Over the last few years, especially in the last two, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are the main dominant figures in men's tennis, those who have overcome physical problems and have managed to dominate in almost all Grand Slam tournaments.
Together with Roger Federer, the two athletes are the protagonists of the Big Three and are the three athletes who have won the most in the history of tennis. French tennis star Marion Bartoli has weighed in on the debate on whether the next lot of superstars in men’s tennis are there yet in terms of weakening the Big Three’s hold on Grand Slam titles.
The sound defeat that World Number 3 Russian Daniil Medvedev suffered at the hands of top-seed Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open served to illustrate that the Big Three – combined nickname for Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal – aren’t anywhere near to being pushed to the shadows by the emerging lot when it comes to Grand Slams.
The continued Grand Slam supremacy of the Big 3
Barring Medvedev’s dream run at the ATP Finals last year when he beat Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and then World Number 3 Dominic Thiem on his way to landing the title, there’s hardly been any instance of “someone young… winning a final against a big established player” according to Marion Bartoli.
Bartoli added that for “Novak, Rafa, and Roger Federer, it’s just about how many Grand Slams they can get” and the younger lot knows there’s no easy road to glory as they have to battle past the Big Three.
“I think they’re not quite there yet,” the former Wimbledon champion said. In a recent interview, Craig Tiley revealed that this was the best he had seen Djokovic perform in Melbourne, despite the off-court distractions.
"I must admit this year I found Novak Djokovic the best he’s ever been even though it was a stressful time and he was taking a lot of knocks from people," Tiley said. "I think in many ways he just tries to help others and sometimes just doesn't land on the timing of when to do that.
At the end of the day he’s a remarkable athlete. Behind the scenes, he sent me a WhatsApp message when they were in Adelaide doing their quarantine program," Tiley said. "And he had a bunch of suggestions to try and help the 72 athletes who were in the isolated quarantine here... half of which weren't practical and wouldn’t be allowed and the other half which were possible."