Roger Federer admits that the youngsters are finally starting to come after him, Rafeal Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, with one in particular ready to challenge immediately.
Tennis’ top trio have finished 2019 as the top three in the rankings and with all four Grand Slam tites between them, but all failed at the ATP Finals in London.
Djokovic and Nadal failed to get out of the group stage, while Federer lost inn the semi-finals to 21-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas.
There were other notable successes for the younger players too, with Dominic Thiem beating both Federer and Djokovic and Alexander Zverev defeating Nadal.
“Does it feel like it might be the best year yet [for the younger players]? Possibly,” said Federer.
“Then the only issue is that it seems like me, Novak, and Rafa are healthy, healthier than maybe in previous years, as well.”
Federer does not believe it is fair to say that the younger players are only looking better because the established names are on the decline, though, and he says one player in particular is perfectly placed to step up immediately.
“So from that standpoint, I think they have proved their point this year by qualifying for the Finals, and also now Dominic [Thiem] showed again at these Finals, and winning five titles, beating all of us top guys.
“Definitely it’s that next step they need, and seems like Dominic is in his absolute prime right now. Yeah, I would think so.
Twenty-seven players have beaten entire Big 3.
Three have done so at the same tournament.@AlexZverev – #NittoATPFinals
2018 d. Federer & Djokovic; 2019 d. Nadal@Andy_Murray – @RogersCup
2008 & 2015 d. Djokovic; 2010 d. Nadal & Federer@NalbandianDavid – 2007 @MutuaMadridOpen
— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) November 12, 2019
“But then I look at the list of who finished world number, who has been world number one all these years, and it’s just crazy that it’s always one of us.
“But we are not getting any younger. So their chances increase not because we are getting worse but because they are getting better, I believe.”
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