Nadal saves his first ‘match ball’



The dominance of the so-called ‘Big Three’ has devastated several generations of tennis players, to the point that 60 of the last 73 greats have been won by the Swiss, the Majorcan and the Serbian. Since 2009, when the Argentine Juan Martín del Potro conquered the US OpenThere have been only six tennis players, counting Medvedev, who have managed to add at least one great victory and open a gap between so much tyranny. The Scotsman Andy Murray and the Swiss Stan Wawrinka, with three great titles in that period, are the ones who take the cake and prevented the three great tennis monsters from adding another great title to their record.

Despite his loss in the US Open final, the sixth he lost in New York, Djokovic is still the main favorite to go solo in the race to be the best in history. And it is that the next Grand Slam event is the Australian Open, next January, a tournament that suits him like a glove as he aspires to his tenth title in Melbourne – he has won the nine finals that he has disputed-, which would be the fourth in a row. Practically ruled out Federer at age 40 to increase his record, while injuries have prevented him from competing, Australia does not seem the best tournament for Nadal, where he has only triumphed once, in 2009. Hopefully within four months is recovered from the injury to his left foot that has forced him to end the season earlier than desired, resigning from Wimbledon, the Tokyo Games and the US Open, among other tournaments, an absence that has relegated him to sixth place in the ranking ATP.

The great opportunity for Nadal to increase his record in terms of greats is still Roland Garros, his fetish tournament. Defeated for the third time in Paris this year, second against Djokovic, the manacorí will arrive at the Bois de Boulogne with the intention of adding what would be his fourteenth title in the French capital, some stratospheric numbers that hardly anyone will ever reach.. Despite everything, he remains the favorite as the best gravel player in history that he is. Wimbledon It also seems like a favorable scenario for Djokovic, a five-time winner on the London grass and reigning champion. Finally, the US Open, where Nadal has won up to four times, is the last big one of the year and possibly the most open since the number of tennis players opting for victory increases considerably. And the best example is that in the last two years the winners have been Thiem and Medvedev.

Nadal saves his first ‘match ball’. IT


Age

In any case, when it comes to talk about Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, it should not be forgotten that all three are of an age that in any other era they would possibly already be retired, or on the verge, especially the Swiss, which in August reached quarantine. The Mallorcan, with 35, and the Serbian, with 34, already notice the drive of the tennis players who are called to fill the gap that, logically, they must leave. Medvedev, who on Sunday added his first Grand Slam; Thiem, winner of the US Open in 2020; the Greek Tsitsipas and a Alexander Zverev who this year has taken a leap in quality and knocks on the door of a Grand Slam title, are the best placed to discuss the hegemony of the three great dominators of tennis in the last two decades. Somehow, and as The Washington Post reflected yesterday, with his loss to Medvedev, “Djokovic crashed into the future of tennis.” Somehow the number one represented the old school he’s a part of alongside Federer and Nadal, and he lost crushingly.

However, Djokovic’s ambition and his desire to be the best in history were reflected in his words at the press conference after his painful loss to Medvedev. “New things will come, challenges, and above all learning from defeats like the one I suffered this Sunday,” he stressed. “The message to get out is that I must learn and return to the competition stronger than ever, stay in the fight, motivated, feel love for the sport, enjoy on the track and relieved that the fight for a great goal has already reached its goal. final”.

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have had more than three decades of rivalry, possibly the greatest in the history of the sport. Since in 2003, a whopping 18 years ago, the Swiss, about to turn 22, lifted his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, he has monopolized the recent history of the tennis player along with his two great competitors. In 2005 he was joined by Nadal with the first of his thirteen Roland Garros and in 2008 Djokovic with the first of his nine Australian Open. It was possibly his happiest day, quite the opposite of Sunday, when he suffered the most cruel defeat, the one that completed the circle of an unequaled year.

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