Navratilova says Federer, Nadal, Williams and Djokovic will be 'going nuts'

Martina Navratilova believes the likes of Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be ‘going nuts’ as they sit on frustrated amid the coronavirus crisis.

The group are widely considered among the greatest tennis players of all time and Navratilova thinks they all will be ruing the ‘time lost’.

Federer, Nadal, Williams and Djokovic are all in hot pursuit of tennis history but their charges have been temporarily halted until July 13 at the earliest.

‘The Big Three’ are all vying to end their careers as the most successful male player of all time. Nadal had the opportunity to equal Federer’s 20-Slam haul at the suspended French Open, while 17-time major winner Djokovic – the youngest of the trio – is within striking distance of both.

It’s a familiar feeling for Williams, who has been just one Slam behind Margaret Court’s 24-major haul since 2017 – losing four finals in that spell – but at 38, time is running out.

Federer is the same age and Navratilova sympathises most with the pair most, with future chances likely few and far between as they approach their 40s.

‘Only war has stopped major tournaments happening, now we have this pandemic and for players like Roger Federer and, of course, Serena Williams, it’s time lost,’ Navratilova told

‘Particularly Serena, Wimbledon being her best chance to break Margaret Court’s record. She’s stuck on 23 and tries to get to 24, maybe 25. It’s an opportunity lost, when you’re not getting any younger. If I was sitting in that position I’d be going nuts that I can’t play.

‘Everybody’s in the same boat, but for the old players  like Roger and even Rafa Nadal and, particularly, Serena Williams, it’s more difficult, no doubt about it.

‘I sympathise with them, because this is an enemy you can’t rehab, you can’t fight against, you just hope it will go away and we can play next year.

‘Novak Djokovic is right behind Roger and Rafa chasing the major titles, but I think the one that’s most affected would be Roger Federer because he’s the eldest by quite a bit.

‘But you have to deal with it. As Billie Jean King said “champions adjust”.’

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Coronavirus: Djokovic, Federer and Nadal propose fund to aid lower-ranked stars

Novak Djokovic wants leading tennis players to contribute to a fund to help lower-ranked players during the coronavirus crisis.

Professional tennis has been suspended since March due to the outbreak of COVID-19, with Wimbledon cancelled for the first time since World War Two and the French Open postponed until at least September.

The sport’s governing bodies are currently in talks to devise plans to provide assistance to lower-ranked players and Djokovic has already been in contact with fellow ATP Player Council members Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to discuss the situation.

‘I spoke to Roger and Rafa a few days ago and we had a conversation about the near future of tennis,’ Djokovic said during an Instagram Live with Stanislas Wawrinka.

‘A majority of players ranked between 250 to 700 or 1,000 don’t have federation support or sponsors and are independent and left alone.

‘Players hopefully will [also] contribute collectively to the relief fund that the ATP [and others] will distribute using models and criteria.

‘You want to avoid giving money to a player who fits into this category (low ranking) but does not need the money compared to someone else…hopefully between $3-4.5m (£2.4m to £3.6m) will be distributed to lower-ranked players.

‘If we don’t have any events [in 2020], maybe next year’s Australian Open prize money can be contributed to the fund.

‘I’m glad the tennis eco-system is coming together. Everyone realises the base of tennis. These guys ranked 250 onwards are the ones making the future of tennis.

‘We have to show them they’re not forgotten. We also have to send a message to young players that they can live out of tennis when there’s a financial crisis.’

Djokovic also sent a letter to his fellow professionals in which he wrote: ‘Rafa, Roger and I spoke yesterday and this is what we propose.

‘We think it’s more important to support players from No. 250-700. First 250 players (most of them at least ) have played qualifications for Grand Slams in 2019 and this year in Australian Open.

‘This participation in qualifications of Slams would guarantee them decent amount of money. Outside of 250 is where the real financial struggle is, which is expected.’

The 17-time Grand Slam champion added: ‘Guys, I know that everyone is struggling financially in these circumstances. Of course some more, someone less.

‘I feel like this is the way for us to show great unity, understanding and compassion for our fellow players who are trying to make a living or at least not lose money in tennis.

‘Please try to recognize this as an example for the future generations. God bless you all.’

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