2020 could be the year of the definitive consecration for the Next Gen. Although Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open for the eighth time, Dominic Thiem went very close to the feat on the Rod Laver Arena. The pandemic forced ATP and WTA to suspend the season at least until July.
Speaking in an interview with Eurosport, former WTA player Barbara Schett was asked which of the younger generation will emerge from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic's shadow. "It's almost impossible to replace those three players," she said.
"We’ve been so spoilt over the last 20 years watching these players compete and pushing each other to the level they are at now. I don’t think a rivalry between these three will exist again and I don’t know if a player will ever win 20 Grand Slams again.
First of all, it’s very difficult to fill the shoes of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, I don’t think that will happen. But I do love watching the youngsters, [Alexander] Zverev and [Dominic] Thiem – I’m not sure you can call them youngsters anymore.
There are a few Russians like [Daniil] Medvedev and [Andrey] Rublev who are exciting. [Jannick] Sinner too. There are a lot of exciting players who have styles of tennis which are great to watch. There are players who are exciting and players come and players go.
I remember 30 years ago when [Boris] Becker or [Stefan] Edberg retired, even Mats Wilander, people were thinking how could the sport survive without those guys – but there was always someone else. I’m sure as their personalities develop there will be new players on the scene."