2020 proved that Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (two of the Big 3, given the absence of Roger Federer for most of the season) are still the men to beat, but at the same time it sanctioned a further step forward by the Next Gen.
Dominic Thiem, who had already touched the title in Australia earlier this year, won his first Grand Slam at the US Open by beating Alexander Zverev in the final, while Daniil Medvedev won the ATP Finals in London thanks to a stellar tennis.
In just under a week the Australian Open 2021 will kick off, postponed to February to allow all players to carry out the two weeks of mandatory quarantine. Djokovic will arrive at Melbourne Park with the underdogs, having won the Happy Slam eight times and being the defending champion.
Behind him, in addition to the usual Nadal, there is a large group of rivals who will try to blow the bank. In a press conference at the ATP Cup, the world number 1 admitted that young people are getting closer to unseating the Big 3.
Novak Djokovic on the Big 3
“It’s great for the sport that we have new Grand Slam champions,” the 17-time Grand Slam champion said. “We have new successful young players that are showing the courage and boldness, coming into the biggest stadiums in sport, willing to take on the biggest challenge in facing especially the three of us, fighting for the biggest title.
There are a few of them that are very close. They have huge potential. Obviously there’s still a lot of time ahead of them”. Novak Djokovic added: “You have a lot of players. I think the future of tennis is in good hands, without a doubt”.
Although, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are in at advanced stages of their careers, the Serbian hopes they will hold off the young guns for at least a few more years. “Rafa, Roger and myself are going to make sure that doesn’t happen for another 10 years at least,” he joked.
The other high-profile record that Djokovic will most likely break in 2021 is Federer’s long-standing World No. 1 record. Currently, Federer holds the record for the most number of weeks as the World No. 1 with 310. But Djokovic is fast approaching the record and is scheduled to start his 311th week as World No.
1 on March 8, 2021. Moreover, Djokovic has a slight chance of surpassing Federer and Nadal’s Grand Slam tally of 20. Djokovic finds himself on 17 Grand Slam titles, and if he wins all four Grand Slams this year, he will cross Federer and Nadal.