‘Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are not even the greatest in their own era’, says legend

Ewan West
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup

Jimmy Connors has declared that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are “not even the greatest players in their own era”, while asserting that Novak Djokovic must try to keep winning.

The eight-time major champion believes suggestions Djokovic has “had enough” are “bull***t” and feels Carlos Alcaraz is the only player who can stop the 36-year-old.

World No 1 Alcaraz downed Djokovic in a thrilling five-set Wimbledon final earlier this month, ending the Serbian’s 34-match winning streak at the event – which began in 2018.

The 20-year-old Spaniard became only the second player to defeat the current world No 2 in a Wimbledon final after Andy Murray achieved the feat in 2013.

Djokovic has won a men’s record 23 Grand Slam titles, ahead of his great rivals Nadal and Federer, who sit on 22 and 20 major triumphs respectively.

Speaking on an episode of the Advantage Connors podcast, former world No 1 Connors dismissed claims Djokovic’s Wimbledon final defeat indicates he has lost motivation.

“It comes to a point where a lot of people think he’s had enough. To me that’s bull***t. Look at all the people that were on the Federer bandwagon and the Nadal bandwagon as the greatest of all time. They’re not even the greatest of all time in their own era,” said the American.

“They think that maybe he’s had enough and it’s time for somebody else to come up. I look at it the other way, I say, ‘Kill it.’ Stay out there and play until somebody just comes up and beats your brains out because you always got a chance to win.

“Somebody put up a picture I saw on Twitter, [of] Djokovic, where he was 40 or 50 years old, and he is still out there making a speech on Centre Court of Wimbledon. And I loved it.

“Because, what are you gonna do? Let him play until he is 50? You know, believe me, if that was me, if I was in his place right now, I’d say, play me until you kill me. Because there’s only one guy that’s doing it right now, and that’s Alcaraz.”

Djokovic is next set to compete at the Cincinnati Masters next month, ahead of his first appearance at the US Open since losing in the final of the 2021 edition to Daniil Medvedev. The Serbian has confirmed he will skip the Canadian Open Masters 1000 event in Toronto.

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