Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic warned of five exciting Grand Slam threats

Tennis: Djokovic slams critics after Australian Open win

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The ‘Big Three’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could be dethroned by a selection of the sport’s up-and-coming stars before the end of the year, according to former World No. 2 Tommy Haas. Tennis has been dominated for the best part of the last decade by the trio, who have scooped 68 Grand Slam titles between them.

Djokovic became the latest member to claim major honours, winning this year’s Australian Open at a canter despite struggling with a troublesome muscle injury picked up during his third round victory over Taylor Fritz.

Meanwhile, Nadal retains his long-standing reputation as the king of clay, and will have every chance of extending his reign at the French Open in the summer, while Federer is eyeing a return to the Grand Slam circuit at Wimbledon after spending the majority of last year sidelined with knee problems.

Their shared monopoly on the sport has long been a source of debate for pundits and former professionals alike, with Andy Murray questioning the next generation’s ability to trouble them after Djokovic’s latest triumph in Melbourne.

However, Haas is of the opinion that a revolution could arrive sooner rather than later.

He has suggested that there are at least five candidates with a chance of winning a Grand Slam in 2021, suggesting that the days of the ‘Big Three’ are numbered.

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“I think there are a number of players who could be in that conversation,” Haas told Sportskeeda.

“Dominic Thiem, obviously, has shown himself capable by winning the US Open last year.

“Daniil Medvedev is certainly very close, having been to two finals already. And Alexander Zverev now has the experience as well on that stage after New York last year.

“Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev – certainly they belong in the conversation as well. It will be exciting to see who steps up when opportunities present themselves, but I am looking forward to some very exciting years of tennis ahead of us.

“Zverev is an impressive player who I definitely believe can win a Grand Slam title. I think his loss to Dominic Thiem at the US Open last fall gave him an important experience.

“Before long, it could be his turn to raise a trophy at a Slam.”

Out of the five players mentioned by Haas, Medvedev came closest to winning the Australian Open, losing to Djokovic in straight sets in the final after overcoming Rublev and Tsitsipas on his way to the last hurdle.

Hass also singled out three teenagers that could be on their way to stardom in the coming years, claiming that tennis fans should be excited for the competitive circuit that awaits after Federer, Nadal and Djokovic eventually decide to call time on the sport.

“I think there is no doubt that the future of the sport is very bright,” added Haas.

“We’ve been so lucky for so many years to watch three of the greatest players to ever play the game, but I think recently we’ve seen that the sport will be in good hands even when they do retire.

“These teenagers like Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Musetti, Carlos Alcaraz are incredibly talented, and once they get some experience out on tour, I think they’ll be quite fun to watch for many, many years.”

Italian hopeful Sinner became the youngest quarter-finalist in a men’s singles event since Djokovic in 2006 at last year’s French Open, while compatriot Musetti won the junior Australian Open title in 2019.

Alcaraz, who hails from Spain, made his senior Grand Slam debut in Melbourne earlier this year but was defeated in the second round of the tournament by world No 94 Mikael Ymer.

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