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Pete Sampras claims he never envisioned all 3 of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would cross his Grand Slam tally

Novak Djokovic poses with his 20th Grand Slam title
Novak Djokovic poses with his 20th Grand Slam title
ANALYST

Novak Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final on Sunday to seal his 20th Grand Slam title. With the win, the Serb drew level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Majors.

The fourth most successful player in terms of Grand Slam titles is Pete Sampras, who won his 14th Major at the 2002 US Open before calling it a day. Federer was the first player to break Sampras' record when he won Wimbledon in 2009. Nadal went past the American's tally with his 2017 triumph at Roland Garros.

Djokovic, meanwhile, won his 15th Slam at the Australian Open in 2019.

In a recent interview with Christopher Clarey of the New York Times, Sampras marveled at the feats achieved by Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal. The seven-time Wimbledon champion claimed he had never envisioned three players surpassing him on the Grand Slam leaderboard within two decades of his retirement.

“I’m just amazed at this generation,” Sampras said. “If you would have asked when I walked off with 14 majors if three guys would pass me in the next 15 to 19 years, I would have said, no way.”

Sampras further pointed out how Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have been a cut above the rest of the field. The 14-time Major champion believes the Big 3 have found it "easier" to dominate the tour because of their experience, talent and physical prowess.

“Everyone sort of plays the same, but there are just three guys who have been so much better at it,” Sampras said. “In some ways it’s easier to dominate or at least harder for the young guys to break though against these players with experience, talent and athletic ability that can sustain it set after set after set.”

Can Novak Djokovic finish his career with twice as many Slams as Pete Sampras?

Novak Djokovic and his team pose with the Wimbledon title
Novak Djokovic and his team pose with the Wimbledon title

Can Novak Djokovic finish his career with at least 28 Grand Slams to his name? The Serb, who is 34 years old, looks fit enough to compete at the highest level for another five years. During this period, Federer will definitely have retired, and Nadal will likely have followed suit.

While the Next Gen will no doubt improve their game and begin winning Slams, Djokovic could still be the man to beat at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. He could also win a few US Open titles as well as Roland Garros in the coming years, given the form he is in.

As such, even if the World No. 1 wins two Slams a year for the next four years, he will end up with 28 Majors, which is exactly double Sampras' final tally.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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