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Gretzky and Nash have a fanboy moment over Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic

  • The 2 Canadian icons gave their take on Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic while chatting with Pospisil.
  • Gretzsky and Nash are mesmerized by the longevity of the Big 3, and are optimistic of the future of Canadian tennis.
Arjun
ANALYST
News
Modified 23 May 2020, 13:35 IST

Novak Djokovic (left), Rafael Nadal (centre) and Roger Federer (right)
Novak Djokovic (left), Rafael Nadal (centre) and Roger Federer (right)

The lockdown and the ensuing suspension of the tours have deprived fans of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic's high quality tennis. But that hasn't stopped other sporting legends from sharing their adulation and respect for the Big 3.

That's exactly what happened in a candid interaction that saw Canadian doubles specialist Vasek Pospisil discuss tennis with two of Canada's greatest sporting icons - hockey legend Wayne Gretzksy and former NBA star Steve Nash.

Wayne Gretzsky gives his take on Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

2017 NHL Awards - Arrivals
2017 NHL Awards - Arrivals

Considered by many to be the greatest ice-hockey player of all time, 59-year-old Wayne Gretzsky revealed that he has been a big tennis fan for several decades. Gretzsky's love for tennis started way back in the 80s, when he became an admirer of mercurial American superstar John McEnroe.

Gretzksy rated the 1981 Wimbledon final between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg as the greatest match he has ever seen. His childhood idol and now good friend McEnroe captured his first Wimbledon title that year, defeating reigning five-time champion Bjorn Borg in an epic four-set contest.

Gretzsky also showered praise on the accomplishments of the Big 3, and expressed appreciation for the fact that they continue to dominate the tennis circuit well into their 30s. But he is a little partial to Federer and Nadal, saying that while Novak Djokovic is good, he doesn't quite get the blood flowing the way the other two do.

"Djokovic is pretty good, but there’s something [special] about Nadal and Federer playing and competing for a championship," Gretzky said. “For me, that gets my blood flowing and I can’t wait to watch it.”

Steve Nash is in awe of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers
Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

Two-time NBA MVP and one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game, 46-year-old Steve Nash echoed the sentiments shared by Wayne Gretzksy. Nash admitted that that his love for tennis also began with his fascination for the American legend John McEnroe.

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Nash went on to marvel at how the Big 3, despite so many differences in their style of play, have managed to dominate tennis for well over a decade now.

Nash was all praise for the all-round ability of Roger Federer - from his forehand to his volleying skills at the net. Nash also feels that the biggest advantage Rafael Nadal has is his mental toughness.

“I never really felt like I had to choose between Federer and Nadal. I felt like I could really appreciate both of them to reach their limit, their max, their potential, and may the best man win,” Nash said.

When asked about his take on Novak Djokovic, the former Phoenix Suns star had this to say - "The way he moves, his flexibility, his consistency. If he’s playing at his best, to beat him is almost impossible."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Gretzsky and Nash proud of Canada's burgeoning tennis stars

Both the superstars said they are proud of the rich tennis talent emerging from Canada. In particular, they mentioned how the 2019 US Open triumph of Bianca Andreescu could be a watershed moment for Canadian tennis.


Published 23 May 2020, 13:35 IST
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