‘Federer, Nadal, Djokovic era will never happen again’ – former star makes ‘brutal change’ claim

Ewan West
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - who is the GOAT?
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Feliciano Lopez has declared that the world of tennis is “experiencing a brutal change” as the end of the remarkable era dominated by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic nears. 

The former world No 12 does not think there will ever be a better generation of players than the Big Three and argued other eras should not be compared to this “unreal” period.

From 2006 to 2019, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic won all but eight of the Grand Slams events played, with Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Murray, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka the only other major winners.

Djokovic has won a men’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, while Nadal and Federer sit second and third on the all-time list with 22 and 20 respectively.

While Djokovic claimed three of the four majors last year, Nadal won his most recent Grand Slam crown at the 2022 French Open, and Federer secured his last at the 2018 Australian Open before his retirement in 2022.

The rivalries between the legendary trio are among the greatest in tennis history and made the years shared by the three icons a golden period in the sport.

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In an interview with EFE, Lopez, who competed against each of the Big Three many times, discussed the period of change the men’s game is currently going through.

“It’s obvious. Roger Federer is gone, Djokovic doesn’t know what he has left, and Rafa doesn’t know what he has left either. But it’s evident that the world of tennis is experiencing a brutal change,” assessed the 42-year-old Spaniard.

“In the end, what we have experienced in recent times has been unreal. Three No 1s, the three best players in history competing together in the last fifteen years seems unreal to me and that it will never happen again. The sooner we accept it, the better. And the sooner the comparisons stop, well, [the] better.

“Because if we think about it coldly, there will not be a better generation. There has not been one since tennis began. We are going to enjoy what we have, which is not what we had because it is impossible. We have had a generation of tennis players that is not going to go away. Repeat again.”

Lopez, who turned professional in 1997, won seven ATP singles titles during an impressive 26-year career, which he called time on in June last year. The big-serving left-hander lost to Yannick Hanfmann in the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Championships in his final match.

The Spaniard also won six doubles titles, including the 2016 French Open, and reached a career-high ATP doubles ranking of world No 9.

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