The Big Three, and their legacies, are making the headlines, and much news, lately. The question of legacy must certainly occupy space in the minds of Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer too. Neither is a spring chicken and Federer, in fact, will hit forty soon.
Djokovic says, his legacy drives his tennis now.
Novak Djokovic, apparently, is not particularly interested in winning matches and tournaments anymore but in creating a lasting legacy! That’s a bummer, because his fans want to see him compete and run ragged to fetch unreachable balls.
“It’s always about finding the purpose, Djokovic said at the Abu Dhabi exhibition event. “For me, especially for couple of years, it’s not only about winning a tennis match or a trophy. It had to be something greater than my own achievements. Something that would be related to legacy, something that would be inspiring others, particularly kids.”
Where does Djokovic stand in the issues surrounding The Big Three and their legacies?
How does Djokovic intend to create a lasting legacy, if not by overtaking Roger’s and Nadal’s total slam count? And, to beat Roger’s and Rafa’s slam count would require winning matches and slams. Djokovic is not the most graceful player to watch, and neither is he the most prolific tournament winner in tennis.
Nadal’s legacy as the greatest clay court player is secure.
Nadal’s legacy as the greatest clay court player is secure for the near foreseeable future. It will take a while for someone to break that record, much like Federer’s 237 consecutive weeks as the World’s number one.
Nadal is a beast on the clay and his prospects of overtaking Federer in the slam count is merely a by-product of his 12 French Open wins. He is good on all surfaces but exceptional on the clay and, irrespective of his slam count, will always be known as the King of Clay.
Roger Federer will go down as the most graceful player to watch.
And, Roger’s legacy as a graceful ballerina (not ballerino) on the tennis court will remain untouched for posterity to relish. Tennis aficionados, even hundred years from now, will watch Federer’s recordings to soak in the grace and beauty of tennis. Records are created to be broken but “graceful beauty” – beyond just grace and beauty – is everlasting. It is memorialized in stories, such as Roger Federer as Religious Experience, Cleopatra, and Helen of Troy, for posterity to read and recount.
We, at 138mph, truly believe that Federer’s records and winnings are not a patch on his graceful beauty on the court. His winnings and records have helped him showcase his graceful tennis to the world. And, the world will not get over it for decades, and even centuries, to come.
The Big Three and their legacies.
At the end of 2030, not many will care about the number of times Djokovic beat Nadal or Federer, or lost to Andy Roddick. Most, however; will remember and recount the feats of the maximum slam, French Open, Wimbledon, and tournament winners. Most would either know or search for the player with most weeks at number one. And, many a ballads will be penned about the player who mesmerized with magic on the court. Heck, many would flock over to Youtube, or whatever exists then, to watch beautiful poetry on the tennis court.
Djokovic, in the matter of legacy, is playing the third wheel to the two greats, and the only way to leave his mark would be to overtake them both in the slam count. And, that would require him to win a lot more, for a few more years. Djokovic needs to know this, and pronto.