Rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime recently spoke about the Big 3, explaining that if he were in the shoes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, he wouldn't quit tennis any time soon.
During his appearance on Eurosport's Echange Podcast, Auger-Aliassime was asked how the NextGen players were planning to end the Big 3's reign. In response, the Montreal-based player elaborated on the difficulty of the proposition - especially since the likes of Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic had achieved so little success while trying to topple Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
The Canadian player later marveled at how the trio were doing what they love the most, and still dominating despite being older than most players on tour.
'I don't really ask myself the question' - Auger-Aliassime on ending the reign of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Felix Auger-Aliassime had a fantastic win-loss record at the junior level, winning two US Open boys' singles titles. He then made it to his first ATP 500 level final at the 2019 Rio Open, before reaching a career-high ranking of No. 17 later in the year.
Auger-Aliassime hasn't made it past the third round of any Major yet, but he has given enough evidence that he can in the future give the top players a run for their money.
The host of the podcast, Antoine Benneteau, asked Auger-Aliassime if the Next Gen players like Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev ever felt fed up of the Big 3. The Canadian replied that he couldn't speak for the others, but that he himself looked at the task of playing the Big 3 as a 'nice challenge'.
"I don't know how they experience it, but I don't really ask myself the question," Auger-Aliassime said. "It's rather a nice challenge...I think of the Nishikoris, of the Raonics, guys who play very well but, every time, they hit each other in the semi or in the final of these Grand Slams, guys like that. Frankly, it isn't easy. And above all, year after year."
Auger-Aliassime then recalled his match against Rafael Nadal, which took place in Madrid last year. The Canadian lost in straight sets, and in the podcast he mentioned how 'different' it was playing someone of the level of Nadal (or Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic) as compared to the rest of the field.
"I played Rafa once," Auger-Aliassime said. "There is pressure by the prize money they have, by the characters they are. On the other hand, there is not yet this scar of having lost several times against them, that we have seen them beat us several times. So it's a little different. The feeling is a little different."
Big 3 will play until they want to play: Felix Auger-Aliassime
Roger Federer is 39, Rafael Nadal is 34, and Novak Djokovic is 33. In the previous era, the top tennis players would call it a day before hitting their mid-30s, but the Big 3 have continued their dominance despite getting close to 40.
Felix Auger-Aliassime weighed in on this remarkable achievement and said:
"For me, frankly, they will play until they want to play obviously. I put myself in their shoes. If I win again at this age, I will continue to play. You take joy; you love what you do and what's more, you win. Why stop?"
Auger-Aliasamme signed off by saying that it would be great if he ever got an opportunity to play against Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic before they quit the sport.Published 28 Aug 2020, 21:50 IST