'Even if Federer, Nadal, Djokovic was playing after all this time...', says analyst

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'Even if Federer, Nadal, Djokovic was playing after all this time...', says analyst

Novak Djokovic will be the only one of the three tennis "tenors" to go to New York. The Serbian who is undefeated in 2020 (18-0) will be in Flushing Meadows to play both the Western & Southern Open (from 22 August) and the US Open (from 31 August).

A decision not taken lightly: "It was not an easy choice to make because of all the obstacles and challenges from all points of view, but the prospect of returning to compete excites me very much" Nole had tested positive for COVID-19 in Croatia in June along with others close to him such as his wife Jelena and one of his coaches, Goran Ivanisevic.

But now he is convinced that he is in perfect shape to chase the 18th Grand Slam title, the fourth in New York. During a recent conversation with ATPtour.com, Andre Agassi's former coach Brad Gilbert considers Novak Djokovic to be the man to beat at the New York Slam.

Gilbert also believes there will be some huge surprises, but that has nothing to do with the absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Gilbert on the Big 3

“There are a lot of unknowns, but if he is 100 per cent healthy, on this surface, he’s a huge favorite,” Brad Gilbert said.

The former coach of Andre Agassi explained that the uncertainty would have been the same irrespective of the presence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. “I do think we’re going to see some crazy results. But let’s say even if the Big Three was playing after all this time, I just don’t think that after something like this you’d expect it to be business as normal,” Gilbert added.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic monopolized the top spot in the ATP men's singles rankings from 2 February 2004 to 6 November 2016 and again from 21 August 2017 to the present, for a total of 800 weeks (equivalent to over 15 years) as of 9 March 2020.

Federer was ranked number 1 for a record 310 weeks, Djokovic, the current number 1, for 281 weeks, and Nadal for 209 weeks. Each player has occupied the top position at the end of the year five times. The Big Three have played each other in 145 matches, including 69 finals.

Of all the matches, 46 have been played at Grand Slam tournaments, including 22 finals. The first match between two players of the Big Three occurred in March 2004 at the Miami Masters, where Nadal defeated Federer. Federer and Djokovic first met in April 2006 at the Monte Carlo Masters. Nadal and Djokovic first faced each other a month later at the 2006 French Open.