Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2023

Novak Djokovic has his say on the potential ‘next big three’

Novak Djokovic is gearing up for his comeback to the ATP tour in Monte Carlo, and he has been speaking about a crop of up and coming players including Carlos Alcaraz.

Djokovic has not played since his semi-final loss in Dubai to Daniil Medvedev, with his vaccination status not allowing him to gain entry into the US for the sunshine double.

The current Australian Open and Wimbledon champion did temporarily lose his spot at the top of the rankings, after Alcaraz won Indian Wells, but is back in poll position once again.

When asked about Alcaraz’s success, Djokovic replied, “It’s amazing for our sport to have a champion like him.”

Djokovic continued, “And he’s so young… It’s also refreshing to have another great rivalry that excites people, the one between him and Jannik Sinner. We have seen exciting matches between them at Indian Wells and Miami. I’m sure these two guys, as well as Holger Rune, will be the leaders. They might be the next big three (smiling).”

While it appears that Djokovic was poking fun at the idea of being replaced, the Serb was referring to the dominance of himself, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer over the past 20 years.

The original ‘big three’s’ stranglehold over their competition has been showcased at the Grand Slam tournaments, to which they have won 60 of the last 74.

Novak Djokovic head-to-head with the ‘next big three’

The three players that Djokovic mentioned, Alcaraz, Sinner and Rune have all played the Serb before, with two of them picking up wins over the 22-time major champion.

Novak Djokovic vs Carlos Alcaraz: 0-1

Last meeting (2022) – Alcaraz beat Djokovic, 6(5)-7 7-5 7-6(5) (Madrid Open Semi-final)

Novak Djokovic vs Jannik Sinner: 2-0

Last meeting (2022) – Djokovic beat Sinner, 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 (Wimbledon Quarter-final)

Novak Djokovic vs Holger Rune: 1-1

Last meeting (2022) – Rune beat Djokovic, 3-6 6-3 7-5 (Paris Masters final)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.