Rafael Nadal


Federer retired from the sport in September, marking an end of an era. But Djokovic has once reminded fans that while Big Three era is done, there is still the rivalry between him and Nadal.

The era of the Big Three is considered the greatest ever period in men’s tennis with the trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, winning over 60 of the last 72 Grand Slam events played. Federer however retired from the sport in September, marking an end of an era. But Djokovic has once reminded fans that while Big Three era is done, there is still the rivalry between him and Nadal.

Federer drew curtains on his illustrious 24-year-long career at the Laver Cup in London. It was his first tennis event after 14-month hiatus owing to knee injury. Nadal and Djokovic were both part of the event and the Spaniard had played his a doubles alongside the Swiss in Federer’s last match.

The retirement led to many believing that it was the start of the end of the Big Three era amid the rise of young guns like Carlos Alcaraz, who claimed a US Open title win that same month. But Djokovic shut the claims with an epic statement on Nadal.

“I live in a very special moment of tennis history, maybe the greatest, and I feel incredibly honoured to be in a situation to write the history of our sport,” the 21-time Grand Slam champion told the RMC podcast.

When asked about the significance of Federer’s retirement, Djokovic said that “a big rivalry was still running” between him and Nadal. “The moment hasn’t come, either for him or for me,” he added.

No two players in ATP history, in Open Era, has faced each other more number of times than Nadal and Djokovic. Their last meeting was in French Open quarterfinal where the Spaniard had won in four sets to avenge his 2021 defeat to the Serb in Roland Garros.

‘One of the Biggest Wishes’ – Novak Djokovic Desires to Have a ‘Roger Federer-Like’ Farewell Once He Hangs Up His Boots

In an exclusive interview, the 21-time Grand Slam winner, Novak Djokovic, revealed the ideal manner in which he wants to retire from tennis. The Nole claimed that the time to retire hadn’t arrived for him or his on-court rival, Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic felt honored to be a part of Roger Federer’s farewell at this year Laver Cup. Djokovic joined his fellow rival, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, to give an unforgettable farewell to the Swiss Maestro. Now, he wished for a similar farewell when he decides to step away from the sport.

Novak Djokovic wants a farewell just like that of Roger Federer’s
Although Djokovic isn’t planning to retire anytime soon, he wants a farewell surrounded by friends and rival, just like the one enjoyed by Roger Federer at the 2022 Laver Cup. Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were present on the court when Federer’s 24-year-long career came to an end.

The Swiss Maestro had taken a 14-month break before returning for his final match. He teamed up with his biggest rival, Rafael Nadal, to play doubles, before sitting on Team Europe’s bench to support the other members of the squad, including the Serb.

On social media, pictures of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal crying while watching the Laver Cup went viral. The retirement of Roger Federer appears to have served as an inspiration for the Serbian. He now wants to enjoy a similar experience at his retirement match.

“His footprint, his legacy, his mark that he left behind is going to live forever…he has not only achieved so much on the court but he has inspired so many young players to take a racquet in their hand.”

– @DjokerNole on his friend and rival @rogerfederer pic.twitter.com/Fa96fwJJ9f

— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) November 3, 2022

In an interview with the Tennis Channel, he said, “I was very honored to be there (2022 Laver Cup ) and um, we were all emotional of course. Because I think you know the intensity of the rivalries is so high that you don’t have….time to reflect on maybe some larger things..”

The Nole further added, “But uh one thing is for sure I would love to have the greatest Rivals that I had particularly Roger, Rafa, and Andy there, you know, whenever that happens. I would love to have them there. That’s one of the biggest wishes.”

NOVAK DJOKOVIC has surpassed Roger Federer’s Grand Slam total, and he is now chasing down his career titles haul.

Novak Djokovic has been backed in the debate over the greatest tennis player of all time after a former opponent said the Serbian was the closest he’s seen to ‘perfection’. In September, Roger Federer bowed out of the sport in emotional scenes at the Laver Cup, with many pundits and fans dubbing him the best to have ever picked up a racquet.

However, in 2022 the Swiss maestro’s previous record total of 20 Grand Slam titles has been surpassed by both Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. It was the Spaniard who won the first two major titles on the year, capturing the Australian and French Open before injury at Wimbledon scuppered his hopes of a calendar Slam.

That moved him clear on 22, with Djokovic notching his 21st at SW19. However, having already missed the tournament down under over his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid, the 35-year-old also missed out on the season-ending US Open for the same reason.

He is also closing in on Federer’s total of 103 career titles, having won 90 himself with years left ahead of him still. And now Slovenian player Aljaz Bedene, who last year reached the third round at Wimbledon, has backed Djokovic to surpass all records before he retires.

“If we analyse the results and the statistics, the GOAT is without a doubt Novak Djokovic,” he told Sport Klub. “I am convinced that the Serb will end up with the most Slams once all three have retired. He will also hold the Masters 1000 record and could break Jimmy Connors’ record for titles.

Bedene also brought Nadal into the debate, with the 33-year-old having taken on all three of the iconic players during his professional career: “I have faced all three many times and Djokovic is the closest to perfection,” he added.

Roger Federer: ‘I beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – great year’

The 20-time Major winner Roger Federer turned 38 in August 2019 and was still the third-strongest link on the Tour behind Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Despite his age, Federer was a contender for big titles in 2019, securing four crowns and standing a point away from a Major trophy at Wimbledon.

Roger was eager to keep that pace in 2020 and fight for more Major titles, which never happened following his knee issues. The Swiss kicked off 2019 with the Hopman Cup crown alongside Belinda Bencic before experiencing an early Australian Open loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Federer bounced back with titles in Dubai and Miami and the Indian Wells final, feeling well on the court and embracing the clay swing for the first time in three years.

Roger Federer had a great run in 2019 and finished in the top-3 for the last time.
Roger reached the Roland Garros semi-final for the first time in years, facing his old rival Rafael Nadal and suffering a straight-sets loss.

The 20-time Major winner Roger Federer turned 38 in August 2019 and was still the third-strongest link on the Tour behind Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Despite his age, Federer was a contender for big titles in 2019, securing four crowns and standing a point away from a Major trophy at Wimbledon.

Roger was eager to keep that pace in 2020 and fight for more Major titles, which never happened following his knee issues. The Swiss kicked off 2019 with the Hopman Cup crown alongside Belinda Bencic before experiencing an early Australian Open loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Federer bounced back with titles in Dubai and Miami and the Indian Wells final, feeling well on the court and embracing the clay swing for the first time in three years.

Roger Federer had a great run in 2019 and finished in the top-3 for the last time.
Roger reached the Roland Garros semi-final for the first time in years, facing his old rival Rafael Nadal and suffering a straight-sets loss.

As the end of the ATP season approaches, the men’s tour will soon unveil their nominees for their yearly awards. In the past, the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have won Comeback player of the year while current world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz was last year’s most improved. And this year could see Nick Kyrgios recognised for his impressive season while Rafael Nadal could end Federer’s 19-year run as the fan’s favourite.

Every year the ATP pulls together players who have made the most impact on the tour that season, allowing their colleagues to vote in categories including the most improved and the sportsmanship award. With just two full tournaments left in the tour’s calendar, Express Sport is predicting who will be awarded and nominated in the key categories for 2022.

Comeback player of the year – “The player who has overcome serious injury in re-establishing himself as one of the top players on the ATP Tour.”
Borna Coric looks set to take home the crown this year after returning from a year on the sidelines following shoulder surgery in 2021. In August he upset Nadal in the second round of the Cincinnati, going on to win his maiden Masters 1000 title at the end of the week by beating the likes of Felix Auger-Aliassime, Cameron Norrie and Stefanos Tsitsipas, and rose from world No 152 to No 29 as a result.

But he could have some competition – Dominic Thiem is likely to be nominated following his comeback from a wrist injury and if Nadal’s season is counted as a comeback after he stopped playing after Washington in 2021 to recover his ongoing foot injury then the Spaniard will be a heavy favourite after he won his first 20 matches of the season, spanning titles in Melbourne, the Australian Open and Acapulco. The Aussie Open made him the first man in history to win a 21st Major and he extended his record to 22 at the French Open

Most improved player of the year – “The player who reached a significantly higher FedEx ATP Ranking by year’s end and who demonstrated an increasingly improved level of performance through the year.”
This category looks set to be stacked in 2022, and the ATP could well decide to extend the list of nominees. Kyrgios could find himself awarded after dropping outside of the world’s top 100 this year before reaching his maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon. He then won his seventh title in Washington and now sits at No 20 in the world – and he never earned the ranking points from his Wimbledon run after the ATP removed them as a response to the tournament’s ban on Russians.

Frances Tiafoe also appears to be a contender after his incredible US Open run where he beat Nadal and reached his first Grand Slam semi-final, making his top 20 debut as a result. The American then went on to seal Team World their maiden Laver Cup victory before reaching the Tokyo final. Fellow American Taylor Fritz could also be nominated after he won his maiden Masters title in Indian Wells, also picking up trophies in Eastbourne and Tokyo, earned his best Grand Slam result in the Wimbledon quarter-final and made his top 10 debut.

Felix Auger-Aliassime broke his streak of losing finals to win three titles this year, made his top 10 debut and looks set to qualify for the ATP Finals for the first time. Maxime Cressy and Francisco Cerundolo also saw their rankings make huge jumps, with the American starting the year at world No 112 and making the Melbourne final as a qualifier. He then won the title in Newport and reached a career-high of No 31 while Cerundolo went from No 127 to No 24 and won the Bastad title.

Newcomer of the year – “The #NextGenATP player who broke into the Top 100 for the first time in 2022 and made the biggest impact on the ATP Tour this season.”
Holger Rune is in prime position to be voted this year’s newcomer, having started the season ranked down at No 103 and now sitting at his career-high of world No 25. Born just one week before Alcaraz, the Dane has also won two titles this year and beat Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the finals to do so.

Meanwhile, Britain may have found its heir to Andy Murray’s throne as Jack Draper is another big contender. The 20-year-old will make his Next Gen Finals debut in Milan next month after a breakout season that has seen him go from world No 265 to No 45, winning four Challenger titles and reaching his maiden ATP Tour semi-final, also making the quarters at the Montreal Masters.

‘Second Service’ tennis news: Serena Williams insists she’s not retired, Nadal to play in Paris and Turin

Looking back on the big tennis news in our exclusive ‘Second Service’… Serena Williams not ruling out a return to tennis, as Nadal’s coach confirms that Rafa will play in Turin and Paris, and more.

To start this tennis news roundup, Serena Williams has dropped further hints that she may return to professional tennis despite turning 41 last month.

While she had written an essay describing herself as ‘evolving away from tennis’ the racket is not well and truly hung up according to Williams.

“The chances (of a return) are very high,” she said at a conference promoting her investment company, Serena Ventures. “You can come to my house, I have a court.

“I am not retired.”

In other tennis news, Rafael Nadal will return to play the Paris Masters and ATP Finals according to his coach Carlos Moya.

The 22-time Slam champion has only played Laver Cup doubles since exiting in the fourth round of the US Open in early September. While doubt surrounded Nadal as to whether he would continue in 2022, Moya suggested his compatriot has been training well for a comeback

“Before arriving in Turin, you have to play matches in Paris, which are similar,” Moya told Balearic television station IB3.

Furthermore, Simona Halep would never to her own knowledge take a banned substance according to her former coach Darren Cahill.

The Australian said so in support of his former charge as the two-time Slam champion received a provisional suspension after testing positive for Roxadustat at the US Open. Halep is adamant that she would never cheat to gain an advantage, and Cahill agrees.

“Even though I’m no longer working with Simona, I’d like to speak clearly to the person I know and the athlete that I worked with for 6 years,” Cahill begins a caption on his Instagram. “Firstly, and most importantly, there is NO chance Simona knowingly or purposely took any substance on the banned list. None. Zero.”

To conclude, Novak Djokovic will compete for a record-extending seventh Paris Masters title ahead of the season-ending Finals in Turin. his coach Goran Ivanisevic suggested the question remained as to whether he would play in Paris. Now the man himself has answered that question.

“I’m going to Paris,” he told Sportal. “I am preparing for the last two tournaments of the year, the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals. I feel good.

“These last two competitions, in Astana and Tel Aviv, and the titles won have raised my level of confidence as well as my motivation.”

Rafael Nadal's 2022 was nothing short of extraordinary. The Spanish champion rose to the headlines for returning after an injury and immediately winning in Australia, with one of the greatest Comebacks of his career. In 2022 Nadal won the Australian Open and Roland Garros and in Paris he took a great revenge against his long-time rival Novak Djokovic, who was defeated first in the final and passed in the Grand Slam race.

Rafa took advantage of the problems of the Balkan tennis player for his choice not to carry out the vaccine for Covid 19 and overcame him in the Grand Slam race (and also the GOAT race). Currently Nadal is the tennis player with the most Grand Slam titles ever, or 22, ahead of Novak Djokovic's 21 to Roger Federer's 20.

These three players have made the history of this sport and, year after year, have achieved several incredible records. Not just tennis for Rafael Nadal, who, in this 2022, a few weeks ago, has finally become a father. A few days ago the Majorcan tennis player greeted his followers with the first message after the fatherhood: "Hello everyone.

After a few days and many loving messages I just wanted to thank you all. We are very happy and we are all fine. A hug."

Rafael Nadal, new record for the ranking
During his career, at least compared to his two great rivals, Rafael Nadal has rarely kept the first place in the ranking, often the prerogative of Roger first and then Nole.

Nadal was close to first place this year, but faded (for now) by a few points with number one becoming Spanish baby prodigy Carlos Alcaraz. On Monday Rafael Nadal reached 672 weeks in his career in the Top 3, reaching Novak Djokovic in second place.

At the top of this ranking is Roger Federer, with 750 weeks in the Top 3 of the world circuit. Yet another record that sees the Big Three as protagonists in absolute domination.

Here is the ranking of tennis players with the most weeks in the world Top 3:
Roger Federer 750 weeks
Novak Djokovic 672 weeks
Rafael Nadal 672 weeks
592 Jimmy Connors
499 Ivan Lendl

Nadal, Djokovic and co to battle for biggest prize money in tennis history at ATP Finals
The likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic can pocket the biggest prize money cheque in tennis history at the upcoming ATP Finals.

The ATP Finals has confirmed a record-breaking prize pot for the season-ending championships this year. Five players have already qualified for the prestigious tournament including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and they will now be battling it out for the biggest winner’s cheque in tennis history as well as 1,500 ranking points and the trophy.

The winner of the ATP Finals is set to receive the biggest monetary prize in the history of tennis after the tournament announced the money on offer for each win at the year-end tournament. If a player wins the tournament without losing a match across the week they will pocket £4,230,030 ($4,740,300) – smashing the record amount of £3.9m ($4.2m) prize money Ash Barty received for winning the 2019 WTA Finals Shenzhen with one round robin loss during the week.

An undefeated doubles pairing will also receive a record winner’s cheque of £830,159 ($930,300). The total prize purse on offer at this year’s top-eight tournament in Turin is also a record at £13.16m ($14.75m), with even the alternates who don’t play a match in the singles taking home £134,000 ($150,000)

It comes after the 2019 edition of the WTA Finals broke the record for biggest total prize pot of £12.5m ($14m). That year, an undefeated champion would have taken home £4,216,377 ($4,725,000) but Barty received less for losing one of her matches during the round robin stage in the week.

She defeated Elina Svitolina in the final who went 3-0 in her round robin matches and would have won the maximum prize had she beaten Barty for the title, but the Aussie’s winner cheque still managed to break the record. Nadal, Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas are currently in the running to receive the record prize money as the first five men to qualify for the tournament.

The eight players who have earned the most points in 2022 qualify for the season-ending championships, but this year Djokovic has qualified despite currently being 10th in the race as the ATP has a rule allowing a Grand Slam champion from that season to receive a spot in the tournament if they come in the top 20 of the race.

Alexander Zverev is the defending champion but looks unlikely to qualify or compete as he has not played since getting injured during his French Open semi-final match against Nadal where he went down in pain and was forced to retire, later confirmed he snapped several ligaments in his ankle. He was set to return at last month’s Davis Cup but was diagnosed with a bone edema and underwent more surgery.

Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Felix Auger-Aliassime are currently occupying the final three spots in the race but several men can still qualify for Turin, with the upcoming Paris Masters 1000 likely to determine the last few places at the tournament with the likes of Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz also lurking just below the qualification spots.

The seven-time world champion has compared his Class of 92 snooker rival to golfer Phil Mickelson, who has recently lost popularity during his sport’s fierce civil war

Ronnie O’Sullivan has hailed Mark Williams as snooker ‘s answer to Phil Mickelson, tipping the Welshman to replicate the six-time major winner by claiming a huge title late in his career.

O’Sullivan, Williams and John Higgins make up snooker’s heralded ‘Class of 92’, the legendary trio who have resided at the top of the rankings for three decades. They are often compared to the ‘Big Three’ in tennis of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal due to their remarkable longevity and dominance on the green baize.

World No.1 O’Sullivan, 46, created history by matching Stephen Hendry’s magnificent seven Crucible titles and is now considered the greatest to ever wield a cue. But he is never short of praise for his two great rivals Higgins and Williams, who made up the semi-final lineup at this year’s Sheffield showpiece alongside former champion Judd Trump.

Williams will turn 48 before the next World Championship but O’Sullivan believes he is now better than ever and can compete for his fourth world title. “He is a much stronger player now than he ever has been,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport at the Northern Ireland Open.

“He reminds me of Phil Mickelson. He has so much talent, so much game, a winner. He has got everything. Mickelson won the US PGA at 50. It wouldn’t surprise me if he won another World Championship. He is that good. He is good under pressure, and just looks so good out there enjoying it.”

Mickelson’s PGA Championship triumph at Kiawah Island aged 50 made him the oldest player to win one of golf’s four prestigious majors. He has only been bettered by Tiger Woods in his era, and comparisons with Williams are appropriate given both perform their art with such ease and nonchalance, using their gifted talents to thrill crowds.

However, the popularity each have in their respective sports is in complete contrast. Mickelson has become golf’s unlikely pariah for his defection to the controversial LIV rebel series, plus his inflammatory comments on the human right abuses of its financial backers in Saudi Arabia. Williams, meanwhile, remains one of the loved snooker players on the circuit for his relaxed style on and off the table.

“There is no situation you put him in that he can’t handle,” O’Sullivan added. “He could out-safety John Higgins, he could out-pot anyone and can outscore anybody. He is an all-time great, he really is. An amazing player. He is great to watch, I have always loved watching him play.”

O’Sullivan and Williams are both competing at this week’s Northern Ireland Open in Belfast, with the winner claiming the £80,000 top prize in Sunday’s final.

He previously declared that “Novak Djokovic is my favourite”, but Mike Tyson has now revealed that he is “a big fan of Roger Federer” due to the Swiss great’s “smooth and elegant” movement while he is not very fond of Rafael Nadal’s style of play.

The Big Three of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer have dominated tennis over the past three decades and their names always come up when it comes to discussions about the greatest player of all time (GOAT).

The trio have shared 63 Grand Slams between them with Nadal leading the way on 22 with Djokovic one behind and the recently retired Federer ending his career with 20.

Back in 2020, boxing legend Tyson stated that he is a big fan of Djokovic, describing him as a “true fighter”.

“Novak Djokovic is my favourite at the moment. If he is okay, I really like to watch him. He is my favourite because the way he has come back from injury and beaten guys like Nadal and Federer is amazing. He’s a true fighter,” he said.

Although he hasn’t completely changed his tune as he is still a fan of Djokovic, he does prefer Federer’s “smooth” style.

Speaking on the Advantage Connors podcast, Tyson said: “Djokovic, definitely, and Federer. Talking about Djokovic, he came back from all those injuries.

“You know, I love Djokovic personally but I’m just a big fan of Federer. When he was in his prime, he was always moving in the air. He’s smooth. He’s really smooth.”

Tyson, though, is unimpressed with the way Nadal plays.

He added: “Nadal was just all over the place. He’s a great player, but he doesn’t look great playing. Federer is smooth and very elegant.”

The former heavyweight champion, whose daughter Milan has taken up tennis, was also full of praise for teenager Coco Gauff.

The 18-year-old rose to fame in 2019 as she became the youngest qualifier to reach the main draw at Wimbledon at the age of 15 years and three months. She has since won two WTA singles titles and also finished runner-up to Iga Swiatek in the French Open final this year.

Tyson explained what sets Gauff apart from other challengers.

“I think she’s amazing. She has something that most don’t have and that’s time,” he said.

“She has a lot of time to cultivate her skill to become a lot better. And that’s what she has that I find most of the players don’t at this time.”