‘There’s no bigger Roger Federer fan than me, but…’, says ATP legend

Thanks to his amazing 2021, Novak Djokovic has closed the gap that separated him from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time Grand Slam ranking. The number 1 in the world won the first three majors of the season, also reaching the final at the US Open last September. Tension and fatigue prevented him from completing the work, giving due credit to a Daniil Medvedev in a state of grace. Had he triumphed in New York, the Serbian phenomenon would have become the second man in the Open Era after Rod Laver to win all four Grand Slams in the same year. The 34-year-old from Belgrade ended the season at the top of the ATP rankings for the seventh time in his career, permanently detaching his idol Pete Sampras. Federer underwent knee surgery for the third time in the past 18 months, while Nadal was limited by a chronic foot injury. Both seem to have little chance of increasing their respective boards. Interviewed by Eurosport in recent days, Boris Becker reviewed each of the Big 3.

Becker opens up on Federer

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are all tied on 20 Grand Slam titles, with Becker suspecting his former charge will win the battle of the statistics when all three hang up their rackets for the last time. “The fact that three players have won 20 Grand Slams each is unbelievable and will never be equalled again,” Becker told Eurosport. “Numbers just don’t lie. As a tennis player, the number of weeks at No 1 is very important. Novak is simply way ahead there. If all three of them stopped playing tennis today, I would see Novak at No 1.” Becker also suggested we may have seen the last of Federer on the biggest stage, as he looks to make an unlikely comeback from a serious knee injury in 2022. “Roger has already managed a lot of things where we said that is not possible at all. That’s why I wouldn’t rule it out,” he added. “It won’t be easy, tennis is changing and getting faster. At some point it will no longer be easy. I think the two greats of tennis now have to think seriously about how long they can be called players. With Rafa it will be a bit easier than with Roger. There’s no bigger Roger fan than me, but I don’t know how easy it is to make another comeback after knee surgery at almost 41.”