It is quite well-known that all of the Next Gen players hold the Big 3 in very high regard. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic represent the zenith of the sport, and that fact is not lost on the younger crop of players.
Karen Khachanov is no different; in a recent interview with Sport Club, the rising Russian star revealed his great admiration for the trio.
Khachanov described some basic yet crucial attributes that each of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic possess. According to him, these attributes are what make them unique, and set them apart from the rest of the field.
For Khachanov, the Big 3 are nothing short of legends.
"The three of them are legends of our sport and they all have different styles of play," said Khachanov.
Roger Federer's serve and forehand are remarkable: Karen Khachanov
Roger Federer’s serve is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest in the history of the sport. He isn’t the biggest server out there, but he has exceptional accuracy and disguise on his delivery. From his ball toss to his backward arch and release, everything is inimitable and near-flawless.
It is also acknowledged by many on the tour that reading Roger Federer’s serve is extremely difficult. The Swiss has the exact same release point for serves going out wide and down the T, and so he can easily wrong-foot his opponents.
Khachanov complimented Federer’s serve and also lauded the Swiss’ magnificent forehand. Arguably the finest shot on tour when on song, Roger Federer's forehand can turn defence into attack with the mere flick of a wrist.
“Roger can serve incredibly, he is always around the line," Khachanov said. "He is on (the line) as soon as you think of defending with a slice. His transition to forehand attack is truly remarkable.”
Khachanov showers praise on Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Two of Roger Federer’s greatest rivals - Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - also have some incredible qualities that make them the legends they are today. Khachanov elaborated on Nadal's mental strength, speed, tenacity and shot selection, and showered praise on the Spaniard's ability to persist in the toughest of situations.
The Russian also drew parallels with chess to explain the uniqueness of Rafael Nadal's game.
“Rafael Nadal is always present - we talked about the mental aspect and Nadal never gives up regardless of whether he plays well or bad and what the result is," Khachanov said. "We had a few great matches, here in New York he pushed and pushed and finally won. The speed with which he plays and how he chooses the right shot is impressive, it's a bit like chess, it's wonderful to watch him on TV.”
The comparison to chess did not end there, as Khachanov then compared Novak Djokovic to a specific chess piece - the knight. This piece is known for being able to set up victory in the blink of an eye, much like the Serb when he finds his form.
“And Novak Djokovic is unique too - when he feels the ball, he destroys you with a knight. When he feels the ball, when he cheers, he is really extraordinary," Khachanov added.Published 25 Aug 2020, 22:43 IST