World number one Novak Djokovic has revealed he considered quitting tennis 10 years ago.

Djokovic won his first grand slam at the Australian Open in 2008, having lost to Roger Federer in his maiden major final appearance at the US Open the previous year.

By the time the Serbian arrived at the French Open in 2010 he had 17 ATP Tour titles to his name.

But he had lost four of his five major meetings with Federer and been beaten in his four grand slam contests against Rafael Nadal – the two players who were ahead of him in the rankings.

It was Jurgen Melzer who sent him packing from Roland Garros that year, though, as the Austrian 22nd seed battled back from two sets down to claim a shock victory.

It was a defeat that left Djokovic questioning his future in the sport.

"In 2010 I lost to Melzer in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros. I cried after being knocked out. It was a bad moment, I wanted to quit tennis because all I saw was black," Djokovic told Sky Sport Italia.

"It was a transformation, because after that defeat I freed myself.

"I had won in Australia in 2008, I was number three in the world, but I wasn't happy. I knew I could do more, but I lost the most important matches against Federer and Nadal.

"From that moment I took the pressure off myself, I started playing more aggressively. That was the turning point."

Djokovic has gone on to win 17 major titles and become the first player to taste success at all nine ATP Masters 1000 events.

One of his greatest achievements came at Wimbledon in 2019, when he defeated eight-time champion Federer in an epic that concluded with a tie-break after the pair were locked at 12-12 in the fifth set.

"It was one of the two most beautiful matches I've played, along with the final against Rafa in Australia in 2012. They are unique matches, everything happened," said Djokovic.

"From a technical point of view, Roger's game quality was excellent from the first to the last point – the numbers show that.

"I played the decisive points well, I didn't miss a ball in the three tie-breaks and maybe that was the first time in my career.

"These matches happen once or twice in a career and I am grateful to have been able to fight against a great like Roger in a prestigious arena like Centre Court at Wimbledon."

Roger Federer stands above any tennis player in history, according to fellow former world number one Andre Agassi.

Federer beat Agassi in four sets in the final of the 2005 US Open – the sixth grand slam of a career tally that now stands at 20.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have closed the gap on the Swiss great, with 19 and 17 to their respective names.

Tennis' ongoing hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic could compromise the prospects of Federer, now 38, adding to his overall haul, having last tasted slam glory at the 2018 Australian Open.

Six years ago, Agassi declared Nadal to be the best of all time but, in an interview with Bild, he reverted to the position he held after being bested by Federer at Flushing Meadows.

"Federer, without doubt," he said. "Nobody stood out from their opponents on the court as much as he did.

"I don't think [I would have had a chance against him at my best]. I played against him in the final of the 2005 US Open. I won a set – more was not possible."

Nowadays, Agassi admits he struggles to take a set off his wife and fellow tennis great Steffi Graf.

"She always wins," he added. "She has this healthy ambition. 

"It's also easier for Steffi to stay in shape than for me. She gets up in the morning, does sports and doesn't even have to think about it. 

"Everything looks so easy with her."

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi says tennis could be transformed by the improved relationships that have sprung from the coronavirus crisis.

Gaudenzi was speaking in the wake of Roger Federer suggesting a merger between the ATP and WTA, which respectively run the men's and women's tours, would bolster the game.

While former tour pro Gaudenzi gave away nothing in that respect, he believes all parties, including the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the grand slams, can learn from recent experiences.

Gaudenzi said: "Managing the current scenario is extremely complex, especially because of the nature of our calendar, the nature of our business.

"But I'm optimistic in general, by nature, and I try to see the positive side which has been a tremendous collaboration with the other grand slams and the WTA and the ITF.

"So all the bodies coming together and discussing the calendar, the way forward, player relief, and many, many other topics.

"So that could be the positive outcome of this, that finally the governing bodies of tennis and the grand slams get together and work collaboratively on the long-term future of the sport."

Federer spoke out on Wednesday, to a mixed response.

The 20-time grand slam winner said of a possible merger: "It probably should have happened a long time ago, but maybe now is really the time."

Writing on Twitter, Federer added: "These are tough times in every sport and we can come out of this with 2 weakened bodies or 1 stronger body."

The tennis tours are on hold until mid-July at the earliest, with the French Open having been moved to a September start and Wimbledon cancelled.

Roger Federer has been accused of pulling a stunt to win new Twitter followers after proposing a merger between the men's and women's tennis tours.

The surprising claim came from German Tennis Federation (DTB) vice-president Dirk Hordorff, who is well known for having coached Rainer Schuttler, Janko Tipsarevic and Vasek Pospisil.

Federer mooted the possibility this week of bringing both the ATP and WTA tours under the governance of a singular body, and he was backed by Rafael Nadal.

Swiss great Federer, who has won a record 20 men's grand slam singles titles, said a merger "probably should have happened a long time ago, but maybe now is really the time".

He suggested tennis could emerge stronger from the coronavirus pandemic with unified leadership and found support from the likes of all-time great Billie Jean King and reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep.

However, Hordorff, who alongside his coaching has built careers in business and sports administration, says Federer's suggestion lacked "substance" and questioned his motivations.

Hordorff told Stats Perform: "That's short thinking. That's not enough. It starts with the ITF [International Tennis Federation] and the grand slams. That's where you start.

"With a merger of ATP and WTA, no problem has been solved for the time being.

"It is also critical to demand this in these media-free times. He just needs more followers on his Twitter account. So, he uses a proposal without substance.

"I am in favour of discussing this whole issue with substance. But a message on Twitter can't seriously bring this forward."

Federer has 12.7million followers on Twitter, while the ATP has 1.5million and the WTA has 834,000. Wimbledon has 3.7million followers, more than any other grand slam.

Federer has gained only approximately 1,000 new followers since making his merger suggestion on Wednesday, according to analysis from the Socialbakers website.

Tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal think it is time for a merger of the ATP and WTA Tours.

Both the men's (ATP) and women's (WTA) professional games are suspended until at least mid-July due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Swiss great Federer pondered the possibility of bringing both tours under the governance of a singular body with a post on Twitter.

"Just wondering am I the only one thinking that now is the time for men's and women's tennis to be united and come together as one?" Federer asked.

"I am not talking about merging competition on the court, but merging the 2 governing bodies (ATP and WTA) that oversee the men's and women's professional tours."

Federer's long-time on-court adversary Nadal quote-tweeted his proposal and said he is in agreement.

He wrote: "Hey @rogerfederer as you know per our discussions I completely agree that it would be great to get out of this world crisis with the union of men's and women's tennis in one organisation."

Federer had expanded on his musings to a reply from a supporter's account, explaining that he feels bringing the tours together will provide greater clarity for followers.

"It's too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories," he wrote.

The COVID-19 outbreak is causing financial difficulties for professional players further down the rankings.

In a further post, Federer added: "It probably should have happened a long time ago, but maybe now is really the time. 

"These are tough times in every sport and we can come out of this with 2 weakened bodies or 1 stronger body."

Roger Federer and Andy Murray provided promising injury updates in an Instragram live session with Rafael Nadal, who quelled a myth during the chat with his fellow legends.

Prior to the ATP Tour going on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Federer underwent knee surgery in February and ruled himself out of the clay-court swing.

With Wimbledon cancelled due to the proliferation of COVID-19, tennis will not return until mid-July at the earliest and Federer said the extended break means there is no rush in his recovery.

"I've been hitting it a little bit against the wall," Federer said. 

"Rehab with the knee. It's okay. I had a really good first six weeks, then it was a bit slower, now it's getting better again, but I have plenty of time.

"So there is no stress, no rush, if there's anything positive, that's the only thing really. At the end of the day I just want the knee to be good, it doesn't matter when I return.

"I feel happy. I think after the second surgery. It's easier the second time around, but I don't need to experience a third one, that's for sure."

Murray has played just one competitive match since winning the European Open in October, a remarkable achievement after the Briton underwent hip resurfacing surgery.

The three-time grand slam winner will reassess how soon he can be back on the practice courts when the global health situation improves.

"It's good. I've been training a lot," Murray said.

"I'm still able to do lots of things but I haven't practised for five weeks, since everything started to get shut down here.

"So I've not hit any balls but I'm still doing lots of training and I feel pretty good so we'll see what happens when we're able to start doing things again."

When Federer had the chance to quiz Nadal a little, he asked the Spaniard about the origins of him playing left handed when it has always been said he could play with his right.

"That's just a legend. I can write with the right hand, my basketball skills are with the right, but not in the tennis court and not in football," Nadal replied.

"I started with two hands, backhand and forehand. So probably the people, because I was hitting two backhands, didn't know whether I was lefty or righty."

Murray and Nadal also exchanged memories of playing games consoles with one another, with the pair signed up to play a virtual Madrid Open starting on April 27.

With the two attempting to organise a practice session for Monday, Murray said: "I'm up for that, for sure, just not too late because I have to get up with the kids in the morning.

"I'm 6am every morning the kids are getting us up so enjoy your late nights and your lie-ins whilst you don't have kids!"

Nadal replied: "I hope to be in your situation in a not very long period of time."

Novak Djokovic revealed he had spoken to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal about a relief fund that would see up to $4.5million distributed to lower-ranked players.

The ATP Tour is suspended until at least July 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 160,000 people worldwide.

There are financial concerns for several sports, including tennis – particularly lower-ranked players with the season paused.

ATP Player Council president Djokovic said he had discussed a relief fund with fellow members Federer and Nadal.

"I spoke to Roger and Rafa a few days ago," he said during an Instagram Live with Stan Wawrinka on Saturday.

"We had a long conversation about the near future of tennis, what's going to happen, how we can contribute and how we can help, especially lower-ranked guys who are obviously struggling the most of anybody.

"Majority of the players who are ranked between, whatever, 200 and 250 to 700 or 1,000, don't have federation support, don't have sponsors so they are completely independent and kind of left alone.

"I'm really glad that ATP, grand slams now most likely, and players, hopefully, if we all get together, will contribute collectively to the player relief fund that ATP will distribute using certain models and criteria."

Djokovic added: "Right now, it looks like there's going to be hopefully somewhere between $3 million and $4.5 million, there is going to be distributed to these lower-ranking guys."

A 17-time grand slam champion, Djokovic said tennis needed to respect its lower-ranked players.

"I'm really glad that the tennis ecosystem is coming together because I think everyone realises the importance of the base of the tennis and these guys that are ranked from 250 onwards," he said.

"They are the ones that make the grassroots of tennis, that make the future of tennis and I feel we have to be united, we have to support them, we have to show them that they are not forgotten, that we are there for them.

"But also I feel we have to send a message to the younger generations that are taking in consideration to be professional players and to show them that they can live out of tennis even at the times when there is a pandemic and there is a financial crisis, that they still can rely on the support of the top guys of the ATP as a governing body, of the ITF, of grand slams."

Novak Djokovic insisted he did not expect to have the crowd on his side when playing Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.

A 17-time grand slam champion, Djokovic is still behind Federer (20) and Nadal (19) on the all-time list for majors won by men, while the Serbian still struggles for support compared to the Swiss and Spaniard.

In an Instagram Live with Stan Wawrinka on Saturday, Djokovic discussed why that was the case, accepting he would often find himself on the wrong side of the support against the duo.

"For sure one thing is that Roger is arguably the greatest player of all-time," he said.

"He's the guy that is liked around the world so I don't expect, to be honest, in most of the cases, as long as he's playing, the crowd to be majority on my side. Some places, maybe, but most of the places are going to support Roger and I'm okay with that because it's Roger.

"It's very similar situation with Rafa so it's hard for me to answer to that question. Why is it like that? Am I contributing to that in a negative way that I'm taking away the crowd support for me? I don't think so.

"I think it's more just the greatness of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and not just them as tennis players, but them as people, as very charismatic, nice guys, humble guys, great champions that have made a huge mark in our sport and I am part of their era, so in one way I am lucky and in another way maybe not so much."

Djokovic asked Wawrinka – a three-time grand slam champion – for his opinion on the matter.

The Swiss felt tennis needed something closer to a villain, a role the 32-year-old Djokovic assumed.

"I think it's a bit of for sure what you said that they are amazing champions like you are," Wawrinka said.

"I think in your young age you were a bit different of course like we all are and they took this spot already of the nice player, humble, always fair play and all. In a movie you cannot have three good guys, you need someone who's a bit against, you know what I mean? I'm saying that with a lot of respect.

"When you were all three younger, that's the direction that everybody took a little bit and now it affects a little bit right now."

Andy Murray is convinced Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are the greatest men's tennis players of all time - just don't ask him to put them in order.

The Scot might have had a stack more grand slam titles had it not been for the 'Big Three' of the modern era.

As well as his two Wimbledon triumphs, two Olympic golds and a 2012 US Open success, Murray has lost five major finals to Djokovic and three to Federer.

While Murray feels the likes of Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors would be competitive in this age, he sees his direct rivals as the best there have ever been.

Murray told Djokovic in an Instagram Live chat on Friday: "The thing that's special now is you have three guys who are playing at the same time, so you can compare them because - I wrote it down - you played 55 times against Rafa and 50 times against Roger, and Roger and Rafa played 40 times.

"So you have that many matches between the best players in the biggest tournaments - so you actually don't have to compare the generations, and I think the best three players are playing now.

"It's difficult to judge it. We don't know what's going to happen in the future, so we don't know what everyone is going to finish on slam-wise and how many matches everyone will have played and won against each other."

Addressing Serbian star Djokovic, Murray said: "Also in this conversation, which is maybe different to other sports because we have the different surfaces, is that to me right now you have Rafa's record on clay nobody competes with, Roger's current record at Wimbledon is the best, and your record on hard courts is the best.

"So because we have these different surfaces, it's difficult, and when people ask me what's the toughest match in your career, who are the hardest guys to play against, I'd be like... I feel like I'm competing against the best hard-court player ever, I've competed against the best clay-court player ever and the best grass-court player ever, so for me it depends on the surface."

Federer has 20 grand slam singles titles, Nadal has 19 and Djokovic landed his 17th at the Australian Open at the start of this season. The campaign is now on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Whenever tennis resumes, there will be a host of young players vying with the old guard for the biggest titles in the sport.

As Djokovic pointed out: "We are also not that young anymore.

"You have guys like Dominic Thiem, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas and [Alexander] Zverev, these guys they're maturing so quickly and they're ready - they're ready to get the grand slam titles and they're very close."

But Djokovic suspects it will be hard to budge the likes of himself, Federer and Nadal, as well as Murray and the Scot's fellow three-slam winner Stan Wawrinka.

He said: "When it comes to slams, I think it seems like we - including yourself and [Wawrinka] - you turn to another gear, because I think every next slam that keeps coming I feel more comfortable playing in. And I feel there's always even a bigger mental or emotional edge over the young guys coming in.

"Because you've played so many times you have the experience, you feel good in your own skin, it's really hard that anything really surprises you."

Matteo Berrettini still gets goosebumps when he thinks about being complimented by Roger Federer.

Despite starting 2019 outside the top 50, Berrettini ended the year with a place in the ATP Finals as the world number eight.

Titles in Budapest and Stuttgart, an appearance in the final in Munich and a run to the US Open semi-finals proved key to the Italian's remarkable ascendancy.

His impressive rise did not go unnoticed by Federer, who praised Berrettini's performances when they were in action at the Halle Open.

The 20-time major champion offered more words of encouragement when their first on-court meeting ended in Federer triumphing 6-1 6-2 6-2 in the fourth round of Wimbledon.

Berrettini told Stats Perform: "Before Wimbledon I played Stuttgart and Halle. I won Stuttgart whose defending champions was Federer.

"In Halle I met him and he complimented me. Before we only exchanged some hellos but to be complimented by him still gives me goosebumps.

"We didn't speak during Wimbledon because we were in the same half of the draw, so no tips. But then he told me: 'Congratulations for your grass season. Go on like this and you will go high.'

"Then we met again in London for the ATP Finals. He was very kind because we chatted during the famous boat trip from the hotel to the arena. We chatted about the holidays and his plans.

"The relationship with all of them is so weird. I grew up looking up to them, you know. But the relationship is good, they are special."

Berrettini will not get to continue his development on grass this season with the whole swing, including Wimbledon, cancelled due to the coronavirus.

The 23-year-old is disappointed he will not get to play at the All England Club, having gained a greater affinity for the surface following his displays in 2019.

"Without a shadow of a doubt, Wimbledon is my favourite slam. I reached the US Open semis but I regard Wimbledon as the temple of our sport," said Berrettini.

"I always say that in this place even people who are not experts or passionate about tennis, go there and get keen to be participating and playing. It is wonderful and its cancellation is very tough for us.

"It is a peculiar situation. It is on grass and in England where the weather is mostly rainy, they can play only in certain dates. They can't move it to November because in London it would be five degrees. That's why the cancellation.

"Until last year, though, my relationship with grass was not ideal at all. But since the Davis Cup tie in India, everything changed for me.

"Maybe I improved in some aspects, but I didn't even realise at the end of the season I had played many high-level games on that surface and now it is one of my favourite."

Tim Henman believes the enforced break from tennis could help Andy Murray, saying he hoped the Brit had "a few Wimbledons left in him".

Wimbledon was cancelled this year for the first time since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Murray was said to be nearing a return from a hip injury, having last played at the Davis Cup Finals in 2019.

Henman feels the break could be beneficial for two-time Wimbledon champion Murray, who turns 33 in May.

"He has missed so much tennis but perhaps [the break] will give him the opportunity – if his body and his hip enable him – to play longer, in age terms," he told UK media, via The Guardian.

"I remember playing with Agassi after Andre had 18 months out, for very different reasons, but he came back fresh and invigorated to play. He kept going until he was 36.

"In those days that was old for a top tennis player. I stopped when I was 33 and that was pretty old at the time, but with training techniques and injury prevention, players are certainly playing longer.

"You would like to think that if Andy's body permits and he still has the motivation that I think he does there can still definitely be a few Wimbledons left in him yet."

A player who appears closer to the end of his career is Roger Federer, with the 20-time grand slam champion turning 39 this year.

Henman – an All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) board member – said the Swiss great, who underwent knee surgery in February, would be shattered by the cancellation of Wimbledon.

"Someone like Federer, coming to the end of his career, is devastated but understands the decision," said Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist.

"It will affect a lot of people in a lot of different ways."

Rafael Nadal "doesn't give a damn about tennis right now", according to Toni Nadal, his coach and uncle.

The ATP and WTA Tours have been suspended until June due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the clay season effectively wiped off the calendar, with the French Open having been pushed back to September.

Wimbledon has also been cancelled, making 2020 the first time since the Second World War that the famous grass-court grand slam will not be held.

With the season on hold, the battle for the outright lead in major singles titles in the men's game has also been paused. Roger Federer has 20, with Nadal on 19 and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic on 17.

Given Federer's best chance of a major this year has arguably gone due to Wimbledon's cancellation, and with the French Open still due to go ahead, it has been suggested 2020 could finally be the year that the Swiss great is caught at the top of the standings by long-time rival Nadal.

However, Toni Nadal insists such things are far from his nephew's mind while the world battles against COVID-19.

Spain has been particularly badly affected, with more than 153,000 confirmed cases and over 15,000 fatalities.

"With the huge problem we have, all this has been forgotten," Toni Nadal told Mundo Deportivo. "It's secondary. Coronavirus is what counts, not tennis.

"We [Rafa and I] were talking and he told me he doesn't give a damn about tennis right now. That's logical if you have a little sensitivity."

Rafa, it seems, was given an indication of what the pandemic could bring when speaking to Bill Gates at a charity event in South Africa in February.

However, Toni has dispelled fears it could take some of the top players a long time to recapture their rhythm when tennis finally returns.

"I understand Bill Gates spoke to Rafa, who was with him and Roger Federer at the exhibition match in Cape Town," said Toni.

"They were chatting and at one point in the conversation, Bill Gates told my nephew that in two months, you wouldn't be able to travel. And so it is.

"When he was a kid, Rafael was away from playing for a week and then he had a hard time hitting the ball again. But from a certain age, with more experience, that's no longer the case.

"Because of injury, he could go up to three months without touching the racquet, but when he returned, he was fine in a week, or at most 10 or 15 days. This will be a similar situation."

The decision to move the French Open to a slot a week after the scheduled end of the US Open has caused some consternation but, again, Toni Nadal was keen to point to the bigger picture.

He added: "There are people who complained about not being consulted, but I'm not Roland Garros and I don't consult about it. 

"I said a few weeks ago that things were going to be totally stopped for a while. How do you want us to play tennis? It's unthinkable. It won't be played until there is a very clear security measure.

"If not, how do I go to an event? What if another wave [of infections] comes back in October? How many countries won't make restrictions on movement? How long will lockdown last? I don't know.

"Tennis is a sport that moves many people from one country to another."

Roger Federer challenged celebrities and fans to join in a volleying drill on social media on Tuesday.

With the ATP Tour suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 20-time grand slam champion looked to engage fans on social media.

In a video posted on Twitter, Federer – wearing a panama hat – volleyed a ball repeatedly against a wall at close range, and asked others to do likewise.

"Here's a helpful solo drill. Let's see what you got!" the Swiss great wrote.

"Reply back with a video and I'll provide some tips. Choose your hat wisely #tennisathome."

Many fans took up the challenge, with Federer replying to several efforts.

Roger Federer says he is "devastated" while Simona Halep was left feeling "so sad" following the decision to cancel Wimbledon.

Organisers announced on Wednesday that the 2020 tournament will not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ATP and WTA Tours have also been further suspended, with top-level tennis now not expected to resume until at least July 13.

Federer, who has won a record eight Wimbledon men's singles titles, had been planning to return to action in time for Wimbledon and the Olympic Games after undergoing knee surgery.

With both events now not taking place in 2020, the Swiss great tweeted to say he was "devastated" alongside a gif displaying the text 'There is no gif for these things that I am feeling'.

Reigning women's champion Halep was disappointed at missing out on the chance to defend her title this year, writing on Twitter: "So sad to hear Wimbledon won't take place this year.

"Last year's final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life! But we are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back! And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title."

Angelique Kerber, the 2018 champion, was left saddened to not only see Wimbledon and the Olympics called off but also the grass-court season as a whole.

"It goes without saying that I'm heavy hearted that the cancellation of the grass-court season also means that I won't be able to play in front of my home crowd in Bad Hamburg and Berlin..." she said.

"It's disappointing for me but also for all those who put their heart and soul into these events and for the fans who love our sport and support us players all year round.

"But I also know very well that there are more important things that we have to focus on right now and that professional sports have to take a step back for a while."

Rising American star Coco Gauff tweeted she would miss playing at the All England Club, while Petra Kvitova, winner in 2011 and 2014, said it was "definitely a tough one to take".

"Not only is it a special tournament to me, but it's a tournament that has been part of history for so long that it will leave a big hole in the calendar," Kvitova said.

"I will miss playing on the beautiful grass and wearing my whites, BUT of course we know it will be back better than ever next year. And maybe we will all appreciate it even more!"

In a message shared by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Milos Raonic insisted the decision was "the right thing we have to do with everything that's going on around the world right now".

Marin Cilic, finalist in 2017, added: "Enjoy yourself at home. Now is the time to do some things that you don't have so much time to do when you're not at home."

Wimbledon has been called off, a brutal blow to sport lovers, and its cancellation sends effects rippling through tennis.

The reality that Centre Court will lie empty through June and July will be a bitter pill to swallow not only for those with dreams of playing there for the first time, but to those who see it as a second home.

Superstars including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Simona Halep and Serena Williams will feel its loss to the calendar.

Here is a look at those who may be hardest hit by the loss from the calendar of a flagship grand slam.

Serena Williams

It seemed inevitable at one stage that Williams would catch and then pass Margaret Court's record haul of 24 grand slam singles titles, but she remains infuriatingly stuck on 23 majors, and the American all-time great will be 39 years old by the time she next gets the chance to challenge at Wimbledon.

The seven-time Wimbledon champion last reigned in SW19 in 2016, and her last singles slam came at the following year's Australian Open. Agonisingly, the prospect of Williams winning another slam has been immensely hit by this lay-off. Few can handle her grass-court game.

What too of sister Venus? The five-time Wimbledon singles queen will be 41 by the time next year's Wimbledon rolls around. Has she played her last match on grass?

Roger Federer

Federer gave himself an enormous chance in last year's Wimbledon final, when he failed to take two championship points against Novak Djokovic. It left him bereft in the aftermath, but this year Federer may have been able to feed off the knowledge he had been a whisker away, and another run deep into the second week was a realistic target for the eight-time champion.

It seems unimaginable Federer might have played his final match at Wimbledon - surely he will give 2021 a shot - but hopes of adding to his 20 slams have taken a clear hit. Like Williams, he will be 39 - and pushing 40 - by the time of next year's grass-court season.

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal

Snapping at the heels of Federer are Djokovic and Nadal, with both men bidding to leapfrog him atop the list of all-time men's slam champions: Serbian Djokovic is three behind Federer on 17, and Nadal is just one adrift of the Swiss.

Losing Wimbledon, and having no certainty the US Open and French Open will take place later in the year, may ultimately end up hurting Djokovic and Nadal more than Federer. Djokovic turns 33 in May, Nadal will be 34 in June, and it is important to remember Federer's longevity is a rare thing in tennis.

With a young generation emerging, missing out on majors and momentum at this stage of their stellar careers may make it difficult for Djokovic and Nadal to rediscover their dominant best when tennis returns. Federer's haul - a record for the men's game - may yet beyond the reach of his two greatest rivals.

Andy Murray

Two-time champion Murray made an emotional return to Wimbledon last year when he played doubles - partnering Serena Williams in the mixed. Injury had ruled the Scot out of the 2018 tournament and threatened his career, but Murray was targeting a singles slam comeback in 2020 and to have that rug pulled from beneath him is a cruel blow.

He also turns 33 in May, and Murray has already toyed with retirement. He would be forgiven for questioning whether putting himself through another year of hard graft to remain competitive is worth the physical toll.

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