Former Australian tennis player Todd Woodbridge insists Novak Djokovic needs Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to return as that would make him more motivated. Djokovic, ranked at No. 1 in the world, had a great chance to win a record 21st Grand Slam and capture a Calendar Grand Slam but he fell short in his attempt.
In the US Open final -- with history on the line -- Djokovic suffered a straight-set defeat to world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev. Nadal and Federer both skipped the US Open because of injuries. “I’m not suggesting Novak [Djokovic] will fall off a cliff, because he’ll still have the goal of winning a 21st slam,” Woodbridge told Wide World of Sports.
“But I think he would love it if [Nadal] came back to challenge him, because that’s the type of motivation an athlete needs. “If Nadal and Federer aren’t there, that’s a much tougher assignment for Novak.
With sport, things move on really quickly, new stories, new drama is always created. This tournament was a real pivot in the tennis world."
Woodbridge feels the Big Three era is over
This season, Medvedev made finals at the Australian Open and US Open, while Stefanos Tsitsipas made the French Open final.
In last year's US Open final, Dominic Thiem beat Alexander Zverev for his maiden Grand Slam title. Woodbridge thought Djokovic broke in the US Open final. “Things are now going in a completely different direction.
I feel that the era of the ‘Big Three’ is over,” the Australian added. “Novak may still win one or two more majors, but I think there’s a feeling that this younger generation now see themselves as Grand Slam winners.
“We know the intensity, and the discipline, and the ultra-strong façade of Novak, but we saw him break. Whenever you see that in an athlete, you don’t know how they’re going to recover”.