Competition on Big 3: a "different gear than the rest" on major stages

Competition on Big 3: a "different gear than the rest" on major stages

While players have been able to defeat Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in 2019, dethroning the trio in best-of-five sets continues to be an overwhelming task.

The dominance of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in major tournaments remains a popular topic of discussion for established and rising players to weigh in on, pointing to the Big 3's ability to continually step up in the most significant moments.

ATP veteran Pablo Cuevas, who has been as high as No. 19, says they are still at a higher level than other players on tour.

"People say they are very good mentally, but they are very good at everything," the 33-year-old said recently in Spanish. "They have a different gear than the rest."

Where this is most evident is at the majors, notes Roberto Bautista Agut. The 31-year-old Spaniard had defeated Djokovic twice this season but fell to the Serb in the semifinals of Wimbledon.

"If you meet them in other tournaments, you have more chances to match or beat them," he told Las Provincias in an interview this week.

"In the Grand Slams, they play with a lot of force, because they focus their seasons on those tournaments. Five sets, they have more time to react and show their weapons—having been on top for so long, they now also have an edge in experience. In London, I reached my first Grand Slam semifinal and Djokovic had 25 or 20."

Chile's Nicolas Jarry, the 23-year-old who just won his first ATP title at Bastad, agreed but believes the next generation of players are improving, even if they are still behind Djokovic, Nadal and Federer.

"They are incredible," he told EFE. "Everything off the court has improved, the recovery and so on. That allows them to play longer. Little by little, we're doing it. Several have won [against them] at some point. Each time, the mental part is important. They have it, and the youth have to find it."