LONDON (AP) — Here is one way to look at what
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and the
now-retired Roger Federer accomplished: The group known as
the Big Three of men’s tennis accumulated so many Grand Slam titles — 63 in all — that it seems unlikely anyone will reach the standards they set.
Not anytime soon, certainly.
Here was another way to think about things as the professional level of
the sport began its post-Federer life on Saturday, following the last match of his career: What he and the other two members of that distinguished trio,
along with Serena Williams, managed to do was demonstrate that it is possible to dominate for decades, not merely years, at a time.
And the 41-year-old Federer, for one, thinks up-and-coming players can learn from the way he and the others of his era went about it, from their self-belief and attitudes about setting goals to their training, nutrition and other methods of ensuring longevity.
He laughed when relaying a conversation with Bjorn Borg, who is the captain of Team Europe at the Laver Cup, about what life was like back when he was winning his 11 major championships from 1974 to 1981 before retiring in his 20s. During an interview with The Associated Press this week, Federer recalled a conversation in which Borg talked about getting one weekly massage and maybe the occasional hot bath during his time on tour.