Stefanos Tsitsipas is not bothered if he is deemed not to be a member new ‘Big Three’ but John McEnroe insists that Novak Djokovic remains light years ahead of the chasing pack.
Tsitsipas beat Sebastian Baez in four sets on Thursday to progress to the third round where he will face Benoit Paire on Saturday.
The Greek star has reached the semi-final twice at Melbourne Park (2019, 2021) and the final of the French Open in 2021. However, his name has generally been absent from the discussion surrounding a new ‘Big Three’ following the recent – varying – travails of the incumbent members, Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal.
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Djokovic remains at the pinnacle of the men's but Alexander Zverev, winner of the Olympic title and the Tour finals last year, and US Open winner Daniil Medvedev have usurped Federer and Nadal consensus suggests.
However, Tsitsipas says that it doesn’t make a difference to him, calling the concept a cliche and adding that actually winning big titles is all that matters to him.
“It doesn't really make a difference [whether I am included in a top three],” began Tsitsipas after he was teleported into the Eurosport Cube for a conversation with Mats Wilander and Alize Lim.
“I show up at work every single day and do what I have to do and aim for those big titles - and aim for the glory, which I love.
“That is one of the reasons I'm playing the game. The rest will come.
“I don't really think about it and I feel like it could be more than a top three in the next few years.
“This Top Three cliche has been part of tennis for many years now. I think we're building more than a top three – there could be five or six different big influences on the sport.”
However, McEnroe, working as an analyst for Eurosport, insists that Djokovic remains light years ahead of the rest of the tour, adding that the notion that Federer and Nadal are not at the top of the game remain premature.
He did, however, add that the men’s side of the game is as open as he has seen it for nearly 15 years.
“For me, tennis is more wide open for the men than I've seen it in 15 years. Djokovic is light years ahead of everyone and Nadal, too," McEnroe said.
“Those two are in a league of their own until Roger decides what he is going to do.”
The seven-time major winner added that the door is ajar for a player to emerge as a multiple Grand Slam winner, and looked beyond Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Zverev, highlighting Jannik Sinner as a player who could emerge as a contender in the next 12 to 18 months.
“But now you have these other guys. The door is open,” he added.
“Let's see if Medvedev really becomes a guy who wins multiple majors. And Zverev is talking big and playing big.
"There are opportunities for eight other guys. I think you're going to be surprised about one or two guys in the next 12 to 18 months.
“Like Jannik Sinner, potentially, I think he's going to win majors. I don't know if it's going to be in the next year or two.”
Medvedev beat Nick Kyrgios in four sets on Thursday to set up a showdown with Botic van de Zandschulp in round three. While Alex Zverev meets Radu Albot on Friday and Jannik Sinner faces Taro Daniel, who beat Andy Murray in straight sets.
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