Nick Kyrgios has asked not to be looked as the next superstar of tennis once Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all call time on their illustrious careers. The past two decades have been dominated by the ‘Big Three’ with Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka also up there having won three major titles each.
But Federer has not played a competitive match on tour for 12 months now after undergoing a third knee surgery while Nadal had to withdraw from Wimbledon yesterday with a stomach tear. Djokovic has also had his fitness issues in recent years with the Serbian the youngest of the three at 35 years old.
It’s inevitable that they will eventually call time on their incredible careers with all three winning a remarkable 62 majors between them. It’s only recently that Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev stopped the run of no new Grand Slam champion.
The last time someone won their first ever Grand Slam title at Wimbledon was back in 2001 when Goran Ivanisevic upset the odds to triumph as a wildcard. Kyrgios now has an excellent chance to break that run himself and some have already tipped the 27-year-old to go on a run of winning multiple slams to match his undoubted talents.
But the Aussie doesn’t want any expectations put on his shoulders to carry the torch once Federer, Djokovic and Nadal leave the sport. “I don’t think anyone’s able to fill those shoes, to be honest with you,” Kyrgios said.
“We’ve got a great crop of young players coming up. Alcaraz is unbelievable. Sinner, you saw what he’s able to do. So many younger guys. Even Nakashima, the way he played this tournament.
“I don’t think that myself or those guys are able to fill those shoes. We’ll never see a competitor like Rafa again. You’ll never see someone wield a racket like Roger, so effortlessly.
“You’ll never probably see anyone who just wins and just plays the game just so good as a winner than Djokovic. I don’t think anyone will fill those shoes. Once they’re gone, I’m not sure.
“I feel like if I ever am able to lift a Grand Slam trophy, like, please don’t put the pressure on me to do another one. Like, I’m not… No, I don’t know if anyone’s going to fill those shoes.
“It’s going to be a sad day when they go. I did a podcast and I said, like, I feel like humans, we take for granted how good athletes are at times.
“LeBron, for instance, in NBA, he’s been around for 18 years, 19 years almost, at the top of the sport, and we still criticise him. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, these guys are, like, so rare.”