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EXCLUSIVE: Rick Macci Slams Critics for Belittling Djokovic’s Achievements With Nadal and Federer

Dhruv Rupani

Rick Macci Makes Bold Prediction for Djokovic’s Rivals, Alcaraz and Sinner

There is a rising sentiment in the tennis world that the ‘Big Three’ era is finally over. Roger Federer has retired, Rafael Nadal’s best days seem to be behind him, and Novak Djokovic had a disastrous first half of the 2024 season. Last year, Djokovic was by far the best player in the world, but many claim that the Serb had it easier compared to his previous seasons due to the weakening competition around him. In response to this, Serena Williams’ former coach, Rick Macci, has an understandable reaction.

In an exclusive interview with ‘The SportsRush,’ Macci switched his coaching hat to that of a fan, who, over the years, has cherished the three legends dominating the sport at the same time. He couldn’t help but extol each of them.

However, if he had to choose a favorite, it would be Djokovic, whom he referred to with interesting nicknames of his own, such as ‘The Contortionist’ and the ‘Serbian Sniper’.

“(Novak Djokovic is a) little bit of both of Federer and Nadal. (He is the) Rubber band man, contortionist, can improvise, the Serbian sniper,” he said.

Macci believes that the fact Djokovic is still playing professional tennis after more than 20 years on the ATP Tour and coming up with such incredible numbers is unprecedented.

He is baffled by the critics who believe Djokovic achieved these feats without facing quality opposition. The USPTA Florida Hall of Fame coach also dismissed the argument that Djokovic is lucky because of no longer having to face Federer or a prime Nadal.

“To be consistent at 37 and with the numbers, he is the GOAT. He is still playing now. You can’t really criticise the competition he is getting considering that Federer is no longer playing and Nadal is past his prime,” Macci continued.

Macci is a huge fan of Roger Federer as well, whom he considers to be supremely stylish. The Florida-based coach finds it even more incredible that Federer remains arguably the most loved player in the sport for his epitome of grace and poetry. Macci even referred to the 20-time Grand Slam champion as a ‘Swiss army knife’.

“Everybody loves him (Federer), poetry in motion, Swiss army knife, graceful, never messed up his hair and in 3 out of 5 sets, broke a sweat but hardly looked it (that way). (In) style, he is the best,” Macci expressed.

While Nadal attempts a comeback, Macci, like many around him, believes that the Spaniard’s 112-4 (win-loss) record and 14 title wins at the French Open will never be broken. When it comes to Rafa’s work ethic, Macci is reminded of his former star pupil, Andy Roddick, but considers Nadal more successful, as he is more versatile than the US Open 2003 champion.

“(Nadal is a) grinder. (He has a) I am going to be out there for 5 hours attitude. (We are) never going to see anyone dominate French Open. 112-4 record, that’s crazy! His game is more physical and his work ethic is next to none,” Macci said. “(Roddick is) kind of like Nadal, but Nadal was more successful because he was more versatile, especially on the court.”

However, the American coach is optimistic; thus, he didn’t shy away from mentioning Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, the two players who are expected to take over the Big Three. Moreover, these two have arguably overshadowed Djokovic in less than 12 months.

Rick Macci Makes Bold Prediction for Djokovic’s Rivals, Alcaraz and Sinner

Macci is a bigger fan of Alcaraz, who is back in the top 2 of the ATP rankings. The tennis icon believes that, at such a young age, the Spaniard is already a role model for fans and upcoming tennis players for his innate ability to smile even if he loses a point.

“Alcaraz is a once in a generation player. He is only 21. He has 3 Grand Slams in his pocket already. Alcaraz can make up speed. I have never seen such a player. He is an artist who can hit any shot from any spot,” the coach said.“He loses a point, and he smiles. What a great role model for handling pressure.”

Later, Macci went on to call Alcaraz a ‘once in a generation player,’ even predicting that the Spaniard, along with Sinner, will end up with double-digit Grand Slam title wins just like their predecessors.

With one Grand Slam win each this year, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner could potentially advance to the finals of the Wimbledon 2024 Championships. Sinner would look to justify his World No.1 ranking by displaying his versatility on grass, while Alcaraz has 2000 points to defend from his dominant win last year.

However, if Djokovic is fit and regains his form, everything could change. And with his opponents stronger this year, Djokovic would want to prove pundits like Rick Macci right by showcasing his prowess against the newer generation.

Post Edited By:Samnur Reza

About the author

Dhruv Rupani

Dhruv Rupani


Dhruv Rupani is a Tennis Editor at The SportsRush. He is a tennis tragic in every sense and would go to any length to defend it against anyone if compared negatively to other sports. A huge Rafael Nadal supporter, Dhruv believes tennis is very much like life in most aspects. He started following the sport at the age of 10. Translating his love for sports into a living, he has over 8 years of experience in the digital media space. He aims to entertain and educate people about sports by presenting the best updates to them. When not covering tennis, Dhruv loves to spend time watching comedy shows and movies, reading inspiring books and doesn't mind trying his hand at cooking sometimes!

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