Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have scored 58 Grand Slams in the last decade and a half. The latest in chronological order was the Serbian’s triumph at the Australian Open 2021, after having demolished Daniil Medvedev in the final on the Rod Laver Arena. Numerous insiders believe that 2021 may be the right year for the definitive changing of the guard at the top of men’s tennis, but the start of the season is certainly not a good omen. Nadal will once again be the big favorite at Roland Garros, where he prevailed last year without leaving a single set on the road. Federer will return to the field in Doha in the second week of March, with the aim of being 100% found for Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. In a lengthy interview for the ATP website, former world number 3 David Nalbandian urged young people to do more in order to break the dominance of the Big 3. During his career, the Argentine has faced Federer, Nadal and Djokovic a total of 31 times, coming out victorious on 11 occasions.
Nalbandian on the Big 3
“Good players can beat them, it is not impossible work,” David Nalbandian said. “Sometimes it’s good for new players to start believing in themselves. They’re incredible players, but they’re not superheroes. The new generation has to start believing in themselves.” Nalbandian reckons that most of the younger players are simply biding their time, waiting for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to retire before attempting to assert themselves. The Argentine pointed out that there was a time when he too eagerly awaited such a moment, but to no avail. “Most of the players think that they’re waiting for the Big 3 to retire,” Nalbandian said. “I say, ‘I was already waiting in my time and they’re still around!’ Let’s stop waiting and beat them.” The Argentine believes that Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal always find a way to overcome the odds and scale new heights, which makes them a cut above your average Joe. “It’s incredible the way that they adapt to the new players and their age, because they’re getting older,” Nalbandian said. “They’re still on, they’re still focussed, they’re still inspired to keep going. That’s amazing. That’s why there are only three players who can do that. It’s Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The others can’t do that. Nobody.”
The Big 3 are considered the top tier of menâs tennis