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Medvedev plays it safe in GOAT debate, picks ‘Big Three’


February 16, 2021

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – While fans and pundits continue to argue over who should be considered the greatest men’s tennis player of all time, Daniil Medvedev says he simply cannot separate Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the debate.

Nadal picked up a record-extending 13th French Open title to join Swiss Federer at the top of the list of men’s Grand Slam winners with 20 titles, while world number one Djokovic, the youngest of the trio at 33, lurks close behind with 17.

American Pete Sampras, who retired in 2002, is next on the list with 14 and many thought that mark would never be bettered.

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Russian world number four Medvedev, who has yet to win a major title, said the ‘Big Three’ had achieved things in tennis no one thought possible.

“For me, (I pick) all of the three because no matter how many Grand Slams they all have at the end of their career, what they did in tennis is amazing,” he said.

“I remember when Sampras beat the record of the Grand Slams, I was really young. I remember all the news, sports news, saying, ‘This record is forever’. Just like Messi and Ronaldo in football.

“Then the three guys came, they not only beat the record, they destroyed the record.”

Federer, who will be 40 in August, has not played since the 2020 Australian Open due to knee surgeries but Nadal, 34, and Djokovic are still in the hunt at Melbourne Park.

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“It’s amazing because, for example, me, I’m 25, I’m playing good tennis,” Medvedev, who has reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, told reporters. “I feel like I’m one of the top players in the world.

“I have zero slams. Imagine for me to get to 20, I need to win every slam five years in a row … Five years in a row I need to win every Slam against amazing opponents, five-set matches, not be injured.

“That’s ridiculous numbers. For me, they’re the three, for sure, greatest players in the history of tennis.”

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(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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