'Roger Federer, Nadal, Djokovic's era is the most difficult ever', says former Top 5

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'Roger Federer, Nadal, Djokovic's era is the most difficult ever', says former Top 5

The Big 3 have dominated men's tennis for the past fifteen years, winning 57 Grand Slam titles. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are currently paired at 20 Majors, after the Spanish phenomenon won Roland Garros for the 13th time in his career by demolishing world number 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.

The Serbian, on the other hand, still at 17 Grand Slams, can console himself having finished the season at the top of the ATP ranking for the sixth time overall (equaling his idol Pete Sampras). There is no doubt that the Big 3 triumphs have extended the popularity of tennis, but at the same time they have prevented numerous excellent players from winning what they deserved.

Among these is certainly Fernando Gonzalez, who has beaten Federer only once (at the Masters at the end of the year in 2007) and Nadal three times. Seven of the Chilean's 12 defeats against King Roger came in the quarter-finals or later in the tournament, not forgetting that the Swiss prevented him from posting his first Grand Slam at the 2007 Australian Open.

block his way at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which sealed the Majorcan's climb to the top of men's tennis after his triumph at Wimbledon. In a recent interview granted to Santo Tomas, the former world number 5 still feels gratified to have fought with the best ever.

Gonzalez on facing the Big 3

“I was in the most difficult generation in history,” Fernando Gonzalez said. “If Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray had not existed, maybe I would have more prizes and cups, but I feel that it was an experience that enriched me a lot”.

In terms of the extent to which the latest injury spell has set him back, the knee merits direct comparison with his back, which broke down just when he was at the top of his game. He had clinched his eighth Wimbledon title and was on a h*t streak, winning 34 sets back-to-back.

However, the run of wins snapped at Coupe Rogers as he suffered an upset at the hands of German Alexander Zverev. With the back, arguably the worst place for a player to hurt himself, many feared for Federer’s career at the time.

Thankfully, however, his back healed appreciably enough for him to make a comeback at the US Open that year. It’s déjà vu with the knee now. Again, not an easy injury to manage and recover from at 39, the speculation around Federer’s troublesome knee simply refuses to die down.