Friday, February 21, 2020 | ePaper

Novak, Rafa and Roger still reign

  • Print


Agency :
At some point, of course, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will stop winning Grand Slam titles.
Someone younger will emerge and a shift at the top of tennis will happen.
Just not yet.
While so much attention has recently been focused on trying to figure out who will break up the dominance of the Big Three, it might just be more fun to contemplate - from now until the Australian Open in January, at least - how that trio's competition for the most major championships will end up when they've all walked away from the game.
After eventually emerging with a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Daniil Medvedev in a memorable seesaw of a US Open final last Sunday, Nadal insisted that, yes, he wants the record by the time he's done, but, no, it's not all that matters to him or how he'll define his own happiness.
That's fine, of course. To each his own.
But the rest of us can - and should - track it and care.
"He's in a better position today," one of Nadal's coaches, Francisco Roig, said after his guy edged Medvedev in a four-hour, 50-minute marathon.
"But all three of them are still winning tournaments. It's a long way, but Rafa's in the best position."
Here's the current count: Federer 20, Nadal 19, Djokovic 16.
In 2019, Djokovic and Nadal won two majors apiece, drawing closer to Federer, whose most recent Slam trophy came at the 2018 Australian Open.
Each has notched a career grand slam, too: Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and Australian Open.
Federer's tally: Eight from Wimbledon, six from the Australian Open, five from the US Open, one from the French Open.
Nadal's tally: 12 from the French Open, four from the US Open, two from Wimbledon, one from the Australian Open.
Djokovic's tally: Seven from the Australian Open, five from Wimbledon, three from the US Open, one from the French Open.
The other relevant numbers are their ages: Federer is 38, Nadal 33 and Djokovic 32.
Nadal hasn't been this close in the "standings" since the "score" was Federer 1, Nadal 0, after Wimbledon in 2003.
By the time Nadal picked up his first major, at the 2005 French Open, he trailed 4-0.
For so many years, so many folks were prepared to proclaim Federer the "GOAT" - Greatest Of All Time - based largely on his accumulation of majors and a subjective assessment of supposed aesthetics.
Others pointed out that Nadal's edge in their head-to-head series, which currently stands at 24-16, should give him the nod.
Djokovic, meanwhile, elbowed his way into the "best ever" discussion, too, because he's the only one to have won four majors in a row, leads both his rivals in head-to-head competition (26-22 over Federer, 28-26 over Nadal) and broke up their hold on the No 1 ranking.
What's most impressive, really, is how this trio has ruled the sport for about 15 years.
"The three of us are doing things that never were done in the history of tennis," Nadal said. "I take pride in being part of this fight."
They have won 51 of the past 59 Grand Slam titles, including the last 12, and there hasn't been a first-time male champ at a major since 2014.
Here's how different things are in the women's game: Bianca Andreescu's 6-3, 7-5 win against Serena Williams on Saturday made the 19-year-old Canadian the seventh first-time major champion in the past 11 events.
Or put another way: Andreescu gave the women a Grand Slam champion born in the 2000s before the men have had one who was born in the 1990s.
Some took it as a sign that change was afoot when Nadal was the only member of the Big Three to get to the semifinals at the US Open.
Djokovic, the defending champion and No 1 seed, stopped while way behind in his fourth-round match, citing pain in his left shoulder. Federer, dealing with a bad back, bowed out in five sets in the quarterfinals.
Are they getting too old for this?

More News For this Category

10-km run to be held in Dhaka

Bangladesh is set to get its first certified distance race next month, in the form of the 'CCCL RUNBANGLA International 10K' AIMS, the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races,

Navy champions in Bangabandhu Shaheed Smrity Hockey Tournament

Navy champions in Bangabandhu Shaheed Smrity Hockey Tournament

Sports Reporter :Bangladesh Navy emerged as the champions in the Bangabandhu Shaheed Smrity Hockey Tournament defeating Bangladesh Army by 6-3 goals in the final at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey

India's Kohli not yet ready to ease workload

AFP, Wellington :Virat Kohli admitted Wednesday that captaining India in all three cricketing formats was gruelling but insisted he was not yet ready to ease his leadership burden.Speaking ahead of

Too early to say whether virus threatens Olympics, says WHO

AP, Geneva  :Despite a virus outbreak spreading from China, a top World Health Organization (WHO) official said Tuesday it's much too soon to say whether the Tokyo Olympics are at

Djokovic says Federer, Nadal inspire him to play best season ever

Djokovic says Federer, Nadal inspire him to play best season ever

Xinhua, Belgrade :Stressing his grand slam and Olympic ambitions, Novak Djokovic, who recently made a comeback as world's No. 1, said he this season could be his best and feels

Kristina Mladenovic of France, returns the ball to Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic, during a match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai of United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.

Kristina Mladenovic of France, returns the ball to Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic, during a match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai of United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.

The winners in the Annual Sports Competition of the Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall of Dhaka University (DU) with the chief guest Provost (Acting) of the Hall Professor Shamim Banu pose for a photo session at the Central              Playground in DU on Wednesday.

The winners in the Annual Sports Competition of the Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall of Dhaka University (DU) with the chief guest Provost (Acting) of the Hall Professor Shamim Banu pose for a photo session at the Central Playground in DU on Wednesday.

Vlaeminck under     injury cloud ahead of World Cup opener

Vlaeminck under injury cloud ahead of World Cup opener

Australia are keeping their "fingers and toes crossed" as Tayla Vlaeminck's participation for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup is in jeopardy due to a leg injury. The pacer was

'Welcome to Anfield': Klopp warns Atletico

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expects a very different atmosphere at Anfield will help turn his side's Champions League last 16 tie with Atletico Madrid around after a 1-0 first leg

The winners in the Annual Sports Competition of the Jagannath Hall of Dhaka University (DU) with the chief guest Treasurer of Dhaka University Professor Dr Md Kamal Uddin pose for photograph at the Central            Playground in DU on Tuesday. Provost of the Hall Professor Dr Mihir Lal Saha, was, among others, present at the time.

The winners in the Annual Sports Competition of the Jagannath Hall of Dhaka University (DU) with the chief guest Treasurer of Dhaka University Professor Dr Md Kamal Uddin pose for photograph at the Central Playground in DU on Tuesday. Provost of the Hall Professor Dr Mihir Lal Saha, was, among others, present at the time.