½. It's going to be near impossible to repeat 2015, and it's safe to assume she won't escape all those three-setters that she did this season. If I had to guess, I'd say she will win less than two majors.
Serena will finish 2016 as the top-ranked player
Shriver: 50/50. Serena will play less and manage her schedule and body more carefully. It opens the door for someone like Simona Halep, who plays a lot of tournaments and can win a lot of regular tour events and can contend in all four majors. Serena will focus mostly on the majors, but also with the Olympics next season, there's a good chance she will skip even more summer events to set her sights on another gold medal. Plus, the downside of Serena winning so much in 2015 is that she now has a lot of points to defend -- and a lot to lose.
Gilbert: True. Because I really don't know who is going to unseat her. Until someone steps up consistency, and no one has for years, Serena is going to remain in the top spot. Even though she has so many points to potentially lose in 2016, someone still has to take her out. And who's that going to be? But I will say that 2016 is probably her last year as the No. 1. Because then you have to start thinking: 'OK, she's now 35 going on 36.' At some point, even if there isn't a single person beating Serena consistently, she is still going to start losing a lot more often.
The WTA will still thrive short term without Serena in the mix
Shriver: True, but only if young players such as Halep, Belinda Bencic and Madison Keys keep progressing, and other popular veterans like Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki step up and play well. Serena is THE superstar of WTA, so this early shutdown to the year will hurt, especially the year-ending championships.
Gilbert: False. Definitely not. The WTA needs a young face to win Slams and be a face of the tour like a [Belinda] Bencic or Madison Keys or Sloane Stephens. I don't see how someone like Victoria Azarenka can carry the mantle.