In 2021, the Big 3 of men's tennis - Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer - will continue their battle for some of the greatest all-time records in the sport. And former World No. 4 Greg Rusedski believes Novak Djokovic will break Pete Sampras' record for most year-end finishes at No. 1 and Roger Federer's record for most weeks at No. 1, but that Rafael Nadal might end up with the record for most Majors.
Rafael Nadal won a record-extending 13th French Open title earlier this year to tie Roger Federer at 20 Slams overall, while Novak Djokovic won his 17th Major at the Australian Open. All three are entered to compete in February's Australian Open, although Federer's participation will be a race against the clock as the Swiss star continues to test his knee.
Novak Djokovic ended the year as World No. 1 for a sixth time in 2020, thus tying the record held by Sampras. The Serb could take sole possession of the record if he finishes 2021 as the top-ranked player again.
That may depend on how the calendar and the results unfold over the next 12 months, but Djokovic looks all but certain to break the record for most weeks at World No. 1 (currently held by Roger Federer). The Serb recently celebrated his 300th week at No. 1, and will break the Swiss' record of 310 weeks if he remains at the top spot until 8 March 2021.
During a recent interview with Express Sport, Greg Rusedski spoke about the exciting landscape in the year ahead and also alluded to Djokovic's and Nadal's chances of breaking more records.
"I think Novak Djokovic will [surpass Pete Sampras' record for most year-end No. 1s and Roger Federer's record for most weeks as No. 1] but the only guy I'm thinking is that Rafael Nadal might have more Slams than him," Rusedski said. "Djokovic is going to surpass Federer, he won't have the most wins or the most titles but he will surpass him for most Grand Slam titles."
Rusedski believes the battle for most Majors will come down to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, especially since the latter is widely considered the favorite to bag another French Open title in 2021.
"I think the battle is between two guys," the former US Open finalist said. "Not winning that US Open, that would've taken Novak Djokovic to 18 instead of 17 and now Rafael Nadal, you've got to give him the French unless [Dominic] Thiem can knock him off his pedestal in Paris. That's the only guy who can beat him in my opinion there. He (Novak Djokovic) needs two Slams next year at least, or three."
Loss to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon 2019 must be the most heartbreaking of Roger Federer's career: Greg Rusedski
Greg Rusedski also claimed that Roger Federer's loss to Novak Djokovic in the 2019 Wimbledon final after having two match points could end up having a big say in the Grand Slam race.
"The points against Novak Djokovic, that must be the most heartbreaking loss of his career. [If he wins that] All of a sudden that takes him (Roger Federer) to 21 and leaves Djokovic right now at 16 and he's still ahead in the race over Nadal," Rusedski stated.
While talking about Roger Federer's comeback, Rusedski opined that it would be tough for the Swiss maestro to win the Australian Open or French Open in 2021. However, the Brit does believe a ninth Wimbledon title is still within reach for Federer.
"I don't think he's got a shot to win the Australian Open or the French, those will be big asks for him," Rusedski said. "He can still have good runs there but won't win them. Wimbledon, that's where he's aiming at."Published 25 Dec 2020, 21:21 IST