Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have written incredible pages in the history of tennis, monopolizing the sport in the last 15 years to the sound of records and triumphs. The Big 3 have totaled a whopping 57 Slams overall, preventing many excellent players of the same era from winning what they deserved for their talent.
Suffice it to say that Dominic Thiem's victory at the US Open sanctioned the first seal in a Major by a tennis player born in the 90s. It must be said that the Austrian benefited from the absence of Federer and Nadal in New York, without forgetting the sensational disqualification of Djokovic for an accidental ball to a touch judge during his round of 16 match.
At Roland Garros this year, Nadal crowned his long chase to Federer's all-time record by equaling it to 20 Majors. Many wonder if 2021 will be a good year for the definitive generational change, waiting to understand in what conditions King Roger will return after 11 months of hiatus.
In a recent interview, former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash expressed his judgment on the eternal battle between the three holy monsters.
Cash on the Big 3
“They are monsters,” Pat Cash said of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.
“They are not normal people, human beings. No one can do what they are doing. It takes a different mentality than normal people. Andy Murray has one too. To be the best you need some kind of obsession and they have it, beyond the fact that they are exceptional athletes.
Federer could have excelled in any generation, no matter what racquet. Rafa and Novak have created something new, especially Rafa. The way he plays on clay is absolutely phenomenal [but] I don’t see Rafa being able to beat Roger on grass.
Novak can do it on all surfaces”. Novak Djokovic meanwhile has a significant advantage on the physical side of things. With Dominic Thiem already a proven claycourter and the likes of Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas rapidly improving on red dirt, we can expect them to soon start putting up a tougher fight for Rafael Nadal in Paris.
The Spaniard could perhaps add a couple more Majors to his tally, but if the Serb remains fit, it would be unwise to bet against him. However great Federer is, it will not be easy for him to play against some top-quality players.
What becomes even more challenging is the fact that Federer will be making a comeback after a year. Fans are definitely excited and enthusiastic about his comeback. But will he be able to conquer tennis once again?