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Tuesday, September 17, 2019
CEBU

Pages: Roger, Rafa and Novak

Match point

FEDERER, Nadal and Djokovic are their family names and no triumvirate in all of sports has been as dominant.

How commanding has been the Big Three’s supremacy?

Since the 2003 Wimbledon Championships, the trio has triumphed in 53 of the 64 Majors. That’s a success rate of 83 percent. And aren’t there hundreds of millions of tennis players worldwide?

All of whom can do the same: smash a forehand and slice a backhand? And only three have snatched almost every Grand Slam trophy in the past 16 years? Yes, yes, yes.

If we include Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray (who’ve both won three majors apiece), they have won 57 of the last 60 majors. And other than those five names, only three others (Marin Cilic, Gaston Gaudio and Juan Martin del Potro) have won a major title in the past 15 years.

“Rafa takes care of the clay there. Novak is in every Masters 1000 on hard court. I float around,” said Roger Federer in an interview last month. “You add Murray to it, Stan to it, guys that made their move later on, del Potro to it, you realize there’s not that much to get.”

Roger’s right. Whatever happened to Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Nick Kyrgios and the dozens of other next-gen players who were promoted to replace the oldies?

For the Big 3, their reign may be termed by various words: Dominance. Longevity. Excellence. Federer, 38 years old, Nadal, 33 years old and Djokovic, 32 years old are three of the greatest ever athletes who’ve wielded a tennis racket.

Federer owns 20 Majors. Nadal has 18. Djokovic lurks with 16.

Which brings us to the Grand Slam event to be played in New York City starting tomorrow and for the next two weeks: the US Open.

I hope Roger collects his sixth crown in NYC.

Given how he lost Wimbledon (by squandering those two match points to Novak), it would be a fitting redemption for him to win. But this may be unlikely.

Nadal has the momentum.

He won the last major (Roland Garros) and the Montreal Masters 1000 two weeks ago. He’s favored to add a fourth trophy to add to his wins in 2010, 2013 and 2017.

But among the three, it’s the Serbian world number one who’s the likeliest winner. The defending champ, the 32-year-old Djokovic has won four of the last five majors.

And on hard-courts, it’s hard to bet against the man who’s accumulated over $135 million in prize money.

My choice? None of the above.

I hope a Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev or Karen Khachanov wins the US Open.

As the saying goes: Give chance to others.


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