Former Wimbledon Champion Feels Next-Gen Not Able to Push Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic in Grand Slams

Published 02/28/2021, 1:54 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Men’s Singles Photo Shoot – Brighton Beach, Melbourne, Australia, Australian Open champion Serbia’s Novak Djokovic poses with the trophy during a photo shoot at Brighton Beach REUTERS/Loren Elliott


French tennis star Marion Bartoli has weighed in on the debate on whether the next lot of superstars in men’s tennis are there yet in terms of weakening the Big Three’s hold on Grand Slam titles. The sound defeat that World Number 3 Russian Daniil Medvedev suffered at the hands of top-seed Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open served to illustrate that the Big Three – combined nickname for Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal – aren’t anywhere near to being pushed to the shadows by the emerging lot when it comes to Grand Slams.

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The continued Grand Slam supremacy of Novak Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer

While the balance in the women’s game appears to have shifted towards the younger crop, with veterans Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, and Petra Kvitova going through prolonged title droughts in Grand Slams and apparently ceding space to the emerging stars to shine, the same hasn’t happened in the men’s game.

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With her second Australian Open title this year, which was also her fourth career Major championship win, World Number 2 Japanese Naomi Osaka is well on her way to building her own legacy in Grand Slams.

The likes of Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek have already tasted Grand Slam success and promise plenty more going forward.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – SEPTEMBER 18: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal of Team Europe react as they are presented to the crowd at Palais Eynard during the official welcome ceremony prior to the Laver Cup 2019 at Palexpo, on September 18, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Laver Cup will see six players from the rest of the World competing against their counterparts from Europe. Team World is captained by John McEnroe and Team Europe is captained by Bjorn Borg. The tournament runs from September 20-22. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

However, there hasn’t been a “transition”, or a ceremonial passing of the torch, in men’s tennis yet and till that happens “it’s business as usual”.

Marion Bartoli says for Djokovic, Rafael, and Federer, it’s about winning more Grand Slams

Barring Medvedev’s dream run at the ATP Finals last year when he beat Nadal, Djokovic, and then World Number 3 Dominic Thiem on his way to landing the title, there’s hardly been any instance of “someone young… winning a final against a big established player” according to Marion Bartoli.

Bartoli added that for “Novak, Rafa, and Roger, it’s just about how many Grand Slams they can get” and the younger lot knows there’s no easy road to glory as they have to battle past the Big Three.

The former Grand Slam champion added that she is not convinced yet that the younger crop has the stamina and mental strength to survive five-setters in marquee tournaments against the Big Three.

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“I think they’re not quite there yet,” the former Wimbledon champion said.

With the Big Three still fiercely motivated to win Majors, one suspects it could be awhile before the baton finally passes to the emerging lot.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

825 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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