Rafael Nadal admits that Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic pushed him to work harder and constantly look for ways to improve. The Big Three, who have totaled 63 Grand Slams, are widely regarded as the top three players in tennis history.
In 2003, Federer captured his first Grand Slam title and soon after became the best player in the world. Then, Nadal appeared and Federer had competition. In early 2008, Djokovic captured his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and that officially marked the start of the Big Three era.
The rest is history. "I think that Roger, Novak and I have put pressure on each other, and in a way it has never been enough, we have always had to make another effort. The competition has taken us to extreme mental and tennis levels, and this is one of the main reasons that we have continued for so long," said Nadal.
Nadal owns a record 22 Grand Slams and some feel he is the one who should be considered the GOAT since he has the most Majors in tennis history. However, Nadal insists that his legacy is more important than being the GOAT. "I don't think about it.
I think it's something that goes to the background. The important legacy is that all the people I've met during these 20-year career have good human memories of me. In the end, the personal issue, the education, the respect and the affection with which you can treat people is above the professional issue, because that is what remains [after retiring]," said Nadal.
The Big Three recently lost an active member, as Federer retired from tennis after the Laver Cup. Nadal and Djokovic were part of Federer's farewell as they also represented Team Europe at the Laver Cup. Federer was delighted with his farewell and expressed his thanks to everyone who made it a special farewell.
Wawrinka pays tribute to Federer
Stan Wawrinka stated in the same interview that Roger Federer's legacy could not be matched, at least not in Switzerland, where the Maestro is widely adored. "It is certain that arriving behind him, especially in Switzerland, no matter what results I could have, anyway, it would always be light years away from him.
No one will be able to do what he has done, at least not in Switzerland. What I do, I do the best I can. You must also be able to appreciate this kind of career," Wawrinka said.