Rafael Nadal admits Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic pushed him to work harder and constantly seek ways to get better. The Big Three, who have combined for 63 Grand Slams, are widely considered as the three greatest players in tennis history.
In 2003, Federer captured his first Grand Slam title and shortly after became the best player in the world. Then, Nadal showed up and Federer got a competition. In early 2008, Djokovic captured his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and that officially marked the start of the Big Three era.
The rest is history. “I think Roger, Novak and I have pushed each other, and somehow it’s never been enough, we’ve always had to make another effort. The competition has taken us to extreme mental and tennis levels, and this is one of the main reasons why we have continued for so long,” Nadal said.
Nadal does not want to call himself the GOAT
Nadal owns a record 22 Grand Slams and some feel he is the one that should be considered as the GOAT since he has the most Majors in tennis history.
However, Nadal insists that his legacy is more important than being the GOAT. “I don’t think about it. I think it’s something that takes a backseat. The important legacy is that all the people I have met during these 20 years of my career have a good human memory of me.
At the end of the day, the personal issue, education, respect and the affection with which you can treat people comes before the professional issue, because that is what remains [after you have retired],” Nadal said.
The Big Three recently lost one active member as Federer retired from tennis after the Laver Cup. Nadal and Djokovic were a part of Federer’s farewell as they also represented Team Europe at the Laver Cup. Federer was thrilled with how his farewell went and expressed his gratitude to everyone that made it a special send-off.