Djokovic US Open 2021

Djokovic, Federer and Nadal blamed for lack of ‘authenticity’ in modern tennis

Former World number two Michael Stich has said Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are “undisputedly the best players of all time,” but misses the emotions players used to exude on court

Michael Stich thinks that the focus has shifted more towards on-court historical successes instead of the characters and personality of the players.

All three of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal boast an impressive 20 Grand Slam titles each as they battle against each other to become the most successful male player ever.

Olympic gold medallist Stich has said that he misses the days when the world’s best players were emotional, lively and entertaining.

Similarly, seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander has previously said that he would “like to see more fireworks” between Djokovic and World number two Daniil Medvedev’s budding rivalry after the two trained together ahead of the Paris Masters.

Stich told Swiss German-language newspaper Blick “at some point, it was all about tennis. Now too. It’s about historical success, less about the people.

“You don’t know who today’s top professionals really are: ‘What do I know today about Nadal, Federer, or Djokovic?’

“People rubbed against Goran (Ivanisevic). This ‘I like’, ‘I don’t like’, ‘he’s crazy’ or ‘he’s brilliant’ [way of thinking], that was lost.

“The fans want to see emotions. With Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, undisputedly the greatest tennis players of all time, I sometimes miss that.

“Personally, I miss the authenticity of the players on the pitch. What defines their character, real feelings and reactions.”

Stich goes on to reference Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis smashing four rackets at the Australian Open in 2012 as an example of this emotion.

“He lost in the first round and it was not reported about his match, only that he smashed four clubs on the pitch.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.