Nadal won the French Open, while Djokovic lifted the Wimbledon trophy and Federer successfully defended his Australian Open title this year.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are popularly known as the ‘big three’ of tennis, and they have been the defining pillars of men’s tennis in recent times. They have dominated the sport like no other in the Open era.
The performances of the trio at various ATP tournaments, Grand slams have been unparalleled and they have looked at the top of their games even after crossing the age of 30.
Nadal, who is 32, is the current world No 1 whereas Roger Federer, who is 36, is at No.2 on the rankings. Federer successfully defended the Australian Open title earlier this year, and Nadal was as lethal as ever on clay to clinch his 11th French Open title this year.
We also saw the comeback of Novak Djokovic, who is aged 31, in Wimbledon this year as he went on to lift his 13th Grand Slam title. The three together account for 11 of the last 13 Grand slams.
Rafael Nadal explained the dominance of the three in a press conference at Manacor. “There are two options to explain the fact that three players are dominating the [tennis] circuit for so many years, and that we are in the top positions in the ranking for so many years,” Nadal said.
“Either we have been special, or the emerging players have not been special enough. I cannot say which is correct. A generation with special players [is coming], either because they will be better than us in a short time, or because of our age,” explained Nadal.
Their dominance have underlined the shortcomings of the younger generation of Tennis. Young players like Chung Hyeon (22), Denis Shapovalov (19), Alexander Zverev (21), Dominic Thiem (24) and Nick Kyrgios (23) are yet to win a grand slam title, unlike Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, who won their maiden Grand Slam title at the age of 21, 20 and 19 respectively.
It is also evident from the rankings that the game is still headed by the older players as there are only three players under the age of 24 in the top 20.
Nadal was very clear about his approach to his game. He said that his goal has never been to win everything. “At this point in my career, winning is the essence of the sport, but competing well and enjoying at highest level is what makes me really happy,” the Spaniard added at the press conference.
The players are now training for the hard court season and except Federer, both Nadal and Djokovic would be participating at the Rogers Cup in Toronto next month.