Novak Djokovic reacts to his media coverage in February
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The sport-wide standardisation of tennis court surfaces has allowed the ‘Big Three’ of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to dominate men’s tennis for the last two decades, according to a former coach. Gabriel Jaramillo is well-respected within the sport and is known as being one of the best tennis coaches after helping Maria Sharapova ascend to the top of the summit.
While Djokovic is struggling for form and Federer and Nadal have been battling injuries recently, the three men have dominated men’s singles tennis for years. The trio have 61 Grand Slam titles between them, with the Spaniard claiming an unprecedented 21st major title to move clear of Djokovic and Federer on 20.
Nadal won the Australian Open in January to stand alone as the most successful men’s tennis player in history, while Djokovic has the record for the most amount of Masters titles with 37 – one more than Nadal. Overall, they hold 280 ATP titles between them with Federer claiming 103 wins to himself.
Jaramillo, who also coached Monica Seles, believes there is a clear reason for their stranglehold on tennis: the standardisation of the three surfaces. He believes surfaces were standardised in the 2000s to allow the superstar players to remain dominant and keep fans interested in the sport.
“Surfaces were levelled out around the mid-2000s when the Big Three were starting to dominate, this move was aimed at allowing Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to remain competitive,” Jamarillo told Punto de Break.
“The three monsters had the ability to transcend tennis, managing to attract even non-regular spectators, tournaments on the circuit live above all this – if the surface had been too fast, there was a risk of Rafael Nadal’s premature exit.
“On the contrary, if the ground had been too slow, Roger Federer might have been in trouble. The idea was that they could face each other frequently, it was the only way to keep people glued to the television.”
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Nadal enjoyed a stunning start to 2022, going undefeated until he lost the Indian Wells final to Taylor Fritz after suffering a rib injury which has seen him sidelined for just over a month. Djokovic, meanwhile, has struggled for match sharpness after playing infrequently following the saga surrounding his vaccination status.
The World No 1 has faltered in 2022 so far but found form at the Serbia Open, and he hopes to return to his best ahead of his Roland Garros title defence in May. As for Federer, he continues to rehabilitate his right knee injury and is reportedly targeting a return in late summer or early autumn.
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