Six-time Grand Slam winner Boris Becker has said that a new era of men’s tennis is already here and the top trio are set to be replaced.
In an exclusive interview with Eurosport the German former world number one said tennis fans did not have to wait for a new wave of dominance in the sport – it is already here.
For almost two decades men’s tennis has been dominated by a triumvirate of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have won 60 out of 73 Grand Slam titles - between Wimbledon in 2003 to the 2021 US Open.
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But Becker believes that the stranglehold over 82% of tennis’ biggest prizes is loosening and, speaking exclusively to Eurosport on the Eurosport Germany tennis podcast Das Gelbe vom Ball, he said:
"I think the changing of the guard has already happened. We don't have a new number one, that's still Novak Djokovic.
But Medvedev on two, Tsitsipas on three, Zverev on four - that's a changing of the guard for me.
“Something really happened. A lot has happened in the past two years and for me it is actually only a matter of time before one of these three slightly younger ones becomes number one at some point in the next year. It is possible.
It still depends on Djokovic, of course, he's the big favourite - but he's not getting any younger.
Becker coached Djokovic for three years in which the Serbian won 25 titles including six Grand Slams, but the pair chose to part ways in 2016.
Since the split, Djokovic has gone on to claim a further eight major titles and currently sits comfortably atop the world rankings.
But the three men hoping to usurp him have all made great strides in recent years.
Daniil Medvedev was the last opponent to beat Djokovic at a Grand Slam, wrenching the contest his way in straight sets.
The 25-year-old Russian enjoyed his most successful year in 2021, reaching the Australian Open final and claiming a fourth Masters win alongside the US Open win.
Despite losing earlier this week to Frances Tiafoe at the Vienna Open, Stefanos Tsitsipas sits third in the world.
The rangy Greek is yet to claim an inaugural slam but has been a mainstay of the deeper rounds for the past three years.
Completing the top four is Alexander Zverev, the second youngest player to sit in the top ten.
While only 24, his game is still developing, but with 17 career titles to his name - most of them on a hard court - he is a fierce proposition.
Djokovic remains at the top of the game as Federer, Nadal and to a certain extent Andy Murray have faded with injury and age.
Federer last won a Grand Slam in 2018 and his year has been marred with injuries.
Nadal claimed an emphatic win at Roland Garros in 2020, but inconsistencies in both body and playing form have seen him slide down the rankings.
It is unlikely that Djokovic’s crown will topple this year, but he may find his position vulnerable should he not play at the Australian Open in 2022.
The Serb has been coy about his vaccination status and with Australian authorities unlikely to allow anyone who hasn’t been double jabbed into the country, he is unlikely to travel to Melbourne.
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