‘The old boys still won’t give up’: Novak Djokovic insists tennis’s legendary ‘big three’ – he, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – show ‘fresh energy’ as they continue to shine on the ATP Tour
- Novak Djokovic thinks the old guard will continue to dominate tennis
- The Serb has recently set up another showdown with rival Rafael Nadal
- Djokovic takes on Sunday in the Foro Italico against Nadal for the title of Rome Masters
The ‘Big Three’ of men’s tennis have found some ‘new energy’ to thwart the onslaught of younger players on the tour, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic said after staging another title fight against his biggest rival Rafael Nadal.
The last four ATP Masters 1000 events, the most prestigious tournaments outside of the Grand Slams, have been won by players outside Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer’s group.
But it will be top seed Djokovic facing second seed Nadal at the Foro Italico on Sunday for the Rome Masters title in a 57th career game between the duo, with the Serb at 29-27.
Novak Djokovic will play against Rafa Nadal for the Rome Masters title in the Foro Italico on Sunday
‘Rafa and I had a little laugh in the dressing room today after beating (Stefanos) Tsitsipas,’ Djokovic, 33, told reporters after his semi-final win against local favorite Lorenzo Sonego.
“We joked about the old boys still not giving up. I saw he said somewhere a few days ago that Roger, he and I are old, but I disagree with him. I think we’re showing some different, fresh energy.
“We laughed about it … I’m really glad we’re showing that we don’t shy away from the NextGenATP attacks.”
Russian Daniil Medvedev, 25, won the ATP Finals and Paris Masters titles last year and has already pushed 34-year-old Nadal from second place in the rankings.
Djokovic says he and rivals Nadal and Roger Federer have found ‘new energy’
Hubert Hurkacz, Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev have won the three Masters events this year with the Greek Tsitsipas, the youngest of them, at the age of 22.
But one of Djokovic and Nadal returns to the circle of the Masters winners on Sunday after surviving some rigorous tests during their previous rounds in Rome.
“It’s great to play him again in the final,” said Djokovic of the twenty-time great winner. ‘He is the man I have encountered the most in my career. Definitely my greatest rival of all time.
‘Playing with him on clay in the final of one of the biggest tournaments in the world is always extra motivating for me. Even after everything we’ve been through in our career, there is still this excitement when we have to face each other. ‘