'He plays worse than a Rafael Nadal who...', says top coach

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'He plays worse than a Rafael Nadal who...', says top coach

The Indian Wells Masters 1000 took place without any of the Big 3s present. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal ended their 2021 early due to related physical problems, which prevented them from playing regularly this year. The Swiss underwent surgery on his right knee for the third time in the last year and a half and there is no precise plan for his return to the pitch.

The Spaniard, on the other hand, had to deal with a foot injury, which limited his performance from Roland Garros onwards. The 35-year-old from Manacor will return in 2022, but it is not yet clear whether or not he will be at the starting line for the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic, for his part, has decided to take a long break after the final lost at the US Open. The world number 1 has made it known that he will participate in the Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy, in the ATP Finals in Turin and in the Davis Cup finals, while his presence in Melbourne is uncertain.

The French newspaper 'L'Equipe' published a beautiful analysis by Toni Nadal on the performances of the Next Gen. The missteps of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev allowed Cameron Norrie to triumph in the Californian desert.

Toni Nadal on the Next Gens

To summarize what is happening, the daily had the good idea to highlight an analysis made recently by Toni Nadal: “I do not know who is the best among the youngest because their high level seems very close to those of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The problem is their low level. For example, a Medvedev when he plays badly, he plays worse than a Novak or a Rafael who plays badly,” explained Nadal's uncle. Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal's uncle and ex-coach, recently spoke at length about his nephew, the Big 3, the Next Gen and tennis in general on a Spanish podcast.

And in one section of the interview, Toni tried to explain why Novak Djokovic isn't as popular among the fans as his two big rivals. "It hurt him to finally arrive on the circuit when there was already a very strong rivalry between Roger and Rafa," Toni said.

"Federer and Nadal, they were two opposing styles, two different trajectories, and that made the fans very excited. It was therefore difficult to find a place at that time. After that, I also think Novak's ego has hurt him," Toni said.

"Especially when it comes to having certain behaviors on the court that are incompatible with being number one."