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A top WTA star has claimed that no one will be able to dominate the men’s tour once the Big Three retire. Since 2006, all but nine of all the Grand Slam titles have been won by Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, while only Andy Murray has been able to reach the world No 1 ranking during their era of dominance. Women’s world No 67 Donna Vekic has now opened up on the depth of the WTA Tour, and admitted she believes the ATP Tour will soon become the same.
Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have dominated the current era of tennis for more than 15 years.
The Big Three are all currently tied on 20 Grand Slams each – a record for the most Majors won by a male singles player.
They have also shared the year-end world No 1 ranking since 2004, with the exception of Andy Murray claiming it in 2016.
Only six players have been able to take a Grand Slam title away from the Big Three since 2006 – the first year all four were won by Federer and Nadal – Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Juan Martin del Potro, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev, with the latter two only winning in the last 15 months.
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Federer, Nadal and Djokovic’s dominance has remained even when one or multiple of them have been out with injuries as the others have continued to dominate in their absence, including in 2017 when the Swiss star and the Spaniard split the Grand Slam title and the year-end No 1 and 2 rankings when Djokovic was on the sidelines, and this year when Djokovic won three of the four Grand Slams in when his rivals were forced to end their respective seasons early.
However, the Big Three era is slowly drawing to a close with the dominant trio getting no younger, while Federer and Nadal have struggled with injuries this year.
Although Djokovic has remained healthy this season, even his dominance has found a ceiling at times as he found himself unable to achieve his three main goals of the season despite enjoying huge success, winning three of the four Majors, a record 37th Masters 1000 title, and reaching both record weeks at No 1 and record year-end No 1 finishes.
He was denied the chance to compete for an Olympic gold medal in summer when he lost his semi-final to Alexander Zverev from a set-and-a-break up, fell one match short of being the first man in 52 years to achieve the Calendar Grand Slam when he lost to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final, and was knocked out of the Davis Cup after Serbia lost their decisive doubles rubber to Croatia in the semi-final, after hoping to win the ‘World Cup of men’s tennis’ for his country for the first time in a decade.
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Now, Donna Vekic has admitted she believes no one will be able to dominate the men’s game in the same fashion once the Big Three have retired, and can see the ATP Tour looking like the WTA – with wide-open draws thanks to the talent and competition all the way down the rankings, with top players often finding themselves eliminated in early rounds.
The Croat, who has been ranked as high as world No 19, admitted it was tough to achieve her goals with the strength of competition on the tour.
“My goals are to return to the top 20 in the world and win many games in Grand Slam tournaments.
“In women’s tennis all matches are very hard, there are no more easy first rounds. They all play tennis very well, this is why it is so difficult to find a real dominant player,” she told Sportske.
The three-time title winner said she sees men’s tennis becoming the same once Federer, Nadal and Djokovic had all ended their careers.
She added: “I think very soon the same will happen in men’s tennis too, as soon as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal stop playing.”
While the likes of Medvedev, Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas have cemented themselves as heirs to the thrones set to be left behind by the Big Three, they still have strong competition from the other players their age – including world No 10 Jannik Sinner and US Open semi-finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime.
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