What's next for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic?
It's been almost a three weeks since the conclusion of the Australian Open 2019. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, often called the 'Big 3' of tennis, had contrasting fortunes at that tournament; Djokovic thrashed Nadal in the final, while Federer bowed out in the fourth round.
That said, the Australian Open results mean that the Big 3 are now the three most successful men's players in the history of Grand Slam tennis. Federer has 20 Majors, Nadal has 17 and Djokovic has overtaken Pete Sampras' mark of 14 to now occupy sole third place with 15.
Now that we are done with the excitement of the year's first Major, where are the Big 3 headed next?
Federer and Nadal will return to action in the week starting February 25th, in two different ATP 500 hardcourt tournaments. Federer will play in Dubai, while Nadal in Acapulco, Mexico.
The Swiss will be looking for a strong return to action after suffering a shock defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Melbourne. He couldn't have chosen a better place to do that then Dubai, where he's been very successful in the past (having won the tournament seven times) and where he even has a home.
Federer fans would be hoping that the fourth round tie against Tsitsipas was just a one-off, and that he can get back to his brilliant best soon.
For Nadal, meanwhile, Acapulco turning from a claycourt tournament to a hardcourt one wasn't particularly fortunate. The Spaniard played Acapulco twice when it was held on clay, and won the title both times (in 2005 and 2013). And while he did reach the final the only time he played it on hard, in 2017, he unexpectedly lost to Sam Querrey in the summit clash.
Djokovic, meanwhile, will take longer to return than the other two. He will next play directly at Indian Wells, the first ATP Masters 1000 of the year, where he has won five titles in the past.
The Serb has practically no ranking points to defend until Wimbledon, and the fact that he lost in the opening round of both Indian Wells and Miami last year means he can earn a huge amount of points this year. He already has a healthy lead at the World No. 1 position, and he is poised to increase the gap even further over the next few months.