Roger Federer & Co have been a big problem for an entire generation, says Gilles Simon
- Gilles Simon believes that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic are the best players of all time.
- Simon explained how frustrating and 'nightmarish' it has been to play alongside the Big 3 and also Andy Murray.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have established an iron-clad grip over men's tennis with their brilliance. The 'Big 3' have dominated the Slams in recent times, having won 56 of the last 67 Majors - led by Roger Federer at 20 titles. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic follow with 19 and 17 respectively, with the potential to add many more.
The trio have dominated the big events so thoroughly that between 2004 and 2020, there have been just six other players who have tasted Grand slam glory. In other words, an entire generation of players has had to spend their career in the shadow of these three extraordinary men.
One such player is Gilles Simon, who while writing an article for the ATP Tour's official website, described what it meant to be on the tour along with the Big 3. Simon also threw in a word for Andy Murray, who he believes has been just as good and makes up the 'Big 4'.
Playing in the middle of Roger Federer and the Big 4's careers was a nightmare: Simon
During the course of the article, Simon explained how his generation has faced a big problem - the fact that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have always been around. The Frenchman said:
"I’m 35 years old, and I have won 14 ATP Tour titles and reached World No. 6. For a long time, the biggest problem my generation faced was that the top four players — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray — were too good. For someone like me who was in the middle of these guys' careers, it was a nightmare."
Simon further went on to say that the Big 3 might be the greatest players to have ever picked up a racquet. He revealed how he cherished each and every win he registered against the trio, since it always took a Herculean effort.
"It was a chance to play with the best players and to compete against them," Simon said. "Every win I earned against them was a huge performance in itself, having a chance to test yourself against guys who are some of the best players ever.
"Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic might be the three best players of all time at one point. I’m lucky that I’ve been part of it," Simon added. "But the problem is when you’re a tennis player, you want to win. You want to win big tournaments.."
The former World No. 6 mentioned that the young players of the earlier generation were not able to compete at the level of Roger Federer and the rest of the Big 4. But he has more hopes from the newer generation - the one younger than him - and expects them to now take over the mantle.
"I think especially this most recent generation of players is really attractive," Simon said. "There are players with many different styles, and different personalities, too. You take guys like Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, then you have the young American guys who are a very good generation of players. Stefanos Tsitsipas can have an amazing game, Sascha Zverev too."
"I feel it’s a great generation in terms of personality," the Frenchman added. "Guys like Felix, Karen Khachanov, Daniil Medvedev. They are not just good players, but they are super nice guys and very good people. That’s going to help them. They are bringing a lot of variety to the court. We need that because Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were leading the sport forever. At some point, they’re going to stop."
Gilles Simon, who himself seems to be in the twilight of his career, has faced Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal nine times each, Novak Djokovic 12 times and Andy Murray 18 times. He has come out on the winning side only once each against Nadal and Djokovic, and only twice each against Federer and Murray.Published 25 Jun 2020, 02:01 IST