Daniil Medvedev US Open 2021

Daniil Medvedev calls old generations ‘worse’ than Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

World number two Daniil Medvedev has claimed the generations before the ‘Big Three’ were “worse than” Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and feels confident in the next generation.

Following his ATP Finals final defeat to Alexander Zverev, Medvedev mentioned the cyclical nature of tennis and how spectators are often sceptical over the next crop of players.

Djokovic, 34, Federer, 40, and Nadal, 35, boast an astonishing combined total of 60 Grand Slam titles between them and have dominated the sport for the past 20 years.

Although it was 25-year-old Medvedev who crushed Djokovic’s dreams of a Calendar Slam at the US Open and 24-year-old Zverev who ended his hopes of a Golden Slam at the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Just two of the current ATP top ten are over the age of 30 in Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The rest of the ATP top ten are all under the age of 25, with US Open champion Medvedev leading the pack. This year, the average age of the ATP top ten was 25.6 years old, the youngest since 2009 which was 25.

Following his defeat to Zverev, Medvedev told reporters in a press conference that it will not be shameful if the next generation win less than the Big Three, as the previous generation before them also won less.

Medvedev said “when there was [Bjorn] Borg and [John] McEnroe, when they were close, finished their careers, everybody was like, ‘tennis is over, we won’t ever have any great players, it’s finished’.

“[Then] we did have some. [Pete] Sampras, [Andre] Agassi, they were at the top. [When] Sampras retired, [people were thinking once again] ‘Okay, tennis is over.’”

“Then we had Novak [Djokovic], Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal]. If you asked just before they came, everybody would say, ‘Well, tennis will not be interesting anymore.’

“It’s the same here. Tennis is a great sport, so I don’t see why our generation would miss [out] on something.

“Of course, maybe we don’t [win] 20 Grand Slams [each], yet nobody [else] did before Roger, Rafa and Novak, so they were also worse than them… It’s definitely not going to be a shame [if we win less].”

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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.