Stefanos Tsitsipas could knock Rafael Nadal out of the top 3 of the ATP rankings this week, if he progresses far enough in the European Open in Hamburg.
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And, even if it does not happen this week, it is surely a matter of time, before Nadal begins to slide down the rankings where he has been a dominant figure for so long.
In fact, some may argue that men’s tennis is on the verge of a seismic shift, and the hegemony of the three man that have dominated the sport for so long is about to come to an end.
Currently, Roger Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic are level on the all-time list with 20 Grand Slam titles apiece. Djokovic is the latest to join this exclusive club following his victory at Wimbledon last weekend, and he looks likely to become the sole record-holder in the near future.
He has already completed three legs of the Grand Slam of Slams, – having already won the Australian, French and Wimbledon titles this year, and will start the US Open, which begins at the end of August, as the favourite.
But Federer is unlikely to win any more Grand Slams, After his straight sets defeat in the quarter-final of Wimbledon to the Pole Hubert Hurkasz, he raised doubts as to whether he will bae back to the Championship he had won eight times previously. He will be 40 next month, and after undergoing two knee surgeries last year, injuries are starting to take their toll.
Nadal is four years younger, but the effect of years at the top level are starting to take their toll on him as well, He pulled out of Wimbledon this year saying his body needs to recover after the demands of eh European clay court season.
And his chances of adding more Grand Slam titles may be diminishing as well, The so-called King of Clay had won 13 French Open titles, but even he had to surrender his crown to Djokovic this year.
Djokovic at 34 is the younger of the three, and he may still have several years at the top left. But a.
But at some stage father Time is going to catch up with him s well.
Young players like Tsitsipas have been threatening to make the breakthrough for some time, and the most remarkable thing is that it has not happened until now, In fact, when Dominic Thiem of Austria won the US Open last September it was the first time since 2016 than somebody outside the “Big Three “ had won a Grand Slam title since 2016.
In fact, it is not just Tsitsipas who are part of the new wave, There is Alexander Zverev of Germany, Mateo Berrettini of Italy, Denis Shapovalov of Canada, and the Russian pair of Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev who can all be considered potential Grand Slam winners.
And, behind them are even younger platers coming through like Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud.
The surprising thing is not that Nadal is about to drop out of the top three, but that it has taken so long to happen.