The famed Big-3- Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer have been dominating the circuit for the past two decades, in what would arguably be regarded as the ‘Golden era of tennis.’ But with injury concerns in the latter stages of their career and age catching up, it’s been a while since the trio displayed the sheer domination they had on the court during their prime.
Due to his anti-vax stance, Djokovic couldn’t compete at the 2022 Australian Open, and now Rafael Nadal’s preparation for the French Open has been hampered by his latest injury setback. The Spaniard was ruled out for six weeks after he suffered a rib injury at the 2022 Indian Wells. Whereas, Federer’s coach Severin Luthi already gave a grim admission saying the Swiss Maestro’s return at the Wimbledon is highly unlikely.
As many tennis fans await their return, tennis legend Mats Wilander also proclaimed that he would like to see the Big-3 play again, even if it is just for one tournament. The 7-time Grand Slam champion remarked it would be the ‘greatest tournament of all time,’ if it does happen.
“Now that probably Nadal is not going to have the perfect preparation, Djokovic suddenly becomes the favourite. Even if it’s only for one tournament: I would like to see all three of them play again at the same time. It will be the greatest tennis tournament of all time,” said Wilander, as quoted by Welovetennis.
2021 French Open- The last time the Big-3 competed at a Grand Slam
The last time the Big-3 competed at a tournament was during the 2021 Roland Garros. Djokovic lifted his second title at the French Open by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the finals. The Serb defeated the ‘King of Clay’ in the semi-finals. As for Federer, he had to withdraw from his fourth-round clash with a knee injury. The Swiss maestro then competed at Wimbledon, only to be sidelined again and is yet to play a match since then. Whereas, Nadal had his own share of injury concerns and skipped the second half of the 2021 season with a foot injury. The Spaniard has made a stunning comeback to tour since then, clinching a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
Djokovic and Nadal are all set to compete at the French Open this year, but the US Open will most likely be the tournament where the Big-3 might play. However, with Federer nearing the twilight of his career, it will be hard to predict when fans could witness the Big 3 competing together at the top level again.