The very clear defeat suffered by Daniil Medvedev in the final of the Australian Open 2021 against Novak Djokovic rejected the supporters of the Next Gen in despair. The Russian had expressed an excellent tennis during the two weeks at Melbourne Park, so much so that some bookmakers to consider him favorite in front of the number 1 in the world.
The reality - as is now known - turned out to be quite different. The 33-year-old Serbian won his ninth title in the Happy Slam, as well as leaving the crumbs for the young Muscovite in the Rod Laver Arena. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have won 10 of the 11 eleven Slams played, a statistic that highlights the clear superiority of the Big 3 over the competition.
Roger Federer will also be back on the pitch in mid-March, who has been absent for over a year due to a double operation on his right knee. In a recent interview with the ATP website, former world number 3 David Nalbandian urged the Next Gen not to wait for the retirement of the three sacred monsters to take the lead.
Nalbandian pays tribute to the Big 3
"It’s incredible the way that they adapt to the new players and their age, because they’re getting older," David Nalbandian said. "They’re still on, they’re still focussed, they’re still inspired to keep going.
That’s amazing. That’s why there are only three players who can do that. It’s Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The others can’t do that. Nobody." According to David Nalbandian, you have to do your homework before facing Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, because hoping for them to have a bad day is futile.
"They (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) are never going to lose the match, you have to beat them," Nalbandian said. "You have to be perfect on the tactics and then the execution of the tactics," he said.
"Maybe you know how to play, but they are good players. They are not going to allow you to play the way you want to. It’s a combination of both things." Federer, who is currently tied with Rafael Nadal for the most number of Grand Slam titles in the men’s game, at 20 apiece, has been out of action for over a year now.
He announced a break from tennis on account of a knee surgery after the Australian Open last year and did not travel to Melbourne Park this year, citing lack of fitness. However, the Swiss player has since made known his much-awaited comeback event, which will be at ATP Doha in March.