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'Under-28s must show up' – Becker calls for younger generation to take on big three

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2019

Former world number one Boris Becker has called on tennis players under the age of 28 to “show up” and start challenging for Grand Slam titles.

With Nadal winning the French Open, the last 10 Slams have been won by either the 33-year-old, Novak Djokovic, 32, or Roger Federer, 37.

Dominic Thiem, 25, is the only male player currently aged under 28 to have reached a Grand Slam final.

“That is not good,” six-time Grand Slam champion Becker said.

“That is not a compliment for anybody under 28.

“And don’t give me that the others are too good. We should question the quality and the attitude of everybody under 28. It just doesn’t make sense. As much as I respect Roger, Rafa, Novak – who else? Show up. Give me something I want to talk about.”

  • ‘Nadal feat will be talked about in 200 years’

Austrian Thiem has reached two successive French Open finals and took a set from Nadal at Roland Garros on Sunday.

He defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals, while Greek 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas beat 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer at the Australian Open.

To date, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and Juan Martin Del Potro – all now over the age of 30 – are the only players other than Nadal, Djokovic and Federer to have won a Grand Slam title since the Spaniard won at Roland Garros in 2005.

“Eventually they will be too old. But you want to see the passing of the torch while they are still in their prime,” added Becker, who won Wimbledon at the age of 17.

“You want to see Stefanos and Dominic beating them when they are still very, very good.

“It’s not the forehands. It’s not the fitness. It’s a certain mentality, mindset, attitude that makes the difference between winning and losing.”

Nadal, Djokovic and Federer have won 53 Grand Slam titles between them, and there have long been fears as to what will happen to tennis’ popularity once they retire.

“There will be a dip. People have to get used to the new players,” said Becker. “There will be a ‘wow’ moment. ‘Wow, we’re not talking about Roger and Rafa any more’.

“But we said the same thing with [John] McEnroe and [Jimmy] Connors, [Andre] Agassi and [Pete] Sampras. Maybe myself and [Stefan] Edberg and [Mats] Wilander.

“Tennis will always continue with great new stars. But there will be a dip and then the spotlight will be on the young generation to say, ‘Now, show up. Who are you? Are you good enough, can you carry the sport, or was it all a bluff?'”

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Tsitsipas, Felix Lead Race To Milan

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2019

Tsitsipas, Felix Lead Race To Milan

Kecmanovic currently clinging to seventh and final qualification spot

The top of the ATP Race To Milan remains unchanged, but the competition for the final qualification spot has become increasingly tense with five months to go until the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

Reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, 20, and 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime lead the Race, which will determine seven of the eight 21-and-under players at the tournament. The eighth position is reserved for a wild card.

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Tsitsipas won his first ATP Tour clay-court title last month at the Millennium Estoril Open (d. Cuevas), and Auger-Aliassime made his second ATP Tour final of the season in Lyon (l. to Paire).

Right behind Auger-Aliassime is countryman Denis Shapovalov, who made the Lyon quarter-finals and is competing this week, alongside Auger-Aliassime, on grass at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. American Frances Tiafoe, who reached the third round at the Mutua Madrid Open, is in fourth place.

Further down the Race leaderboard, Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic currently holds the seventh and final qualification spot. But a pair of 20-year-old #NextGenATP players made gains at Roland Garros and are close behind the 19-year-old Belgrade native.

Read More: Moutet Leading France’s #NextGenATP In Paris

France’s Corentin Moutet picked up two of his three tour-level wins by making the third round at Roland Garros and is in eighth position in the Race, trailing Kecmanovic by only 28 points. Sweden’s Mikael Ymer qualified and picked up his first tour-level victory of the year – and his first career Grand Slam win – by making the second round. Ymer trails Kecmanovic by only 55 points in the Race.

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Tiafoe Turns Tables On Sousa In 's-Hertogenbosch

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2019

Tiafoe Turns Tables On Sousa In ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Haase battles on in front of home crowd

Entering Monday, #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe had struggled against Portuguese No. 1 Joao Sousa, losing to the veteran in last year’s Estoril final and again last month in Rome. But the third time was the charm for the World No. 35.

Tiafoe earned his first FedEx ATP Head2Head win against Sousa 6-2, 7-6(0) to reach the second round of the Libema Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The victory snaps a three-match losing streak for the 21-year-old.

The sixth seed will next face Aussie Jordan Thompson, who rallied past American Tommy Paul 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes. The 25-year-old was 1-11 at tour-level in 2018, but he has enjoyed plenty of success this year, moving to 16-11 on the season with his three-set triumph.

Tiafoe defeated Thompson 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 earlier this year at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco. The key in that match was that Tiafoe won 55 per cent of his second-serve return points.

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Seventh seed Cristian Garin, who broke through during the clay-court season, advanced with a 6-1, 6-4 victory against qualifier Salvator Caruso. The Chilean previously held an 0-2 record in tour-level grass-court matches.

Next up for Garin is Dutchman Robin Haase, who outlasted #NextGenATP Frenchman 5-7, 7-6(2), 7-6(4) in two hours and 26 minutes. Haase withstood Humbert’s 18 aces, striking 15 aces himself en route to his win.

<a href=''>Robin Haase</a>

In the only other singles match of the day, American Taylor Fritz beat wild card Jurij Rodionov 7-6(2), 6-4 in 79 minutes. The World No. 41, who is one spot off his career-high ATP Ranking, will play second seed Borna Coric in the second round.

On the doubles court, top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo ousted Monaco’s Romain Arneodo and Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-5, 6-2. They will next face Brit Dominic Inglot and American Austin Krajicek, who moved past wild cards Thiemo de Bakker and David Pel by the same score.

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Stuttgart's Top Seed Zverev: 'These Tournaments Are Very Important'

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2019

Stuttgart’s Top Seed Zverev: ‘These Tournaments Are Very Important’

German to face countryman Brown or Aussie Millman in opener

Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev reached his second Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros. So of course, he will want to go even further at Wimbledon, which starts on 1 July. But the German, who accepted a wild card into the MercedesCup in Stuttgart, where he is the top seed, knows that to be successful in London, he needs to build up his form beforehand.

“These tournaments are very important. I play two tournaments in Germany, which I always love doing, which for me, on a personal level, is very, very important,” Zverev said. “Stuttgart, I haven’t been here for a few years now, so this is why I have great motivation to do well and obviously also enjoy my time here. Halle is also a tournament that I always love. So for me, of course you want to play your best tennis in the final of Wimbledon. But to do that you’ve got to play great before as well.”

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Zverev, who is playing in Stuttgart for the first time since 2015, is competing in his 12th tournament in the past 12 weeks of the ATP Tour calendar. The 22-year-old did not advance past the quarter-finals in the eight tournaments he played between his run to the Acapulco final and lifting the trophy in Geneva, but his victory in Switzerland and reaching his second Slam quarter-final in Paris will give him confidence, as he is in ninth place in the ATP Race To London.

“I hope that the grass-court season continues with how I ended the clay-court season. I played a few good tournaments in Geneva and in Paris, so I really hope that I [can] continue my good form,” Zverev said. “I hope to have a good grass-court season. Obviously playing in Stuttgart, playing in front of my home crowd, is something that I always love doing. I’m looking forward to the tournament here.”

You May Also Like: 20 Things To Watch In Stuttgart, ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Zverev has won two of his 11 ATP Tour titles in Germany, but he has not been victorious on grass. The home favourite, who will play Aussie John Millman or compatriot Dustin Brown in his opener, ranks 12th among active players with a 66.7 winning percentage (22-11) on the surface, according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.

“I started practice yesterday. I didn’t hit for too long because of the rain, but I hit a little bit today already, I hit for two hours. I’m going to practise again later if the rain stops,” Zverev said. “I’m going to do everything I can to prepare myself the best I can. I’m going to play doubles as well with my brother, so for me I’m taking this tournament and the grass-court season very seriously. I want to do well.”

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Nadal Turning Up Heat On Federer & Djokovic In Big Titles Race

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2019

Nadal Turning Up Heat On Federer & Djokovic In Big Titles Race

Spaniard won his 12th Roland Garros trophy on Sunday

It took Rafael Nadal longer to win his first title in 2019 than he did in any season since 2004, the year he earned his maiden tour-level crown. But the World No. 2 has now captured two crowns in a row after lifting his 12th Roland Garros trophy on Sunday, putting plenty of pressure on Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the race for the most Big Titles, a combination of Grand Slam, Nitto ATP Finals and ATP Masters 1000 crowns.

Nadal, whose Paris victory earned him his 52nd Big Title, is now just one Big Title from tying Djokovic in second place (53) and two from record-holder Federer (54). But by winning Roland Garros, he has matched Djokovic’s Big Titles winning rate by capturing one trophy per 3.4 events played. However, since they have both played 179 combined Grand Slams, Nitto ATP Finals and ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, and Djokovic has won 53 titles to Nadal’s 52, the World No. 1 has a slightly better conversion ratio.

Nadal, who with 18 Grand Slam victories is now also within just two majors off Federer’s record, can make the Big Titles competition even juicier if he is to win his third Wimbledon title and first since 2010.

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With his record-extending Roland Garros victory, Nadal has now captured multiple Big Titles in a season 13 times in his career. If the 33-year-old wins another Big Title this year, it will be the 11th time he has lifted at least three of those trophies in a season.

All eyes will also be on Nadal’s pursuit of Federer’s 20-Grand Slam mark. If the two-time Wimbledon champion triumphs again on the London grass, he will be within one major title of the Swiss for the first time. 

“It’s a motivation, but it’s not my obsession. If you ask me whether I would like it, of course. If that’s a goal in my career, no. It’s not what makes me get up every morning or go and train and play. It’s not the way in which I view the sport, and it’s not the way in which I consider my sports career,” Nadal said. “I want to follow my own journey, give myself the best opportunities, and give myself the possibility of competing at the highest level. And if I end up in a position like that of today where I’m the one who won the most Roland Garros [titles] in history, all very well.

“But I don’t think my future will be worth any more if I equal Federer’s record or if I do something like Djokovic or whatever. I consider that I’m going much further than I dreamt about in my career.”

Current and Former Champions’ Big Titles Won (Records Since 1990)

Player Grand Slams Nitto ATP Finals 1000s Total (Avg)
Roger Federer 20/76 6/16 28/135 54/228 (4.2)
Novak Djokovic 15/57 5/11 33/111 53/179 (3.4)
Rafael Nadal 18/55 0/8 34/116 52/179 (3.4)
Pete Sampras 14/52 5/11 11/83 30/146 (4.9)
Andre Agassi 8/61 1/13 17/90 26/164 (6.3)
Andy Murray 3/47 1/8 14/96 18/151 (8.3)
Boris Becker* 2/26 2/6 5/51 9/83 (9.2)
Thomas Muster 1/29 0/4 8/53 9/86 (9.6)
Gustavo Kuerten 3/33 1/3 5/67 9/103 (11.4)
Jim Courier 4/38 0/4 5/71 9/113 (12.6)
Stefan Edberg** 3/28 0/4 1/24 4/56 (14)
Marcelo Rios 0/26 0/1 5/56 5/83 (16.6)
Michael Chang 1/50 0/6 7/86 8/142 (17.8)
Marat Safin 2/41 0/3 5/87 7/131 (18.7)
Andy Roddick 1/46 0/6 5/75 6/127 (21.2)

* Becker’s four other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
** Edberg’s three other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.

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Sharapova to return at Mallorca Open after four months out injured

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2019

Maria Sharapova is set to return to the WTA Tour for the first time in four months after accepting a wildcard entry at the grass-court Mallorca Open.

The Russian former world number one, 32, has been recovering from shoulder surgery which resulted in her missing the entire clay-court season.

“I want to thank the tournament for the opportunity it gives me,” she said.

Defending Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber and two-time Australian champion Victoria Azarenka will also compete.

Sharapova has not competed since she withdrew from a second-round match at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy in January.

The Mallorca Open, which starts on 17 June, is one of several grass-court events taking place before July’s Wimbledon.

The Russian, who won the British Grand Slam in 2004, is currently world number 49 and will likely have to go through qualifying to achieve a place in the Wimbledon main draw.

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Tsitsipas Gaining Momentum In ATP Race To London

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2019

Tsitsipas Gaining Momentum In ATP Race To London

Breaking down the 2019 year-to-date standings post Roland Garros

Stefanos Tsitsipas is on course to qualify for the first time to the Nitto ATP Finals, six months on from capturing the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals title in Milan.

The charismatic Greek sits in fifth position in the 2019 ATP Race To London on 2,940 points, behind established stars: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem, in the quest to qualify for the season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November. He has a 1,230 points lead over sixth-placed Kei Nishikori.

Twelve months ago, Tsitsipas was in 25th position in the 2018 Race with a 20-15 match record. But six months into the 2019 season and the 20-year-old has compiled a 32-12 match record after becoming the youngest Australian Open semi-finalist since Andy Roddick (also 20) in 2003, and capturing two ATP Tour titles at the Open 13 Provence (d. Kukushkin) and the Millennium Estoril Open (d. Cuevas). Last week, Tsitsipas advanced to the Roland Garros fourth round for the first time .

Nadal, Djokovic and Federer hold down the Top 3 spots in the 2019 ATP Race To London for the first time since 2012 (and the fourth time overall, also 2009-10, ’12), while the Top 5 contenders for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals are also all separating themselves from the chasing pack.

Nadal has taken the lead in the 2019 ATP Race To London, supplanting Djokovic in top spot as a result of a strong end to the spring European clay-court swing. The Spaniard, who beat Djokovic for a ninth Internazionali BNL d’Italia title on 19 May, overcame Thiem on Sunday for an incredible 12th Roland Garros trophy and now has 5,505 points in the year-to-date standings.

Nadal, who trailed Djokovic by 900 points — 2,505 to 3,405 — prior to the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome, is now 780 points ahead following his historic win in Paris. The 33-year-old Nadal is attempting to qualify for the season finale for a 15th straight year (since 2005), while 32-year-old Djokovic, a five-time former titlist, bids to qualify for a 12th time (2007-2016, 2018).

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View Latest ATP Race To London Standings (as of 10 June 2019)

 Player  Points
 1. Rafael Nadal  5,505
 2. Novak Djokovic  4,725
 3. Roger Federer  3,360
 4. Dominic Thiem  3,305
 5. Stefanos Tsitsipas  2,940
 6. Kei Nishikori  1,710
 7. Daniil Medvedev  1,585
 8. Fabio Fognini  1,550

Federer, a six-time champion at the season finale, competed on clay for the first time since 2016 and has 3,360 points, 55 points ahead of Dominic Thiem (3,305), the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell titlist and also Roland Garros runner-up. Tsitsipas trails Thiem by 365 points.

The Top 5 are setting the pace in the bid to qualify and fifth-placed Tsitsipas has a big lead over sixth-placed Nishikori, a two-spot riser after reaching the quarter-finals at the clay-court major championship. Russia’s Danill Medvedev (1,585), who has a 25-11 match record in 2019, is in seventh position, and Italy’s Fabio Fognini (1,550), victor at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters — his first ATP Masters 1000 crown — in April, sits in eighth, which is the final automatic qualification spot. Like Tsitsipas, both Medvedev and Fognini are attempting to qualify for the elite event for the first time.

Last year’s Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev, who advanced to the Roland Garros quarter-finals for the second consecutive year, has moved up one place to ninth on 1,490 points, just 60 points behind Fognini.

France’s Gael Monfils (1,320), who lifted the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament trophy in February, Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut (1,215) and Stan Wawrinka (1,130) make up the Top 12 in the year-to-date standings midway through 2019. Swiss Stan Wawrinka, a four-time Nitto ATP Finals qualifier (2013-16), is bouncing back from two knee surgeries in August 2017 and lost to Federer in an entertaining Roland Garros quarter-final. In the latest ATP Race To London standings, Wawrinka has soared 12 spots to 12th position, on 1,130 points.

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Tsonga Powers To Win On Stuttgart Debut

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2019

Tsonga Powers To Win On Stuttgart Debut

Shapovalov starts his grass campaign later today

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got off to a winning start on his MercedesCup debut on Monday, powering past 2017 semi-finalist Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-0 in 57 minutes. Tsonga, who won nine straight games from 3-3 in the first set, lost just four of his first-service points and hit 13 aces.

“It’s never easy to play your first match on grass, especially against Mischa, who is a good server,” said Tsonga, who was playing his first match on grass for two years. “With the year I’ve had last year, I just want to play and do my best during the grass swing. There is no special goal.”

Tsonga is now 18-9 on the season, which includes his 17th ATP Tour title at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (d. Herbert). He awaits the winner of sixth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic, the 2018 runner-up, and Alexei Popyrin, an Australian qualifier.

Elsewhere, 19-year-old Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic edged past 2013 and 2016 finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 57 minutes. Kohlschreiber finished as runner-up to Fabio Fognini, when the event was played on clay in 2013, and to Dominic Thiem in 2016 on grass. Kercmanovic now plays sixth-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov or another German, Jan-Lennard Struff, who play later today.

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Khachanov Breaks Into Top 10, Mover Of The Week

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2019

Khachanov Breaks Into Top 10, Mover Of The Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 10 June 2019

No. 9 (Career High) Karen Khachanov, +2
The 23-year-old advanced to his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros after beating Juan Martin del Potro in four sets in the fourth round. Having entered the Round of 16 clash against Del Potro with an 0-3 record in Grand Slam fourth-round matches, Khachanov backed up wins over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Gregoire Barrere and Martin Klizan to reach the last eight.

Despite falling to eventual runner-up Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals, Khachanov becomes the first Russian since Mikhail Youzhny in February 2011 to occupy a spot in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings. The Moscow-born star rises two positions to a career-high at No. 9.

No. 10 (Career High) Fabio Fognini, +2
At the conclusion of a European clay-court swing which began with a first ATP Masters 1000 trophy at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Lajovic), Fognini will enter the grass-court season as a Top 10 player. The Italian claimed three straight four-set wins at Roland Garros, which included a victory against Australian Open quarter-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut, before losing to Alexander Zverev in the Round of 16. Like Khachanov, Fognini also jumps two spots to a new career-high ATP Ranking, at No. 10.

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No. 19 Stan Wawrinka, +9
Former champion Wawrinka reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final in two years at Roland Garros. The Swiss, who is rebuilding his ATP Ranking following two knee surgeries in August 2017, defeated in-form Chilean Cristian Garin, former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov and World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the last eight. After a four-set loss to Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, the three-time Grand Slam champion leaps nine places to No. 19 in the ATP Rankings. This is the first time that Wawrinka has held a position in the Top 20 since 18 March 2018.

No. 28 Benoit Paire, +10
After picking up titles at the Grand Prix Hassan II (d. Andujar) and Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon (d. Auger-Aliassime), Paire reached the Round of 16 at Roland Garros for the first time. The 30-year-old edged countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(6), 11-9 in a memorable second-round clash en route to the last 16, where he fell in five sets to Kei Nishikori. Paire climbs 10 spots to No. 28 in the ATP Rankings, his highest position in almost three years.

Other Notable Movers 
No. 39 Marco Cecchinato, -20
No. 48 Leonardo Mayer, +20
No. 54 Hubert Hurkacz, -10
No. 58 (Career High) Juan Ignacio Londero, +20
No. 63 Damir Dzumhur, -11
No. 70 Daniel Evans, +10
No. 74 Jaume Munar, -21
No. 78 Steve Johnson, -13
No. 82 Pablo Andujar, +11
No. 90 Ernests Gulbis, -11
No. 99 (Career High) Yannick Maden, +15

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'Nadal feat will be talked about in 200 years'

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2019

Rafael Nadal’s record tally of 12 French Open titles will still be talked about “in 200 years”, says former British number one Greg Rusedski.

Nadal, 33, is the first player to win a dozen singles titles at the same Grand Slam.

The Spanish second seed beat Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 in Sunday’s final at Roland-Garros.

“This is the unbreakable record,” former US Open finalist Rusedski told BBC Sport.

  • Nadal beats Thiem to win 12th French Open
  • Relive Nadal’s win at Roland-Garros

Nadal’s third successive win on the Paris clay moved him clear of Margaret Court’s tally of 11 Australian Open titles.

The Spaniard is only the second player to win the same tour singles event a dozen times, with Martina Navratilova having won 12 titles at Chicago between 1978 and 1992.

“Most players don’t win 12 titles in their careers, he has won 12 clay-court majors at Roland-Garros,” Rusedski said.

“When we’re dead, in 200 years from now, people will be talking about Rafael Nadal winning 12 French Opens.

“It is incomprehensible.

“This is the Tour de France of tennis and to do it 12 times is superhuman.”

Most men’s singles titles at the same Grand Slam in the Open era
12 Rafael Nadal French Open 2005-2008, 2010-2014, 2017-2019
8 Roger Federer – Wimbledon 2003-07, 2009, 2012, 2017
7 Novak Djokovic– Australian Open 2008, 2011-2013, 2015-16, 2019
7 Pete Sampras– Wimbledon 1993-95, 1997-2000
6 Bjorn Borg– French Open 1974, 1975, 1978-1981
6 Roger Federer– Australian Open 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018

‘Big three’s longevity is unheard of’

By beating 25-year-old Thiem for the second successive year in the final, Nadal increased his tally to 18 major triumphs.

Only long-time rival Roger Federer has won more Grand Slams, sitting two ahead of the Mallorcan in the all-time list of men’s singles triumphs.

Serb world number one Novak Djokovic, who was denied the chance to hold all four Slams at the same time by Thiem in the semi-finals, is now three behind Nadal.

Nadal, 37-year-old Federer and 32-year-old Djokovic have won the past 10 Grand Slam titles between them.

Britain’s Andy Murray was the last player under 30 to win a Grand Slam men’s singles title when he won Wimbledon aged 29 in 2016.

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“The last ‘next generation’ had a lot of war wounds against the likes of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, they didn’t necessarily believe they could possibly beat these guys,” Rusedski, 45, said.

“But I think the new guys – led by Stefanos Tsitsipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov – this generation may not have the same war wounds.

“And in a couple of years obviously Roger will be nearly 40 and Rafa and Novak will be in their mid-30s – if they are all still playing then.

“To do what they are doing is unheard of.

“It is still those big three and the other guys are trying to knock on the door.

“We want to see one of those younger guys take a Slam.”

‘Women’s game full of intrigue – and that will return to men’s game too’

With Nadal beating Federer and Thiem seeing off Djokovic, the men’s semi-finals at a major were contested by the top four seeds for the first time since the 2012 Australian Open.

By contrast, the women’s draw was wide open after early exits for top seeds like Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams.

Only one of the last four – Britain’s Johanna Konta – had previously reached a Grand Slam semi-final, while two of the others – American Amanda Anisimova and runner-up Czech Marketa Vondrousova – were teenagers.

Eventual champion Ashleigh Barty claimed her first Slam singles title with a 6-1 6-3 victory over 19-year-old Vondrousova.

“On the women’s side there are about 10 to 15 women who could win,” Rusedski said.

“There is a lot of intrigue because you don’t know who is going to win – that’s great to have going into a Slam.

“We will see that level of intrigue come back in the men’s, of course we will. I can’t see the same domination.

“We had [Andre] Agassi and [Pete] Sampras and when they retired it was ‘what’s going to happen now?’. There was a two-year gap and then all of a sudden Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all showed up.

“Tsitsipas is going to be a big superstar in our game, you’ve got [Alexander] Zverev, you’ve got Thiem.

“There will be a little transition period, it might take a year or two, but there will be stars to replace the big three.”

Why Nadal is the King of Clay – the stats

  • 950 – Nadal’s victories on the tour, only Federer (1,207), Jimmy Connors (1,156) and Ivan Lendl (1,069) have more
  • 260 – The Spaniard’s number of Grand Slam victories, topped by only Federer (347) and Djokovic (270)
  • 93 – Nobody has won more matches at Roland-Garros than Nadal, with Federer (70) and Djokovic (68) his nearest challengers
  • 59 – Nadal has won more career clay-court titles than any other man, having eclipsed Guillermo Vilas’ previous record of 49 in 2017
  • 12 – Nadal has won every Roland-Garros final he has played

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