Safin feels younger players are failing to challenge Federer and Nadal

by: Matt Cronin | December 01, 2017

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Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer dominated the ATP tour in 2017. (AP)

According to two-time Grand Slam champion Marat SafinRafael Nadal and Roger Federer aren't getting the kind of competition they should be from younger players.

This season, the 31-year-old Nadal won two Grand Slams and is No. 1, while Federer, who is almost five years older, won the other two Slams.

The 37-year-old Safin said that even though they are excellent players, they should not be still dominating in their 30s. 

“If Federer and Nadal are still winning I think there’s something wrong,” Safin told the Independent

“I don’t see any upcoming superstars today.

"Federer and Nadal are great players but they’re getting older. No matter how much you work in the gym, it becomes harder and harder to recover match after match. Age catches up with you.”

The former No. 1 Safin retired eight years ago. After that, Nadal and Federer kept winning, while Britain's Andy Murray and Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka eventually won three Grand Slams each. All are now in their thirties.

Just two other players have won majors since then—Argentine Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open, and the Croatian Marin Cilic also won at the US Open. They are both now 29 years old.

That's very different from when the Russian was playing.

“I’m not saying that our times were the best, but when I was growing up, players were winning ATP tournaments at 16, 17, 18,” he said. “Now players are only just starting to be pros at the age of 25. I don’t know why that is. 

"Players used to retire by the time they got to 30. At 32 you were a dinosaur. Now you see players who are still running at the age of 38. The upcoming young guys just aren’t at a high enough level. If you can still manage to run at the age of 38 and still be No 1 in the world, it means there must be something wrong with the other players.”

 

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