In 2020, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) led by the Italian Andrea Gaudenzi decided to temporarily ‘freeze’ the world rankings, also given the cancellation of a large part of the professional calendar. This led the German Alexander Zverev, finalist last season at the US Open and at the Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy, as well as winner of the two home matches in Cologne, to remain in 7th position in the ranking behind the Swiss Roger Federer, absent on the fields now from the Australian Open 2020. Twenty-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal is one of the most humble guys on Tour. Despite achieving tremendous success over the years, the Spaniard maintains a down-to-earth attitude. Even his arch-rivals, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, carry themselves with class on and off the tennis courts.
Ruud praises the Big 3
Speaking more on this subject, Casper Ruud said, “I think they’re all great guys. I know Rafael Nadal the best. But I’ve played against Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the match, they were both nice to me both on the court and off the court. You know when I see them they say hi to me. I think that’s really nice because they have hundreds and thousands of people in their life that they can say hi to and for them to come to me at the gym.” The 22-year-old player added, “Last time at the Australian Open Djokovic didn’t have to come to say hi to me at the gym. They’re nice guys and know how to behave well. They have experienced while growing up. Maybe Sampras came to Roger when he was young. I would say I know Rafa better and we say hi all the time. He sends me messages and he’s the closest I am to, but the two other guys are as nice as him.” In what is arguably the first time in many years, the Miami Open will not have the ‘Big Three’ vying for the title. While World Number 1 Novak Djokovic announced his withdrawal from the event citing the restrictions in place in view of the pandemic, his ‘Big Three’ rival Rafael Nadal, too, pulled out because of a bad back. Former World Number 1 and 2019 Miami champion Roger Federer, who returned to competitive action at the recent Qatar Open, also withdrew from the event, opting instead to return to training ahead of the grass court season.