Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been told that they are blocking the next generation of players from winning Grand Slams. The former coach of Daniil Medvedev claimed that the Russian and Alexander Zverev would have to wait until the two men retired before they could consistently taste success at the biggest tournaments in the sport despite Djokovic and Nadal’s increasingly reduced schedules.
Djokovic and Nadal split three of the four Grand Slam titles this year with the world No 2 winning the Australian Open and French Open before the Serb lifted his seventh Wimbledon crown. Only 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz was able to break their streak at the US Open with Djokovic absent and Nadal losing in the fourth round after returning from injury.
The next generation of players encompassing the likes of Medvedev, Zverev and 24-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas have been pushing to dethrone Djokovic and Nadal in recent years, with the former becoming the only player in his generation to win a Major by beating the world No 7 in the 2021 US Open final. But they have now been told that they must wait for the duo to retire before their era can truly begin.
Medvedev’s former coach confessed that the 35 and 36-year-old were blocking two of the biggest stars of the late-1990s generation from winning Majors, using this season as an example. Speaking to Sport Express Russia, Jean-Rene Lisnard said: “Look what happened even this year – Australia was won by Nadal, France by Nadal again, Wimbledon by Djokovic.”
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“So for more frequent Slam wins, Medvedev, Zverev and the whole next generation will have to wait until they finish,” Lisnard added. “It is enough for them to play ten tournaments a year – and they are still better than the rest.”
And Medvedev’s ex-coach also thought that it was impressive for the Russian to even come up against both men in Grand Slam finals. The 26-year-old lost to Nadal in the final of the 2019 US Open and 2022 Australian Open and was defeated by Djokovic for the 2021 Aussie Open crown before winning their 2021 US Open championship match. Lisnard said: “Let’s not forget who he lost these matches to – Djokovic, Nadal. These guys are just stronger. Even at 35-36 years old, they are able to be at the top of tennis.”