Alexander Zverev claims that the Next Gen players would have toppled tennis' big three from their mantle this season if it wasn't for the pandemic.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have dominated the sport for the past two decades as they have won 56 of the 69 Grand Slams.
The trio have been pretty ruthless in the Slams in the past few years as they have shared the last 13 majors with Djokovic and Nadal winning five each and Federer collecting three.
They have also monopolised the No 1 spot on the ATP Rankings since early 2004 with Andy Murray’s 41-week stint in 2016-2017 the only time that a non-Big 3 player was top of the rankings.
However, the likes of Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas have been challenging them in recent years, but they are yet to make the breakthrough.
Zverev, though, feels the young guns were close to overtaking the big guns before the hiatus.
“Without this crisis, I think that the Next Gen would have taken over the Big 3,” he is quoted as saying by We Are Tennis.
“The break is more of an advantage for the older ones. They have more experience and know exactly what they have to do. They will be fresher after the break.”
The world No 7 also told DPA in an interview that he had upped his game before the break and felt he was on the rise in terms of rankings.
“I felt that I was playing really well, that I was very close to the top at a Grand Slam tournament,” Zverev said.
“My serve was getting better and better, I felt really comfortable on the court. I also didn’t have a lot of (ranking) points to defend. So of course it’s bitter, I could have risen in the ranking. But there are more important things at the moment.”
- TEAMtalk media