Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are cultural icons

Andy Murray Novak Djokovic Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on court

Former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker believes that the impact of the big three goes way beyond tennis and hopes for at least two more years from both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Becker labelled Nadal and Djokovic, and Roger Federer as cultural icons.

He added that we might only be able to truly gauge their impact on tennis once they have all retired.

“They have a following that goes way beyond their respective countries – Serbia, Spain and Switzerland,” Becker told Eurosport.

“The impact that they have on tennis is huge. We will only truly understand how big they are once they all retire.

“I hope that Novak and Rafa will play for another year or two because we will benefit from that. They are not only tennis icons, they are not only sports icons, they are cultural icons.”

Becker believes that Djokovic is not preoccupied with winning an Olympic gold medal in Paris in 2024.

He feels that Djokovic is more concerned with notching his 23rd Grand Slam to stand alone above Nadal and Federer.

That said he says that Nadal is still the Roland Garros favourite.

“I personally don’t think Novak is thinking about the golden slam,” Becker said when asked if Djokovic would be thinking about the Paris Olympics.

“I think he wants to win the 23rd major of his career, which would be the record. The next major is Roland-Garros where, in my eyes, the favourite still is Rafael Nadal.

“But Novak is on his heels. So let’s see what these two great champions will deliver for us.”

Nadal has been absent from the tour since his second round exit from the Australian Open.

He suffered a grade two lesion in the Iliacus Psoas of his left leg which has kept him out of action since.

However, the 22-time Grand Slam winner has been spotted on the clay of his Mallorca Academy.

The fact that he is training on clay has led some to posit that Nadal might skip both events of the Sunshine Double.

Nadal has not yet made the call on whether he will compete in the twin ATP 1000 events.

Meanwhile, Djokovic is waiting for a response on his application for an exemption to visa rules on vaccines in order to enter the United States.

Djokovic returns from his own injury break at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday evening when he faces Thomas Machac of the Czech Republic.

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