The variety of main titles is just not the one issue used to find out the place gamers sit within the pantheon however it’s more and more used because the go-to metric.
Nadal performed down his astonishing achievement following his gruelling five-set win over Daniil Medvedev within the Australian Open last within the early hours of Monday.
The 35-year-old Spaniard mentioned he didn’t care a lot whether or not his twenty first title made him the perfect participant in historical past or not.
However many followers are captivated by the talk about who will in the end emerge from the golden age of males’s tennis on high, with every of the “Massive Three” supported by their very own phalanx of die-hard supporters.
Swiss nice Federer was out on his personal as the game’s alpha male when he overtook Pete Sampras’s report of 14 Grand Slam wins at Wimbledon in 2009, with Nadal trailing on six majors and Djokovic on only one.
As the push of huge titles started to gradual for Federer from 2010, his two nice rivals stepped on the accelerator, constantly successful Grand Slams over the next decade, despite the fact that Federer returned to successful methods in 2017 and 2018.
Nadal pulled degree on 20 Slams after successful the French Open in 2020 and Djokovic joined the occasion after scooping three majors throughout a stellar 2021 season.
However the Spaniard is now out on his personal after what he known as “the largest comeback of my profession” to finish a 2-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 win in Melbourne.
Nadal now has 58 “Massive Titles”, outlined by the boys’s ATP Tour as a trophy at a Grand Slam championship, ATP Finals, Masters 1000 event or an Olympic singles gold medal.
He’s the fourth man in historical past to seize not less than two trophies in any respect 4 Grand Slams, a feat additionally achieved by Djokovic.
Federer has received probably the most general profession singles titles of the three, along with his tally of 103 solely bettered by American Jimmy Connors, who received 109.
Djokovic is out on his personal when it comes to time spent at primary, notching 358 weeks on the high to date, with Federer on 310 and Nadal on 209.
The Serbian, who lags behind his two main rivals within the recognition stakes, additionally boasts a successful report in head-to-head matches in opposition to each, though Nadal edges Djokovic of their Grand Slam conferences.
So what subsequent within the battle for tennis immortality?
Nadal didn’t should confront both of his nice rivals in Melbourne.
Federer was absent injured and Djokovic, unvaccinated in opposition to coronavirus, was deported on the eve of the event after Australia cancelled his visa.
The way forward for Federer, 40, is the largest unknown as he works his approach again from a persistent proper knee harm that restricted him to simply 5 tournaments final yr.
He doesn’t count on to be in motion once more for months and has mentioned it’s unlikely he can be match for Wimbledon, the place he realistically has his greatest likelihood of successful one other main.
World primary Djokovic, a yr youthful than Nadal, has time on his facet despite the fact that he’s nonetheless a veteran within the males’s recreation.
Final yr he got here inside one match of finishing the calendar-year Grand Slam — successful all 4 majors in a single yr — however was soundly crushed within the last of the US Open by Medvedev.
Points off the court docket may scupper the Serbian participant’s bid to finish up on high. There are critical questions over whether or not he’ll be capable to defend his French Open title below present Covid-19 guidelines and he can also not be capable to play within the US Open for a similar purpose.
If Djokovic is just not at Roland Garros, Nadal can be a powerful favorite to win a 14th French Open title.
Nadal himself puzzled if he would even play once more after a foot harm sidelined him for a lot of final season however, exhaustion apart, he’ll now be wanting ahead to the remainder of the season with a spring in his step.