“Need to Start Owning It”: Andre Agassi Says Next-Gen Can’t Afford to Respect Federer, Nadal and Djokovic

Published 05/05/2021, 11:36 AM EDT
PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 07: Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerland embrace at the net after their mens singles semi-final match during Day thirteen of the 2019 French Open at Roland Garros on June 07, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)


Tennis great Andre Agassi has shared his thoughts on the Big 3 (nickname for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) hold on men’s tennis and when the baton is likely to be passed on to the next lot of superstars.

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Appearing on an Indian podcast, the legend said the mind boggles at the thought of how many Grand Slam titles the Big 3 would have won had they not been playing in the same era.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could’ve won more Slams in different eras: Andre Agassi

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As it is, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have had a monopoly of sorts on the Grand Slam trophies for the better part of 14 years, as Agassi put it, winning a staggering 58 titles between them.

“You’ve watched three guys win 58 Grand Slams…14 years almost of Grand Slams, where only three guys are winning and are having to beat each other. Can you imagine if one of these guys was playing tennis during an era when the other weren’t there, how many would they possibly have?” Agassi said.

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)

He added that in Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, the tennis world has seen arguably the best ever on grass, clay and hard courts and to have them playing in the same generation is “like Wow!”

Andre Agassi says the Next-Gen’s on its way

Agassi said it took 70 years for five tennis stars, him being the fifth, to win all the Grand Slams, and the Big 3 did it in a single generation.

The eight-time Grand Slam champion said that while the troika is likely to lord the Majors for some time yet, the Next-Gen is making solid ground and will eventually be ready to take over the Big 3 in time.

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“The Next-Gen’s on its way, you see even last week with (Stefanos) Tsitsipas winning in Monte-Carlo, you look at (Daniil) Medvedev pushing, knocking on the door of all these Slams, you look at Zverev, you look at Thiem…I think they realize that they can’t afford to respect the Top 3,” Agassi said.

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He added that the Next-Gen “need to start owning it” and push themselves to the next level where they can start to impose themselves on the Big 3 and eventually take their place.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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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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