Former German Tennis player Andrea Petkovic thinks Roger Federer would have stopped at 17 Grand Slams if Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had not appeared. Federer was ruling the Tennis world in the mid 2000s when Rafael Nadal came along to challenge the Swiss Maestro.
After Nadal, Novak Djokovic also rose through the ranks and one of the best eras in the history of the game began. In fact, all the members of Big 3 have claimed that they pushed themselves in their respective careers and made each other better players.
The competition between the trio has always been intense and they have got the best out of each other on the tour. The rivalry between these three have always kept the tennis fans on the edge of their seats.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer finished his glorious career with 20 Grand Slam titles and played his last professional match in the Laver Cup in September 2022, teaming up Nadal. Currently, Novak Djokovic is the most successful player with 23 Majors whereas Rafael Nadal is hot on his heels with 22 Slams.
“That is a danger. If we put ourselves back into the shoes around 2009, when Roger Federer broke Pete Sampras’ number. If Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic hadn’t appeared on the tour, he would’ve stopped at 17 [Grand Slam titles]. 100%. We would’ve never seen these numbers,” declared the German on Tennis Channel’s Inside-In podcast.
“That’s the most important thing, not only in sports, in politics and art, wherever it is needed to create something really great, to create masterpieces, or to become the best at what you do, you need those rivalries.”
Before the Big 3 took the Tennis world by storm, Pete Sampras was the most successful male player with 14 Grand Slam titles.
Meanwhile, 35-year-old Petkovic feels the arrival of Sabalenka and Rybakina will be good for women’s world No 1 Iga Swiatek.
“I was so excited at the beginning of the year when Sabalenka won the Australian Open because I know from my personal experience and just from watching tennis for almost 20 years now, how important rivalries are,” said Petkovic.
“I was worried if Iga Swiatek just dominates the tour for the next three, four years, that she won’t get better and won’t improve as a tennis player. I was so excited when Sabalenka and Rybakina found that consistency and started winning those big tournaments.”
Novak Djokovic will be seen in action in the Cincinnati Masters before the US Open whereas Rafael Nadal continues his recovery from hip injury.