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 Laureus.com.
‘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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