Big four in tennis still the ones to beat, says Djokovic

World number one Novak Djokovic said this week that tennis’s “big four” — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and himself — were still the favourites to win Grand Slam titles in 2019.

Despite a combination of age, injury and the long-held prediction of a new generation of stars about to burst through, Djokovic insisted the four veterans remained the players to beat.

“I think if we are healthy and playing well, the four guys still have probably the best chance to always win slams,” said Djokovic in Doha before playing in his season opener, the Qatar Open.

Djokovic is the favourite to dominate in 2019, having finished last season so strongly, overcoming an injury-hit start to the year to claim the Wimbledon and US Open titles.

The 31-year-old also rose from world number 22 to number one, becoming the oldest player ever to finish the year as the highest-ranked player in the world.


His rivals, especially Nadal and Murray, are still battling to get back to full fitness, increasing the chances that the Serbian could add to his 14 Grand Slam titles.

One more major win and he will overtake Pete Sampras to become third on the all-time list of Grand Slam winners. Only Federer (20) and Nadal (17) have more.

Since and including 2010, the big four have won 32 Grand Slams between them. Djokovic tops that list: 13 of his titles were attained in the current decade.

Djokovic insisted, though, that “the next generation is already there” and singled out Germany’s world number four Alexander Zverev, Croatia’s Borna Coric, the world number 12, and Greece’s number 15 Stefano Tsitsipas as the main threats, saying: “It’s a matter of time when we will see some of them competing in the last stages of Grand Slams.”

Another of those who might challenge the usual suspects is Austria’s Dominic Thiem. The world number eight admitted it was time for the next generation to step up.

“All the guys who won slams in previous years are on tour, so it will be very tough,” Thiem said.

“Yes, there are four chances for us … and we are very pumped to take one Grand Slam and maybe it is going to happen this year.” — AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

‘No-vax’ Djokovic against compulsory coronavirus vaccination

The Serbian tennis ace, who is in lockdown in Spain, spoke out against being forced to receive a vaccination in order to travel to tournaments

Aussie Open may herald new era

“The young guns are missing a bit of guts. A bit of balls. A bit of ‘Okay, I’m here and I want...

Nadal wins 19th Slam title by edging five-set US Open thriller

At four hours and 50 minutes, the match finished four minutes short of equaling the longest final in US Open history

Nick Kyrgios can play, he just doesn’t want to

The Australian has outrageous talent with a racquet, although his tongue and antics steal the show more often than his talent

‘Stars align’ as Federer seeks to break Djokovic spell in Wimbledon final

Whoever emerges as champion on Sunday, it will yet again confirm the dominance of the 'Big Three' of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal

A walkabout at Wimbledon

Poorer fans watch screens on Murray Mount and the posh mingle with stars in Rosewater Pavilion
Advertising

Subscribers only

FNB dragged into bribery claims

Allegations of bribery against the bank’s chief executive, Jacques Celliers, thrown up in a separate court case

Dozens of birds and bats perish in extreme heat in...

In a single day, temperatures in northern KwaZulu-Natal climbed to a lethal 45°C, causing a mass die-off of birds and bats

More top stories

Construction sites are a ‘death trap’

Four children died at Pretoria sites in just two weeks, but companies deny they’re to blame

Why the Big Fish escape the justice net

The small fish get caught. Jails are used to control the poor and disorderly and deflect attention from the crimes of the rich and powerful.

Koko claims bias before Zondo commission

In a lawyer’s letter, the former Eskom chief executive says the commission is not being fair to him

Matrics to rewrite two leaked exam papers

The maths and physical science question papers will be rewritten on 15 and 17 December to protect the credibility of the national senior certificate
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…