“We Are the Next-Gen”: Novak Djokovic Affirms Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Him Have Reinvented the ‘Next-Gen’

Published 05/16/2021, 11:36 PM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal shakes hands with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic after winning the final REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


The world might not have restored its normalcy after the pandemic outbreak, but tennis has. Simply put, a Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic final at the Italian Open 2021 echoed tennis at its best again.

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Even though the final result favored the Spaniard, Djokovic felt content with his performance. Moreover, he took a dig at the next-generation players as he and Rafa played another Masters 1000 final.

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Novak Djokovic harps on the Big 3 vs. Next-Gen debate

At 34, Spanish World No.3 Rafael Nadal completed his record-extending tenth campaign at the Italian Open. He defeated Serbian World No.1, Novak Djokovic, 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal with the trophy after winning his final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic who poses with the runners up trophy REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Notably, the scoreline does not reciprocate the battle they fought. But as per the 33-year-old Serbian, it is more a sign of affirmation for the big 3. “Clearly, Rafa, Roger, and I have reinvented the ‘Next Gen.’ We are the Next-Gen,” Djokovic hailed in his runner-up speech.

On inquiring later whether he is bored of listening about the Next-Gen making their move, the Serbian coincided. Furthermore, he clarified that the Fed-Rafa-Nole trio is still dominating the tennis community.

“Of course, the next-gen is there, is coming, whatever,” Djokovic said. “But we are still winning the biggest tournaments and Slams. I don’t know what to tell you other than that.”

Conclusively, the 18-time Grand Slam champion conveyed that he does not focus on the next-gen despite it being the most prominent story after the Big 3.

He said, “The guys are there. They are already establishing themselves in the Top 5, 10 of the world. Nothing new. But we are still here.”

The young generation players have a colossal chance to keep their point at the upcoming French Open.

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Nadal, Djokovic among favorites at the French Open 2021

The triumvirate of tennis – Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic will have eyes for glory at the French Open 2021. Among the three, the record 13-time champion, Rafa Nadal, will be the undisputed favorite of the tournament.

2018 French Open Tennis Tournament – Rafael Nadal of Spain and Novak Djokovic of Serbia while playing a tie break doubles exhibition match against Simone Halep of Romania and Alexander Zverev of Germany on Court Philippe Chatrier during a packed Children’s Day at Roland Garros before the start of the 2018 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on May 26th 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

However, the young spring of tennis players also looks promising this year. Players such as Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas have better odds to reach the last four.

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But, in the end, it will all come down to whether they can steal a Grand Slam from the big 3. If it happens, it will be a monumental episode for the future of tennis.

Do you think a Next-Gen star would win a Grand Slam in 2021?

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Purav Joshi

1114 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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