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NextGen could topple Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer in 2021, says Becker

  • Boris Becker wants the new stars to defeat Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in their prime.
  • Becker feels the current break will help the young guns in their bid to upset the established order.
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Modified 19 May 2020, 17:50 IST

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have dominated the tennis world over the last two decades
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have dominated the tennis world over the last two decades

Three-time Wimbledon winner Boris Becker believes the next generation of tennis should be able to upset the established order when tennis resumes after the coronavirus-enforced lockdown. In an interview with Sky Sports, the German legend expressed hope that the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev will start dominating Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in 2021.

'The Big 3' of the tennis world have won 56 Grand Slams in the last 17 years. The trio have aged like fine wine, as they have not let any other player win a Major over the last three seasons.

Stan Wawrinka was the last man outside this group to lift a Grand Slam trophy, a feat he achieved when he beat Novak Djokovic in the US Open 2016 final.

But Becker believes it is time the pattern is broken, and the Next Gen steps up.

I would like to see Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal still at their best, and being beaten: Becker

Alexander Zverev at the 2020 Australian Open
Alexander Zverev at the 2020 Australian Open

Boris Becker feels that the current break will help the young guns sharpen their skills, and diminish the abilities of the veterans.

The Big 3 are already old - Novak Djokovic is 32, Roger Federer 38 and Rafael Nadal 33 - and Becker highlighted that these players will be a year older in 2021. At the same time, he feels the upcoming stars would have gained more experience.

The German wants to see the new players topple the veterans soon because Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will not be so agile after a few years. A defeat against them when they are no longer in their prime will count for less, according to Becker.

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The former coach of Novak Djokovic stated:


"Maybe 2021 will see the breakthrough of the young guns because they will be a year more experienced, and the older players are another year older. I would like to see the top three still at their best, and being beaten. I don't want the young generation to take over when the top three won't play any more or are actually too old."

Boris Becker wants a Grand Slam final between a rising star and Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic won 6 Grand Slam titles under the guidance of Boris Becker
Novak Djokovic won 6 Grand Slam titles under the guidance of Boris Becker

Becker further gave a subtle hint that he wishes to see a Grand Slam final between a NextGen player and Novak Djokovic in 2021. He continued:


"I want to see a final between a 22-year-old and a 33-year-old. That would be the best thing in tennis. I think it's for the younger generation to step up."

Novak Djokovic has a fairly even win-loss record against the upcoming stars; the Serb is 4-2 versus Medvedev, 3-2 against Tsitsipas and 3-2 against Zverev. These players have bettered the reigning World No. 1 in a couple of smaller tournaments, but they have consistently bowed down to him at the Slam stage.

They've had a little more success against Roger Federer, with Tsitsipas getting the better of the Swiss at the 2019 Australian Open. But Zverev and Medvedev have never beaten any of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic at the Slams, which has been a cause of frustration for many.

It will be interesting to see if the next generation players can actually raise their level of play and start dominating the Big 3 when the tour resumes. Becker - like many others in the tennis community - hopes for it to happen, but as we've seen over the last few years, the task is easier said than done.


Published 19 May 2020, 17:44 IST
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