Rafael Nadal says the younger players on tour need more time before they can think of toppling himself, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have won 53 Grand Slam titles between them, and only few other players have won a major tournament for the last 15 years.
The next generation stars such as Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are expected to step into the trio’s shoes when they retire.
But they continue to fail on the biggest stage as both Zverev and Tsitsipas lost their opening matches at Wimbledon last week.
World No 2 Nadal is unsure if they are ready to bring an end to the dominance of the big three.
However, if they are given time and patience, the 18-time Grand Slam winner thinks they will prove their worth over the long term.
“No, I don’t know. Probably a good player, that there is couple of very good players on tour,” Nadal said of how his, Federer and Djokovic’s reign could be brought down.
“Yeah, couple of ones young. They need some time.” I don’t know. For me is not easy to answer this question because I am part of it. Difficult to have clear answer.”
“Honestly what we achieved in the Grand Slams, in tennis in general, during the last 14, 15 years is something special.”
“In the same moment, having three players that achieved that much is something difficult to repeat because we played more or less at the same time.”
“But here we are. Of course, going to come somebody going to beat us or we are going to leave because we are not young any more,” Nadal added.
Nadal is in Wimbledon fourth round action this afternoon against Joao Sousa on Centre Court, and he is hoping to get one over a familiar foe.
“We know each other very well. Practiced plenty of times together,” he added.
“He’s a player that when he’s winning matches, he’s a super dangerous opponent against everybody.”
“He is very quick, very good physical performance. He’s aggressive with his shots, he’s going for the shots all the time.”
“He’s a player that sometimes he lose matches during the whole year. But when he starts to have a positive dynamic, is very, very dangerous, no?” Nadal said.
“I think I saw him playing in Halle some great matches. Here I saw him play the other day against [Marin] Cilic. He was playing great.
“I don’t know what is going to happen this afternoon, but is going to be a tough one.”