Roger Federer’s verdict on whether record haul of 20 Grand Slam titles can be beat

Roger Federer to miss US Open and undergo knee surgery

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Roger Federer has opened up on his expectations for the next era of tennis when he and his fellow Big Three rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic retire. While many believe the end of their dominance will spark a new trend on the men’s side with more players able to win Grand Slams, the world No 9 believes there will be a new era of dominance from the next generation and even thinks someone will surpass the Big Three’s current record of 20 Major titles each.

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are all nearing the latter stages of their careers but have continued to hold a monopoly at the top level of the game, winning 49 of the last 63 Grand Slams dating back to the beginning of 2006.

The changing of the guard has started to slowly gain momentum, with the likes of Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev able to capture their maiden Grand Slam titles at the last two US Open tournaments.

Much of the top ten is also now made up of the young stars vying for a place at the top, with Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev also reaching the upper echelons of the game alongside Thiem and Medvedev.

With a strong crop of younger players knocking on the door of the Big Three’s achievements, many believe the ATP Tour will become more like its WTA counterpart when the 20-time Grand Slam champions decide to retire, with more players winning fewer Major titles each.

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Federer and Nadal are also facing their own respective injury woes at the moment, with the Swiss star recently undergoing his third knee surgery in under two years, forcing him out of tennis for “many months”.

Meanwhile, world No 6 Nadal shut down his season ahead of the US Open to take more time recovering from an ongoing left foot injury, and recent underwent a “medical procedure”.

In what are the last few years of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic’s dominance, with the former having recently turned 40 and the latter two in their mid-30s, Federer believes there could still be a similar monopoly at the top of the game when he and his counterparts eventually retire.

“I think yes. I feel like nowadays – and this is not to take anything away from Rafa, Novak or myself, for that matter – but, you know, I feel like it’s easier to dominate through the different surfaces nowadays,” he told GQ, when asked whether fans would see another era of champions.

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“Back in the day, yes, we did have three grass-court [Grand Slam] events, but maybe the margins were slimmer.”

The former world No 1 also thought a new focus on chasing records would help a new player surpass the current record for all-time Major titles won by a male singles player.

He continued “I feel like there were hard-court players, clay-court players and there weren’t so many players who could play on all surfaces.

“Sure, [Bjorn] Borg did it, but things were different. Players weren’t chasing one Slam after another like they are today and record after record.

“Nowadays such a strategy is much more part of your career. So, yes, a new, incredible player will, I believe, break our run of 20 Grand Slams eventually – but not overnight!”

The 40-year-old also commended Djokovic for an “phenomenal” season, after the world No 1 came within one match of winning the Calendar Grand Slam and a record 21st Major title at the US Open.

“I think his year again has been phenomenal. And it’s going to be very interesting to see, for all three of us, how our careers continue,” he said.

“I mean, it’s amazing, to be honest, that all three of us are at 20 Grand Slams. Wow. When I was coming up the record was 12 and ‘Pistol’ [Pete Sampras] got to it, you know, and went up to 14. Then I passed him in 2009, making it 15.”

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