Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have also contributed to increasing the popularity of tennis outside the narrow circle of fans and insiders. On the eve of the French Grand Prix, which will be staged this weekend at Le Castellet, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner used the Big 3 to describe the rivalry between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
Horner said: "As an F1 fan, I couldn't ask for anything better. I want to see the two of them compete against each other and find out who really is the best. It's like when Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic face off.
Max forces Lewis to make the most of himself and vice versa of course. Both have improved each other." At the age of 23, Verstappen seems ready for the definitive leap in quality and to compete for the World Championship until the last race.
The Dutchman lost a great chance to extend the standings in Baku a couple of weeks ago, thanks to an unfortunate puncture while he was leading the GP. Max will try to make up for it on Sunday, but Mercedes has a crazy record on the transalpine circuit.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have created an incredible rivalry over the past decade and a half. In addition to having won a total of 59 Grand Slams, the Big 3 have monopolized the ATP Tour as never before in the history of this sport.
Novak Djokovic's recent triumph at the Roland Garros 2021 has rekindled the long-standing debate on the greatest ever, as the number 1 ATP has now moved within one length of his eternal rivals in the all-time rankings of the Slams.
Wimbledon and the US Open could be decisive in this regard, even if the Next Gen are more than ever willing to overturn the hierarchies. Nadal has announced that he will not participate in either Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympic Games, while Roger's state of shape is still far from 100% (as evidenced by the bad defeat in Halle).
Roger Federer closer to retirement?
The return to Halle of the Swiss champion and twenty-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer lasted much shorter than expected with the Swiss tennis player who succumbed in three sets to the young Canadian talent Felix Auger Aliassime.
Beyond the tennis player's performance, what appeared strange and in some ways worrying was Roger's attitude on the pitch, disheartened and now resigned in the third set to a fate that seemed almost obvious. In addition, the media appeared concerned that Federer delayed his press conference by two and a half hours.
After the defeat against Felix Auger Aliassime, Roger Federer made the following statements: "I needed time to digest the third set, I was disappointed with how the match ended, something similar to what also happened in Geneva.
Honestly, at the end of the match, I didn't know what to say. From the three victories at Roland Garros I have gathered a lot of information on the matches, then changing surfaces is not easy at all, Felix is a great tennis player and he played better than me.
For my part, I didn't have a good attitude, I felt disappointed in how I felt and how things were going. All the difficulties followed me and I was not able to push them away. I realized it wasn't my day and there was nothing I could do.
I am neither happy nor proud." Finally, however, there remains a glimmer of hope: "If you look at the 1500 races or so that I have played in my career these are things that can happen and the good thing is that I know that it will not happen to me the next time I will be on the pitch, I talked to Ivan Ljubicic (coach) and I understood everything.
I just have to be positive and think about the next goal, which is Wimbledon." Finally speaking of the physical problems Roger concluded: "The rehabilitation process has been a great challenge for me, anyone who has undergone several surgeries knows what I am talking about and this is the my biggest concern."