Former British Number 1 Reveals How Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic Can Be Dethroned

Published 03/25/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 30: Novak Djokovic of Serbia walks past Roger Federer of Switzerland during change of ends in their Men’s Singles Semifinal match on day eleven of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 30, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Former British tennis star Greg Rusedski has made a huge claim on the Big Three dominance in men’s tennis and how long it will overshadow the exploits of the next lot of superstars. In an interview with a British web publication, Rusedski, one of the biggest servers in the game in his heydays, said that the Big Three – combined nickname for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – have always thrived on “medium, medium-slow” surfaces.

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Rusedski says Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic don’t have to adjust much on prevailing surfaces on Tour

Rusedski added that swifter courts will even up the contest as the likes of Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, and Stefanos Tsitsipas will then fancy winning more against the Big Three.

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However, the former British Number 1 said that till courts get faster, he doesn’t see Federer, Nadal, and current World Number 1 Djokovic loosening their hold on men’s tennis.

“I think the problem is you had three of the all-time greats at the same time, and unless they change the court speed (that won’t change),” Rusedski said.

SHANGHAI, CHINA – OCTOBER 15: Roger Federer of Switzerland with Rafael Nadal of Spain pose with their trophies after the Men’s singles final mach on day eight of 2017 ATP Shanghai Rolex Masters at Qizhong Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

He said that the courts across events are “medium, medium-slow”, which continue to be an advantage for Federer and his Big Three rivals as they don’t need to adapt much to the surface.

“Every tournament they go to, there aren’t any big adjustments needed,” the former British star said.

Roger Federer lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili on fast Doha court

Citing the recent Dubai Open, a tournament won by Russian Aslan Karatsev, Rusedski said that the tournament saw many upsets as the fancied players had trouble adjusting to the faster courts.

A qualifier at this year’s Australian Open, Karatsev felled many top stars on the way to reaching the semi-final. He followed this up with his maiden Tour title in Dubai.

Though the Big Three did not enter the Dubai fray, it’s likely they’d have struggled to adjust to the surface if they had. 

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In his comeback event in Doha, Federer was worked over by Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili on a fast surface which afforded little response time on return shots. During his victorious Australian Open campaign, Djokovic also made a reference to how the courts were faster than they had ever been.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

854 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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