The battle between the ‘Big 3’ – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic is arguably the closest contest ever seen in the history of sports. It is almost impossible to discern which player is the best amongst the ‘Big 3’. Nevertheless, former World No.3 Stan Wawrinka picked the player he believes to be the most challenging one to face in their primes.
Wawrinka has played against Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic at their favorite Grand Slams. Hence, he undeniably knows what it is like to face the ‘Big 3’ on their respective dominant surface.
Wawrinka and his friend Benoit Paire have been going live on Instagram regularly during the coronavirus lockdown. The two have touched upon various topics during their chats. As is the case with most tennis conversations, the ‘Big 3’ cropped up in the discussion between Wawrinka and Paire.
The Frenchman questioned Wawrinka on the toughest player to beat. Wawrinka gave an answer that will resonate with most tennis fans.
“Rafa on clay. You won’t beat prime Federer on grass, but you’ll have a chance, you’ll lose maybe 6-4, but not 6-2 like against Rafa in the 2017 Roland Garros final. He destroyed me that day,” Wawrinka told Paire.
The Swiss star is one of the few players who has managed to record multiple wins against the ‘Big 3’. However, he has yet to defeat Federer at Wimbledon and Nadal at Roland Garros. He also lost to Djokovic twice at the Australian Open but has defeated him once.
Stan has managed to win a set against Federer in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. He has also troubled Djokovic at the Australian Open, taking their clash to a five-setter in 2013 and 2015, while defeating him in 2014.
However, Wawrinka hasn’t had the same luck with Nadal at the French Open. The Spaniard has absolutely thrashed Stan on the clay Major. He suffered a couple of defeats against the ‘King of Clay’, both with an exact scoreline of 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 in 2013 and 2017. Hence, based on his experience, it is clear why he finds Nadal the toughest one to beat on his favorite surface.