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Nadal’s US Open fuels the “Big 3”

Nadal’s US Open fuels the “Big 3”

“I’ll see you next year,” said Rafael Nadal after winning a fourth US Open, which makes one thing clear: his time is not yet over, and neither is that of the “Big 3”.

Nadal, two in the world at 33 years old, beat the young Daniil Medvedev, 23 and a member of the new generation of tennis players who hopes to receive the witness of the three tennis bosses: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, in addition to the Mallorcan.

“I hope to play for many more years,” said ‘Nole’ after leaving the tournament due to injury. “I’ll be back,” Federer said after being eliminated.

The “Big 3” has dominated like no other generation of tennis, whether in the 1960s with Roy Emerson, who set the Grand Slams record at 12, or the era dominated in the 1990s by Americans Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, whose 14 older titles became the new standard.

Together, Nadal, Djokovic and Federer have won 55 of the last 66 major singles titles, with 11 in a row, including Sunday’s US Open, which was left to Nadal in an epic five-set battle that narrowly escapes him. hands.

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Nadal has 12 Roland Garros, Federer has eight Wimbledon and six Australian Opens. Djokovic has seven Australian and five English titles.

Since Federer won his first Slam, which founded the new era, at Wimbledon in 2003, only five grand finals have been played without the participation of the Swiss, Serbian or Spanish.

“These three guys are legends, the way they play tennis is incredible, when you’re out there, tactically, it’s harder than with any other player,” said Medvedev, the first Russian to reach the US Open final since Marat Safin won in 2005 and had a fantastic summer season in America.

He reached the final with a 12-match win streak.

– «We are still here» –
There are stars in the making, now led by Medvedev, who occupies the fourth position in the world ranking, or the Austrian Dominic Thiem, 25, who lost the last two Roland Garros finals. There is the German Alexander Zverev (22) and the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (21) are also climbing towards the top.

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But the wall erected at number three has been difficult to break down.

“All of us are struggling to try to make this transition” to the new generation of tennis players, Medvedev said after the loss. “It was very difficult for these guys who play tennis too well, amazing. It is very difficult to beat them, until you get a set, winning every game is hard. We are doing our best to make it happen one day.

Nadal said the transition to the new age of tennis players is “long under way”. “What happens is that we too are still here, that’s all. We are still here, we continue to fight for the things that excite us, and tennis and physique for the moment, and the head, respond to us … that’s why we are still here ».

And the US Open that Nadal, thanks in large part to the mental strength that experience gives him, scored on Sunday is proof that the leadership step will take some time.

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The women’s transition appears to be in a faster gear, with each loss to veteran Serena Williams, this time by 19-year-old Andrea Andreescu.

“I hope I can play for many more years … I don’t see the end of my career just around the corner, now it’s a matter of keeping my body and mind fit,” said Djokovic, 32, while Federer, 38 He said he does not have a “crystal ball” but hopes to continue competing.

Nadal is one of Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slams, followed by Djokovic with 16: in the end only the three of them can beat those figures … for now at least.

“I have always said that I would like to be the one who wins the most, but I am not thinking about that when I train, when I am not playing. I play tennis because I love to play tennis and I can’t just think of Grand Slams because tennis is more than Grand Slams, “said Nadal.

“I play because it makes me happy, today’s victory makes me happy … I am honored to be part of this battle.” AFP

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