Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer: Tennis great issues telling verdict on Big 3’s weaknesses

Ewan West
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - who is the GOAT?
Tennis' Big Three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Tennis great Mats Wilander has assessed that Novak Djokovic is the only member of the Big Three that “doesn’t really have a weakness” in his game. 

The former world No 1 feels Djokovic’s greatness was less evident than that of Nadal and Federer when he first emerged because it was “more inside of him than on the outside.”

Djokovic is preparing to play at the 2024 Wimbledon Championships after undergoing meniscus surgery earlier this month, but he is yet to confirm his participation.

The 37-year-old suffered a meniscus tear during his five-set fourth round victory against Francisco Cerundolo at the French Open on June 3.

If the Serbian competes at the All England Club, he will have the opportunity to tie Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon men’s singles titles and he could also claim a record-extending 25th Grand Slam crown.

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Federer last played at Wimbledon in 2021 before retiring in 2022, while Nadal made his most recent appearance at the grass-court Major in 2022.

Nadal has chosen to skip this year’s edition of Wimbledon to prioritise his preparation for the Paris Olympics, where the tennis event will begin on July 27.

Speaking to Eurosport, seven-time Grand Slam champion Wilander highlighted the way he feels Djokovic is different to his two greatest rivals

“With Novak, I think when he came on the circuit early on, we didn’t see his greatness because his greatness was more inside of him than on the outside,” the Swede said.

“I think with Roger and Rafa, the greatness, you could see it. You could see it in the shot, in the technique. Everybody wants to play like Roger Federer. With Novak, he hits the ball like most other pros.

“It’s just that he hits his backhand like other pros that have the best backhand in the game, and he hits his forehand like all the other pros that have the best forehands in the game, and he hits his serve in the same spots as Roger Federer, who had the best serve in the game.

“What we didn’t realise is that there were no weaknesses anywhere in his game on any surface. I think it took a while for everybody to understand that he doesn’t have weaknesses. Federer has a weakness. Nadal has weaknesses. Djokovic doesn’t really have a weakness.”

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