Rafael Nadal: What are the prospects for the “Big Three” of tennis after their record-breaking Grand Slam victory?



CNN

There were three, but now Rafael Nadal stands alone.

In winning the Australian Open the Sunday after the year epic finale with Daniil Medvedevthe Spaniard captured his 21st Grand Slam title, one more than Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

The three had been tied for some time, but after overcoming a longstanding foot injury, Nadal is now a step above the “Big Three” of tennis members.

However, although he acknowledged his success in winning the record-breaking Grand Slam title, Nadal admitted that this does not change his view of his career or legacy.

“No, I don’t want to change my point of view, honestly. Obviously, for me, it’s great to get another grand slam right now in my career. It just means a lot to me, “she told reporters.

“I feel honored. I feel blessed to achieve another very special thing in my tennis career. I don’t really care if I’m the only one or not or the best in history, not the best in history. Honestly, today, not. I care a lot. For me, it’s about enjoying nights like today. That means everything to me, doesn’t it? It means even more reaching the second Australian Open more than anything else. ”

So, with Nadal appearing to be returning to his best tennis, with Federer continuing to struggle with injuries and questions about Djokovic’s participation in future events due to his Covid-19 vaccination status, what the future might hold for superstar of the sport?

Nadal celebrates the match point after beating Medvedev.

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have ignited tennis in recent years, giving battle on numerous occasions and giving away some famous matches.

Both Federer and Djokovic were quick to congratulate Nadal on social media after his win on Sunday.

“What a match! To my friend and great rival (Nadal), congratulations on becoming the first man to win 21 Grand Slam titles, ”Federer wrote in his Instagram stories.

“A few months ago we were joking that they were both on crutches. Amazing. Never underestimate a great champion. Your incredible work ethic, dedication and fighting spirit inspire me and countless others around the world.

“I am proud to share this era with you and honored to play a role in pushing you to achieve more, as you have done for me for the past 18 years. I’m sure you have other milestones in sight, but for now enjoy this! ”

Djokovic tweeted: “Congratulations to (Nadal) on the 21st GS. Extraordinary result. Always impressive fighting spirit that has prevailed once again. Enorabuena. (Medvedev) gave his all and played with the passion and determination we expect from him ”.

40-year-old Federer is struggling with a knee injury, which is why he was absent from the field.

world n. 1 Djokovic – arguably the favorite to win the tournament early – was expelled from Australia after losing a court appeal against the Australian government’s decision to cancel his visa for public health and order reasons.

The second Grand Slam of the year is the French Open at Roland Garros which begins on 22 May.

Nadal, now back in top form, will surely be the favorite on the clay courts in Paris, having won a record 13 French Open titles.

Djokovic’s availability for the Grand Slam in France is still in doubt as the country’s Sports Ministry he told CNN in early January that all professional athletes wishing to compete in France will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

The French vaccine approval law, passed by parliament in January, will require people to have a vaccine certificate to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and sports arenas, among others.

“The rule is simple. The vaccine pass will be required once the law enters into force in entities that were already subject to the health pass (sports or cultural). This will apply to everyone (spectators, professional sportsmen), “a spokesman for the French Ministry of Sport told CNN.

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That new legislation jeopardizes the chances of Djokovic, who has not been vaccinated against Covid-19, to compete at Roland Garros.

But Nadal and Federer are older than 34-year-old Djokovic – Nadal is 35 and Federer is 40 – which means the Serbian has time on his side to try and catch Nadal.

But with a new crop of tennis superstars blooming right now – with Medvedev at the forefront alongside Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud and Felix Auger-Aliassime among others – staying at the top has never been like this. difficult for the greatest tennis player ever.