Former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero recently discussed how tennis would look without the presence of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. He emphasized that "there will not be a Big 3 again" but hopes players like Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas will shine on the ATP tour in the coming years.
Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal have dominated the sport for more than 15 years now. In the last 11 years, the Big 3 have won 34 out of a total of 43 Grand Slams, highlighting the extent of their hegemony on the ATP tour.
In a recent interview with the Gazzetta, Juan Carlos Ferrero, who is currently coaching Carlos Alcaraz, said even though tennis players are more technically complete today, the sport will never see the likes of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal in the future. He also believes that an era where three players exert this amount of dominance for such a long time will not come again.
"There won't be a new Big3, although I think tennis players today are more technically complete than before. It's hard to have three players winning that long, I don't think we'll see them again," said Ferrero in the interview (translated via Google Translate).
Ferrero also disclosed the names of players he believes could dominate the sport in the coming years. While he expects Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas to make a big impact, he feels that youngsters like Jannik Sinner, Sebastian Korda and even Carlos Alcaraz can match their level on court.
"We will see top tennis players for years, like Medvedev, Zverev or Tsitsipas, but also younger ones like Sinner or Korda. Hopefully, Carlos can reach this level as well," added the coach.
Why it will be difficult to match the legacy of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
In the history of tennis, there has never been a time when three players have been tied for 20 Grand Slams each. Interestingly, with the sole exception of Andy Murray, no one apart from the Big 3 has held the top position in the ATP rankings in the last 17 years.
One of the key reasons for the Big 3's success on tour is that they started winning Grand Slams at a young age. While Nadal won his first Major at just 19, Djokovic and Federer won their maiden Grand Slam titles at 20 and 22 years, respectively. In contrast, Next Gen players like Tsitsipas and Zverev are yet to win a Major and Medvedev did so at the age of 25.
To match the level of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal in the future, incredible consistency is required. The Big 3 have delivered top performances over and over again and have played well on every surface. In contrast, Medvedev is yet to prove himself on clay, suffering first-round exits at the French Open, and Tsitsipas and Zverev's numbers on grass don't make for good reading.
Keeping all these factors in mind, it is hard to imagine that any player can match the achievements of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. However, it will be intriguing to see which of the Big 3 ends up with the most Grand Slam titles.