Rivalry, the root of the ‘Big Three’

Rivalry, the root of the ‘Big Three’

God, it kills me.” The best player in the world, a perfect Swiss, elegant, imperturbable and endowed with a refined technique, a man of 27 years, broke down in tears during the presentation of the trophies of the Open of Australia in 2009. The final had lasted nearly four and a half hours.. After five sets, the match had ended like the 2008 Wimbledon and Roland Garros finals. Rafael Nadal beat it again.

Tears welled up inside her. There are heartbreaking defeats. In fact, it is the fifth consecutive title that the Majorcan has won for him, counting those of Monte Carlo and Hamburg. Not to mention that it hadn’t even been six months since Nadal himself had dethroned him from ATP number 1, a throne he had been screwed to since 2004. Australia was the final straw that made overflow the vase. He couldn’t hold back.

Nadal had beaten him on French soil – the private domain of the Spaniards – in his own London garden and now on neutral territory, at the antipodes. The Balearic saw him so moved that he hardly dared to smile or celebrate. “I’m sorry for Roger. I feel very bad for him, but at the same time I thank him for everything,” he said after leaving him without the 14th Grand Slam, with which he would have equaled Sampras.

A few years earlier, in 2007, history had not yet turned around. After beating 21-year-old Nadal, it was the Swiss who took pity. “You also deserved to win,” he said.

Who was going to tell Federer that after those sorry tears he would avenge himself in June and July of the same year by winning his first and only Roland Garros and his sixth Wimbledon, with which he beat Sampras.

With that respect and admiration they have always treated each other in the Big Three, a healthy and exemplary rivalry from the golden age of tennis. Federer was the root of the tree, Nadal is the trunk and Djokovic represents the branches. The three, who total 63 major tournaments, the three that led Switzerland, Spain and Serbia to win the Davis Cup, have increased the passion and enthusiasm for the racquet. The three will play together in the European Laver Cup squad from September 23-25.

All three on the same side of the net. Like Jordan, Magic and Bird. A beautiful epilogue to a story that began in 2004 in Miami when Nadal surprised Federer in his first duel. You have to look for the last Rafa-Roger in the semi-finals of Wimbledon 2019. A year later, in the semi-finals from Melbourne, Djokovic crossed paths with Federer for the last time. There won’t be any more. Is the final.




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