Roger Federer rates chances of ‘Big Three’ stranglehold being broken by young guns in 2020

Tsitsipas defeated Federer (Picture: Getty)

Roger Federer believes the younger generation hoping to change the guard at the top of men’s tennis will see their ‘chances increase’ to win a first Grand Slam title in 2020, and believes the group chasing him, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal continue to improve.

One of the shining lights of that group Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Greek world No. 6, knocked Federer out of the ATP Finals on Saturday afternoon, repeating the same trick he pulled when dumping the 20-time Grand Slam champion out of the Australian Open at the start of the season.

Dominic Thiem – who beat Novak Djokovic and Federer in the group stages – and defending champion Alexander Zverev will fight it out to join Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final, while Daniil Medvedev and Matteo Berrettini, both 23, also qualified to the season-ending event.

Federer was beaten on Saturday (Picture: Getty)

Thiem and Medvedev both reached Grand Slam finals in 2019 but the spoils were shared between Djokovic and Nadal – as they both closed the gap on Federer’s all-time Grand Slam haul.

And while the chasing pack continue to improve, the ‘Big Three’ are showing few signs of slowing down.

‘Does it feel like this year might be the best year yet? Possibly,’ said Federer. ‘Then the only issue is that it seems like me, Novak, and Rafa are healthy, healthier than maybe in previous years, as well, because remember when Novak had the elbow, Rafa had knee or whatever it was, and I had knee myself or the back. And [Andy] Murray is also not where he used to be. Yeah, like, okay he’s not here right now.

‘So from that standpoint, I just think they have proven their point this year by qualifying for the World Tour Finals, and also now at least one of them making it to the finals and maybe also Sascha again repeating what he did last year or Dominic also what he showed again at this World Tour Finals, winning five titles beating all of us top guys.

‘Definitely it’s that next step they need, and seems like Dominic is in his absolute prime right now. Yeah, I would think so.

‘But then I look at the list of who finished World No. 1, who has been World No. 1 all these years, and it’s just crazy that it’s always one of us. But we are not getting any younger. So chances increase not because we are getting worse but because they are getting better, I believe.’

Thiem has been impressive at the ATP Finals (Picture: TPN/Getty)

Federer was agonisingly close to winning a 21st Grand Slam title this year, failing to convert two championship points against Djokovic in the longest Wimbledon final in history, but still hopes to be in the mix come next season.

‘I think, you know, I’ve got to keep on playing at the level like I have this year, and then I will create some chances,’ he added. ‘I thought I played some consistent, solid tennis.

‘Got to take care of my body, listen to the signs, work well with the team, get the balance right with everything that’s happening in my life.

‘Then when the matches come, you know, it’s not maybe as easy as it was maybe 10, 15 years ago where you’re just going to play very good day in, day out, maybe you need to do extra effort sometimes for that to happen.

‘Maybe that’s what it felt like today is just things were complicated, you know, but I’ve got to maybe do even a better job at figuring these moments out, because the opportunities were there today, for instance. They were there in other moments as well this season, maybe Indian Wells or Wimbledon or whatever.

‘That can change an entire season around, the confidence around, the flow of things. But, you know, I’m happy how I played this season, and I’m extremely excited for next season.’

MORE: Henman & Becker on why Roger Federer failed to capture Djokovic ‘sparkle’ vs Stefanos Tsitsipas

MORE: ‘At this level, you just can’t have it happen’: Roger Federer frustrated after Stefanos Tsitsipas defeat


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