Daniil Medvedev's triumph at the US Open 2021 may have represented the beginning of a new era. The Big 3 are getting old and their programming is getting smaller and smaller, while the Next Gen exponents seem to be about to reach the top.
Novak Djokovic has been close to the 'Calendar Grand Slam' this year, but the number 1 ATP will hardly be able to maintain the same intensity and concentration in 2022. The enormous effort made in recent months - coupled with the tremendous insult one step away from the finish line - could have repercussions on Nole's psyche.
Different situation for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both struggling with injuries and very far from the glories of the past. The Swiss played a pittance of 13 official matches in all of 2021, while the Spaniard limited himself to seven tournaments before closing the season with a foot problem.
During a press conference organized on Tuesday in New York, Lloyd Harris - fresh from a great US Open (in which he reached the quarterfinals) - spoke about the definitive explosion of the Next Gen.
Harris reflects on the Big 3
“It's been a while since cracks have appeared on the Big 3 (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic).
It has been difficult for the younger generation to access these Grand Slams. Novak was unstoppable until this very last game. I just think he ran into an extremely difficult opponent. Daniil has played great tennis throughout the summer and is a reflection of this new generation.
I've known these guys for a long time, we've been competitive in the juniors before and it's good to see us all progressing. Now I think it's time to kick this Big 3 ’and let the younger generation take over,” said the current World 31st before going further.
“We are obviously fierce competitors on the court, but I'm not at all scared or intimidated by coming onto the court against them. And also now, with my recent victories, I have more confidence, even if you face Rafa, Roger or Novak, you have to have the conviction to beat them and I know that I can.
You know it will be an extremely difficult game and you have to be up to the challenge for sure. But that's what we love, we love going in front of the fans, to new stadiums and having those creepy moments facing one of these legends."