Tsitsipas believes he challenged Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic too soon
- Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are better now than they were 5-6 years ago, believes Tsitsipas.
- The Greek also let the fans in on what makes the Big 3 special at the Grand Slams.
The trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have dominated the men's singles field for nearly two decades, accounting for 56 of the last 67 Grand Slam titles. Needless to say, it is proving to be a tall order for any of the young players to win big at the main events.
Last year Stefanos Tsitsipas won the Nitto ATP Finals, beating Roger Federer en route the title. He had also beaten Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic earlier in the season, underlining his status as the leader of the Next Gen.
After his victory in London Tsitsipas sent an emphatic message about his ambitions, remarking that he was "ready to disturb the Big 3".
Since then, however, the status quo has been restored. Novak Djokovic took home the 2020 Australian Open trophy, and he along with Rafael Nadal look like overwhelming favorites to win the next two Majors on the calendar.
In a freewheeling video chat with Tennismajors.com, Stefanos Tsitsipas admitted to French player Alize Lim that his statement from last year may have been premature. The Greek also spoke in detail about what makes the Big 3 still stand out at their age.
My challenge to the Big 3 was too soon: Stefanos Tsitsipas
"Looking back at that, it was too big of a statement to be taken seriously. I shouldn't have been looking so far so soon," Tsitsipas said, emphasizing that he now believes in taking things step-by-step.
Stefanos Tsitsipas also now realizes the importance of being grounded rather than running his mouth at every milestone. "I should be talking about this stuff less often and concentrate more on present," he added.
But while the Greek seems intent to lessen the pressure on himself, the Next Gen are going to be under more and more pressure as each Slam passes. The young guns are expected to take over from the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and the more that is delayed the more criticism they will face.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have figured out the blueprint to win Slams: Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas was quick to explain why it has been so difficult for him and the rest of his age group players to break through.
"Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are doing a great job being where they are, so committed. For sure they are very difficult to beat," Tsitsipas said.
Heaping praise on the triumvirate of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Tsitsipas added:
"They play better tennis than what they played five or six years ago. They are much more experienced than us, though physically they are not the same because of their age. We're (Next-Gen) still young for tennis standards."
Explaining how Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have achieved their lofty status at the Slams, Tsitsipas said that they have learned how to manage their game and schedule expertly.
"There is a different procedure that goes into a Grand Slam. It has to be taken very responsibly. You have to be consistent mentally and physically. You have to, in a way, renovate things at Grand Slam. You have to take care of all your weapons and strengths and use them gradually, without overdoing things from earlier rounds," Stefanos Tsitsipas said.
"That's something the Big 3 have figured out and they have been very consistent with that throughout their career. That's what makes them who they are," he added.
Stefanos Tsitsipas' words hold true as the Big 3 have continued to baffle the tennis community with their dominance, having shared the last 13 Slams between themselves. The most successful of the Big 3 - Roger Federer - stands at 20 Grand Slams right now, followed by Rafael Nadal at 19 and Novak Djokovic at 17.
If the Next Gen are to put an end to the Big 3's dominance, they'll have to take a few tips from the Big 3 themselves - because the guys at the top certainly seem to have perfected the art of winning.Published 20 Jun 2020, 13:05 IST