Tennis has undergone numerous changes over the past few decades. The men's circuit has experienced the endless domination of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, three authentic legends who have rewritten the record book.
The Big 3 are currently tied with 20 Slams each, after the Serbian has closed the gap thanks to his resounding 2021. The world number 1 has in fact won three Majors this season, having even touched the 'Calendar Grand Slam '
Should he triumph in New York, the Belgrade champion would become the second man in the Open Era after Rod Laver to win all four majors in the same year. Federer and Nadal are going through a rather complicated moment. The Swiss is back from his third knee operation in the last 18 months, while the Spaniard has played just seven official tournaments in 2021.
In the course of a long interview with 'Tennis Magazin', former German champion Michael Stich highlighted how much he has changed tennis compared to its time.
Stich talks about the Big 3
“When I was a kid, I remember tennis as quite an elite sport, although being a member of a club was quite special.
We didn't have the money to buy the perfect tennis outfit, but we all loved John McEnroe's headband or Bjorn Borg's wristbands, those little things. We children didn't even have our own racket, they were very expensive, we exchanged them among ourselves" - Michael Stich stated.
“Personally, these days I miss the authenticity of the players on the court. That which defines your character, your feelings and your real reactions. I remember a scene where Marcos Baghdatis lost in the first round of the Australian Open and there was no report of the match from him, but the four rackets that he broke on the bench were all over the news.
This reflects that the fan not only wants to know the performance, the records or who is number 1 in the world, the fan wants to see emotions. With Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, sometimes I miss that" - he added.
The 2021 season saw Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev go toe to toe, unlike ever before. The duo played two Grand Slam finals, a Masters 1000 final, and remained in contention for the year-end No.1 spot throughout the year.
What’s more, Novak and Daniil even practiced together regularly. And now, at the Davis Cup Finals 2021, their friendship seems to be growing.