World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas suggested that tennis fans should get used to not having the Big Three at the Grand Slams, as that will be the reality in a couple of years. Roger Federer, 40, will miss the Australian Open, while Novak Djokovic, 34, refuses to reveal his vaccination status. Rafael Nadal, 35, declined to confirm in Abu Dhabi that he would play 100 percent at the Australian Open. “I guess it will generally be like that in a few years. Let’s see how tennis works without the top three. I really want to see which players are going to prevail at this point,” Tsitsipas said, according to Lorenzo Ercoli. With or without the Big Three, Tsitsipas will be determined to win his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. Nadal has returned to the practice field and that is a positive indication that he is doing his best to play the Australian Open. After returning home from Abu Dhabi, Nadal announced: “Upon my return home after playing the Abu Dhabi tournament, I have tested positive for Covid in the PCR test that they performed on me when I arrived in Spain. Both in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi we passed the controls every two days and all were negative, the last being on Friday and having the results on Saturday. I’m having some unpleasant moments but I hope to get better little by little. I am now homebound and have reported the result to those who have been in contact with me. As a consequence of the situation, I have to have complete flexibility with my schedule and I will analyze my options based on my evolution.”
Kyrgios praises Roger Federer
Former World No. 13 Nick Kyrgios has urged tennis fans all over the world to appreciate Roger Federer while the great champion is still around. “Just appreciate it now while he is here,” Kyrgios said. “Roger Federer is on his back rehab and knee rehab right now to play only for half the fans in the world and himself. People take all these athletes they’ve got now for granted. Like LeBron James, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer,” Kyrgios said. “It is just human nature to take stuff for granted.” Kyrgios remarked that people tend to heap praise on the great players only after they hang up their boots. But while they are playing, these brilliant athletes are subjected to constant disapproval. “When they retire, everyone says, ‘Oh, they were the best’. But whilst they are playing, it is always criticism,” Kyrgios said.