What's next for the Big 3? Upcoming schedules for Novak, Roger, Rafa

What's next for the Big 3? Upcoming schedules for Novak, Roger, Rafa

All three of them will be playing in the tour's biggest events, but here are some other tournaments you can expect to see them.

With the 2019 Australian Open in the books, the “Big Three” are now also the top three on the men’s list for most Grand Slam titles in tennis history—Roger Federer at 20, Rafael Nadal at 17 and Novak Djokovic at 15 (winning his 15th in Melbourne to break a third-place tie with Pete Sampras).

So now that the first Grand Slam of the year is over, where are the Big Three playing next?

Federer and Nadal are scheduled to return to action at a pair of ATP tour 500-level hard-court tournaments the week of February 25th: Federer in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships) and Nadal in Acapulco, Mexico (at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel).

Federer, who will be playing for the first time since falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the Australian Open, has strong ties to Dubai—not only does he have a home there, he’s also played there 13 times in his career (winning it seven times in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2014 and 2015).

After winning that seventh title in 2015, Federer credited his training base in Dubai for his success at the event.

“Maybe it does help that I practice here quite often,” he said. “I always play very well here. I don’t ever feel like I’m struggling here, just maybe in the early rounds for a few points here and there.”

Nadal won Acapulco both times he played it when it was on clay, and without losing a set, too (in 2005 and 2013) and finished runner-up to Sam Querrey the only time he played it on hard (in 2017).

After falling to Djokovic in the Australian Open final, Nadal talked about his upcoming schedule.

“I need matches, but I can’t go crazy to play matches,” he said. “I have my age. I have my calendar. I have my priorities. My priority now is come back home and have some rest. I played good tennis for a couple of weeks and now is the time to be back, to have good physical work and keep working on the things that worked very well here. Step by step, working on the things that I need a little bit more.

“Then my next step is Acapulco. That’s my goal. It’s a tournament that I like to play. I’ve had some success there. I have Acapulco, and then I have Indian Wells, and that’s my calendar today.”

Djokovic’s next scheduled tournament is Indian Wells, where he’s a five-time champion (2008, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016). He isn’t scheduled to play anywhere until the first Masters 1000 of 2019.

After winning a third straight Major in Melbourne, Djokovic was asked about keeping the streak going.

“I know there’s a lot of tournaments to play before Roland Garros, so I have plenty of time to build my form slowly,” he said. “Obviously we’re staying on hardcourts first with big tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami, and then starting on the clay. I need to play better than I did last season—I am already playing better, but I have to play better on clay specifically in order to have a chance at the title.

“But first I’m going to enjoy this victory and share it with family and friends, then take it from there.”

Djokovic has a good chance of increasing his lead at the top of the ATP rankings in March, too—he actually lost opening matches at both Indian Wells and Miami last year as he was still working his way back into top form after missing almost the entire second half of the 2017 season with an elbow injury.

For now, though, the world No. 1 is taking some time to cool off:

ATP Cordoba: Mon - Sun, 2/4 - 2/10
Starting Monday, 2/4 at 1:30 p.m. ET, catch live coverage of the Cordoba Open featuring top seeds Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman.

ATP Montpellier: Tue - Sun, 2/5 - 2/10
Watch Lucas Pouille, Denis Shapovalov and Gilles Simon live on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Tuesday, 2/5 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

USTA Men's Pro Circuit – Dallas: Mon - Sun, 2/4 - 2/10
Tennis Channel Plus features live coverage of USTA Dallas matches beginning Monday, 2/4 12:00 p.m. ET

Fed Cup Quarterfinals: Sat - Sun, 2/9 - 2/10
Tennis Channel Plus is your home for Fed Cup action! Watch first to last ball action beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, 2/9