Roger Federer expects one of the stars of tennis' new generation to one day surpass the record of Grand Slam singles titles won, despite the 'Big Three' all holding the current record.
Federer is tied on 20 major tournament successes with fellow stars of his generation Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
The Swiss hasn't won a Grand Slam since 2018, though, and Djokovic – the youngest and most recent winner of the trio – is expected to earn the record outright before hanging up his racket.
The Serbian said after his Wimbledon success earlier this year that "none of us three will stop [on 20]".
Federer, responding to that remark, was perhaps a touch more realistic in pointing out that injuries and age may well have ended his and Nadal's chances of lifting another major trophy before their careers end.
"Well, look, he obviously was speaking for himself," the 40-year-old told GQ. "He’s on adrenaline when he's saying that and he doesn't know where I am or where Rafael is.
"But he means well, obviously,"
Pete Sampras is the closest to Federer, Nadal and Djokovic on the all-time list, but the American still managed six fewer Grand Slam titles than each of them.
Bjorn Borg is next in the Open Era with 11, and Federer believes it was the Swede's versatility which made him stand out in a generation largely made up of specialists who were able to perform far better on one surface compared to another.
"I feel like there were hard court players, clay court players and there weren’t so many players who could play on all surfaces," the Swiss said.
"Sure, [Bjorn] Borg did it, but things were different. Players weren't chasing one Slam after another like they are today and record after record.
"Nowadays such a strategy is much more part of your career.
"So, yes, a new, incredible player will, I believe, break our run of 20 Grand Slams eventually – but not overnight."
Federer underwent a third knee surgery in two years last month, and is currently recovering ahead of a hopeful return to the tour next season.
His injury meant he missed the Laver Cup – a tournament he had a part in creating – which was won in Boston by a star-studded European team.
Despite saying he would not be able to make it, Federer surprised fans by jetting across the Atlantic to watch the visitors punish the hosts 14-1 en-route to a fourth consecutive title in the competition.
"I thought the audience was absolutely amazing. The games were good, they were close but in the end Team Europe succeeded," Federer said.
"Of course, I was personally very happy about it. I just enjoyed watching the great tennis rankings and I hope you did too."
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