In Summary
  • Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have kept a tight grip on the Majors over the past decade
  • Adding spice is the prospect of Nadal breaking through for only his second win in Melbourne to equal the 38-year-old Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slam wins
  • Federer's last Slam win was in Melbourne in 2018 and he lost to Tsitsipas in the fourth round last year

MELBOURNE

Novak Djokovic admits the next generation of players are edging closer, but tennis's Big Three remain one step ahead as they aim to extend their dominance at the Australian Open.

Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have kept a tight grip on the Majors over the past decade, with the Serb and the Swiss particularly prolific at the year's opening Grand Slam.

Between them they have won 13 of the last 16 tournaments at Melbourne Park. This year, defending champion Djokovic is gunning for his eighth crown and Federer his seventh, having last lifted the trophy in 2018.

Adding spice is the prospect of Nadal breaking through for only his second win in Melbourne to equal the 38-year-old Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slam wins.

All players may also have to deal with hazy conditions caused by Australia's raging bushfires, after practice was suspended on Tuesday when air pollution soared to hazardous levels.

"Obviously the Australian Open has been my favourite tournament. It's the tournament where I've played my best tennis," said Djokovic, who is coming off six straight wins during Serbia's victory at the ATP Cup.

"You have obviously Federer, Nadal, myself because of the experience and everything and the rankings, that we get to be probably named the top three favourites.

"But then you have (Daniil) Medvedev, (Stefanos) Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem that are really showing some amazing tennis," he added.

"So everybody keeps on talking about NextGen player winning a Slam. You know, it seems like it's getting closer. Hopefully not this year. We'll see."

As well as Medvedev, Tsitsipas, and Thiem, Spanish world number 10 Roberto Bautista Agut, who made the Wimbledon semi-finals last year, and Canadian young gun Denis Shapovalov could also be in the mix.

Grigor Dimitrov, once nicknamed 'Baby Fed' for his elegant style, is also playing well as he pursues his comeback from an injury-hit 2019.

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