IMAGE: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters
Tennis will miss the impact of the ‘Big Three’ both on and off the court when Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic join Roger Federer in retirement but the game has a bright future and will continue to thrive, former ATP Board member Alex Inglot told Reuters.
Federer brought his career to an end last year at the age of 41 after winning 20 Grand Slam titles. Nadal and Djokovic, who have each won 22 majors, are both in their mid-30s.
The trio have dominated men’s tennis over the last 20 years and played a major role in shaping the direction of the sport away from the court.
“On court, the three of them have been legends,” former European player representative Inglot told Reuters by phone from Malta. “Different personalities and styles, but bound by the utmost respect and competition for each other.
“They each cared deeply about the game and its future. So I think we’ll also miss that commitment as well as the commitment to on-court excellence.”
Inglot said he understood concerns fans may have as to whether the game will ever see such an era again but was confident tennis would continue to produce enthralling rivalries and players capable of making a big impact.
“Something always comes along. I look at tennis today, the resilience of Daniil Medvedev, the showtime of Nick Kyrgios, the flair of Stefanos Tsitsipas. That’s great,” Briton Inglot said.
“Then you look at the next group with Carlos Alcaraz, who’s 19, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Holger Rune, Jannik Sinner. They’re all 22 or under.
“These are exciting prospects and exciting times. I think you look at (Netflix show) ‘Break Point’ which has been renewed for season two on the back of five episodes that focused on the up-and-comers.”
Inglot said it remained to be seen who would lead the pack over the next decade and beyond.
“The fact they’re there and competing ferociously leaves me confident,” Inglot said.
“As long as the backstage can build the best platform, the best production, the best promotion for these gladiators they’ll continue to wow audiences around the world.
“I’ll miss the ‘Big Three’ no doubt, but tennis will continue to thrive.”
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