Before the Australian Open final, Novak Djokovic promised that if the younger generation of tennis stars wanted to start holding Grand Slam trophies, they’d better be prepared to react.
“I’m not going to stand here and hand it over to them,” Djokovic said an interview with Eurosport. “I’ll make them work their asses for it.”
True to his word on virtually every point of the Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev, Djokovic sent the message loud and clear: a generational change in tennis is not happening. Not yet. Not now.
Djokovic’s 18th Grand Slam title, which brought him a stone’s throw from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for all-time leadership in men’s tennis, was the most emphatic message he could send to top 10 players like Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev who is ten years younger. Upgrade your game, guys.
For the next 12 months, how quickly Djokovic can chase Federer and Nadal will be the dominant storyline in men’s tennis. Nadal will be favored to reach number 21 at Roland Garros this spring, and Federer is set to return to the tour in a few weeks after recovering. from a knee a knee injury. But…
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