Tennis’ next generation still can’t compete with Djokovic

Tennis’ next generation still can’t compete with Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has won the Australian Open 2023.
Courtesy | TennisBuzz

After 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz won the US Open and became the first teenager to become world No. 1, the next generation of tennis looked set to take over for the Big Three. But Novak Djokovic, 35, has proven once again that despite his age, he is the best player in the world.

Over the past two decades, the Big Three – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – have dominated professional tennis, winning 67 of the last 75 Grand Slams. Now, as they begin to slow down and retire, fans continue to search for young tennis players to be the “next big three,” but no one has lived up to expectations.

At first, the Australian Open 2023 looked like an opportunity for the next generation to gain momentum. In the quarter-finals, Novak Djokovic was the only man over 30 still in the tournament. The youngsters had already knocked out Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, the only players other than Djokovic in the tournament with multiple Grand Slams.

Only Djokovic remained, and he entered the tournament with a hamstring tear that has troubled him in every game.

In the end, however, nothing could stop Djokovic from winning the tournament for his record 10th Australian Open title and his record 22nd Grand Slam, regaining the world No. 1 ranking.

Tennis doesn’t hurt young stars. Carlos Alcaraz, 24-year-old Casper Ruud and 26-year-old Daniil Medvedev have all won multiple titles and reached the Grand Slam final, but none of them can keep up with Djokovic.

In the past two years alone, Djokovic has a combined 97-14 record with 10 titles, including four Grand Slams in six appearances. Only Daniil Medvedev and his long-time rival Rafael Nadal managed to beat him at a Grand Slam, the others sometimes won victories in lower tournaments but lacked the stamina to beat him at the top level.

Thanks to Djokovic, fans are once again wondering when the next generation will finally take over from the Big Three. Federer retired, Nadal gets injured every week, but Djokovic won’t stop winning and dominating for a long time, even with injuries.

At this rate, Djokovic will compete for at least two or three more seasons. He may be 35, but he’s at the top of his game.

As much as tennis fans around the world would love to see Alcaraz and company carve out their own legacy, the old guard remains unwavering. The next generation keeps trying, but there are no new Big Three, only cheaper knockoffs.

Tennis is getting younger, but Djokovic is not aging.

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