Andy Murray is a "gladiator" and his love for tennis means he could yet prolong his career, according to former world number eight Diego Schwartzman.

Murray has endured a difficult few years with injuries, undergoing surgery on both hips in 2018 and 2019.

The three-time major champion has repeatedly said he is approaching the end of his career, revealing in February that he does not "plan on playing much past this summer".

Murray is currently preparing for what will likely be his final appearance at the French Open, having sat out five of the last six tournaments at Roland-Garros.

Schwartzman, however, feels Murray's love for the game could lead to him playing on for longer than anticipated.  

"His life is tennis and I think he enjoys it. I think this is his legacy," Schwartzman – who won his only tour-level meeting with Murray in Antwerp in 2021 – told Stats Perform.

"No matter what you do, your age or how you are doing, if you really love the sport and you love what you do, you can do it and you can push hard for as many years and as many tournaments as you want.

"He's a fighter, a gladiator, and he's been doing the same since he was very young, and for us also, sharing tournaments and sharing moments, he has the passion out there. 

"So, it's good to see these kinds of guys because tennis always needs guys who love the sport, and this is the one for sure."

Murray would surely have added to his one US Open title and two Wimbledon crowns if not for the presence of the 'big three' of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The Scot has lost five grand slam finals to Djokovic and one to Federer. 

Schwartzman says the importance of preparation is the main thing he learned from being on tour with those three greats, though he refused to say who was the greatest of all time. 

"I know them very well, playing them on court, outside of the court," the Argentine added. "The good thing for me and many guys who share the tournaments with them is how differently they prepare the tournaments.

"How differently they do things with food, with practice, with everything. It's crazy.

"I think, okay, 'in one small way he's the best to do this side of the game', and then the other one is the best [at another aspect], so it's not my thing, who the GOAT is."

Novak Djokovic is the greatest male tennis player of all time, according to Marcos Baghdatis.

Djokovic is the most decorated player in the history of the men's game, boasting 24 grand slam triumphs over a magnificent career. Even with Djokovic turning 36 in 2023, the Serbian won three of the four majors on offer throughout the year.

Rival Rafael Nadal, who has the second most grand slam titles among male players with 22, recently conceded Djokovic is the greatest ever.

Baghdatis agrees with Nadal that Djokovic's numbers make him the best of all time, with the 2006 Australian Open runner-up telling Stats Perform: "I think that yes, Rafa is right. He's the GOAT [greatest of all time].

"I mean, statistically, he has the best history written in tennis. Of course, he has written more history than any other player.

"It's tough to say who is the best and who's not. I can say, the three players from Rafa, Roger [Federer] and Djokovic, I think he [Djokovic] is the most complete, if you understand what I mean.

"He's still there, he's still winning matches, still winning Grand Slams.

"So yeah, he's the best of all time because of the stats, but it's very hard to just get the other two out."

Djokovic, Nadal and Federer are often referred to as the 'big three', and Baghdatis believes the trio helped to move tennis forward. However, he also says Andy Murray deserves greater recognition despite failing to match his rivals' grand slam accomplishments.

"I cannot take Andy Murray out of there," Baghdatis said. "Because, you know, he was always taking them to their limits too.

"I think it's a package that these four people changed the sport for the better. Yeah, they helped each other improve themselves, but at the same time, they helped so many other players improve themselves and be better at what they do. So they left a legacy behind."

With Federer retired and Djokovic and Nadal in the latter stages of their careers, Carlos Alcaraz is seen by many as the next potential legend of the sport, having already claimed US Open and Wimbledon glory.

While Baghdatis feels Alcaraz is a great talent, he also believes other youngsters deserve credit, saying: "I'm not saying that Alcaraz cannot [become a legend], of course he has a shot at it. 

"He's young. I think he's great for tennis, he has great energy on the court, a great personality.

"I think maybe right now he's the best of his generation, let's say, but Jannik Sinner, Holger Rune are coming up, [Daniil] Medvedev is still there.

"But it's going to be very tough. I think he has a shot. It's going to be very, very tough to achieve what they [the big three] have achieved."

Novak Djokovic could still win three majors next year but Gilles Simon reminded tennis fans the world number one is not "eternal" as he heads towards the end of his career.

Djokovic triumphed in three of the four majors in 2023, with September's US Open success taking him level with Margaret Court's record 24 grand slam triumphs.

Defeating Daniil Medvedev in the final, Djokovic – aged 36 years and 111 days – became the oldest winner of the men's singles title at the US Open, as well as winning a trio of majors in a year for the fourth time.

That saw him surpass Roger Federer – who won three grand slams in a year on three occasions.

Simon, though, warned that Djokovic cannot play on forever.

He told Stats Perform: "I think he can win some [majors, but] I think he's getting to an age where it is going to become difficult.

"Most of the observers want to believe that a player is eternal but none are more eternal than the others.

"I think he can win a lot next year; will he win one, two or three? Next year he can do one more big year, but I also think that it will be his last."

 

The 36-year-old Djokovic acknowledged the retirement speculation after his US Open victory, asking how long he can continue.

Simon likened the twilight of Djokovic's career to fellow great Federer, whose playing days were curtailed by injury and fitness issues.

"At one point like every player there's going to be a break, that was the case for Roger Federer, remember when he won in Australia at the age of 37 playing incredible tennis," Simon added.

"At Wimbledon, he could have won because he lost against Novak Djokovic on match point. Time never had a grip on him, he had never been injured, he played really well, and then all of a sudden he disappears."

Another of tennis' 'Big Three', Rafael Nadal has not played since January 18 at the Australian Open – again owing to injury problems as years of toiling on the court takes its toll on even the best.

"We have Rafael Nadal who we hope to see again next year, who got us accustomed to more traditional injuries, longer injuries and with doubts," Simon continued.

"Once again he wins the Australian Open, he wins at Roland Garros even with his history with his foot, he again has a semi-final at Wimbledon.

"We say no about Novak because he is more careful, but we said the same about Federer, he expends less energy, he has a more fluid game and technique, he preserved himself from injury.

"I think next year will be very interesting because it’s a year where he can again win, where he still has an advantage [ahead of the rest] but we saw him lose against [Carlos] Alcaraz at Wimbledon.

"I thought he would have more advantage on grass because of the experience he has compared to others and his game works so well on grass – but he is beatable."

Age has shown no sign of slowing Djokovic down yet after he lifted the Paris Masters trophy for a seventh time on Sunday, defeating Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets.

That victory marked his second hard-court ATP-1000 title of 2023, Djokovic managing multiple Masters titles in a single season for the ninth time in his career. Only Federer, having won multiple such events in a year six times in his time, can get near to that feat.

Yet Simon suggested 30 major triumphs may be out of Djokovic's reach due to the emergence of Alcaraz, who won at Wimbledon this year, and a gruelling schedule.

"He's so strong he knows how to prepare himself, but he can't do a series of tournaments," said the Frenchman, who won 14 career titles and reached a high of number six in the ATP rankings.

"If everything was going well he would be playing every week like when he was 25 years old, so that is what is missing.

"He looks after himself, ultra-professional and very strong. The US Open was important for him, I see him maybe doing one or two next year, but I am waiting to see for the next few years after that.

"I can't see him reaching 30 [majors] for example when Carlos Alcaraz could win two or three a year – I wish it for him but I don't see it like that."

The Rolex Paris Masters became the first Masters 1000 to broadcast its qualifying matches on Twitch, live on Rivenzi's channel.

Novak Djokovic's status as the greatest of all time is unharmed despite his Wimbledon final defeat, says Marion Bartoli.

Djokovic's hopes of winning a fifth straight Wimbledon title and a joint-record eighth overall were ended by a superb performance from Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won in five sets to clinch a second grand slam despite only turning 20 in May.

Now 36, Djokovic has won 23 grand slams, more than any other male player, and though he missed the chance for a record-extending 24th at SW19 last weekend, Bartoli maintains his position as the greatest ever cannot be questioned. 

"If you have three or four more grand slams than anyone else, how can you even start the conversation?" she told Stats Perform. "The conversation is over.

"You can sort of go into more details with the surface but overall, especially when you look at the head-to-head and we know that Novak is leading the head-to-head against Roger [Federer] and against Rafa [Nadal].

"We know he's leading on the weeks at number one in the world. We know he has won all the grand slams three times and even more. You know, we know all those numbers. So then, what else do you need?"

For all of Djokovic's success, he has not always proved the most popular of players, in stark contrast to his 'Big Three' rivals Federer and Nadal.

Bartoli does not feel this plays into the conversation of who is the best ever and believes Djokovic can continue to challenge for grand slams in the coming years despite his advanced age. 

"If it's then how much you're liked by the crowd," Bartoli said. "That is something that is, you know, not a fact. That's purely an emotion, so you can't judge based on emotions.

"Even now, when you split the first three grand slams [of 2023] only with two players [Djokovic and Alcaraz], it's fair to say that the rest of the field is not quite at the same level as them, so Novak can sustain that level [at the top for longer]."

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic are clearly ahead of the rest of the men's singles field, but Marion Bartoli believes both can be caught.

Alcaraz denied Djokovic a fifth straight Wimbledon title last weekend with a stunning five-set victory at SW19, to secure the 20-year-old Spaniard a second grand slam title.

As a pair, Alcaraz and Djokovic have now won the last five grand slams stretching back to last year's Wimbledon, and Bartoli feels they are far ahead of the chasing pack.

The former Wimbledon champion however suggests that gap could motivate others to work on their own game in order to catch up.

"Very much, when you look at the first three grand slams [of 2023], it's clear that there is Novak, Carlos and the rest and there is quite a gap between those two and the rest," she told Stats Perform.

"That's quite obvious with the results. That said, I think that's going to push them to sort of catch back just like Novak did with Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal].

"With [them] having more Grand Slams than him and wanting to be part of the conversation, that just pushed him to elevate his level.

"I think it's going to be the case on the ATP. I don't think the guys are going to look at Carlos and Novak saying 'Oh my god, they're just untouchable, and we're going to lose to them'.

"I think they're going to really try hard. Especially I can see [Holger] Rune, I can see [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, I can see [Daniil] Medvedev, all those and [Jannik] Sinner, being very eager and very hungry to just go and chase.

"I'm sure they can actually push them to work harder on their game to come up with something even better. So I don't see it as a runaway completely and there is no opposition.

"I think maybe it's going to take a little bit of time before they reach that level, but I just don't think it's going to be that easy in a way for Novak and Carlos to just win everything without having a say from the other players."

Bartoli, who won at SW19 in 2013 before retiring in 2018, believes Alcaraz has taken the best qualities of the 'Big Three' of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer and feels he is one of those spearheading a new era in tennis.

"In the eras before, when you look at Pete Sampras, and all those players, it was one way to play and then if you would take that play away it was a lot more difficult for them," she explained. 

"If you take Alcaraz for me, what is very interesting is he has almost the best of Novak, Roger and Rafa combined and that is new. I think it's very much sort of total tennis, when you feel there is just not one department that maybe is lacking a little bit.

"There is a lot of players from this or sort of the past generation that are not that complete, who are really going to suffer against those new kids like Alcaraz, Rune and Sinner who are coming in and just having nothing you feel that they could really do better.

"In that sense, I think that's going to be the new sort of tennis we will see for the next 10 to 20 years."

Andy Murray has "done it all" and should be acclaimed in the same vein as greats Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, according to Mark Philippoussis.

Friday marked the 10-year anniversary of Murray capturing the first of his two Wimbledon titles, with the Scot beating Djokovic in straight sets to win the 2013 final.

Murray's return of three major titles fails to compare to those of the 'Big Three', with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer boasting 23, 22 and 20 grand slam singles triumphs respectively.

However, Murray can also count two Olympic gold medals – won in 2012 in London and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro – among his achievements. 

While Nadal won gold in the singles tournament at the 2008 Games, the now-retired Federer only captured gold in the doubles event, alongside Stan Wawrinka in 2008.

Djokovic, meanwhile, took singles bronze in Beijing but is yet to win gold, and Philippoussis feels Murray's record across various tournaments means he should be considered among the greats.

Asked about Murray's accomplishments, two-time grand slam finalist Philippoussis told Stats Perform: "If you look at the numbers, as far as what he's won, he's actually one of the only guys to win everything. 

"He's won [a] grand slam, he's won the Davis Cup, he's won an Olympic gold. 

"He's done it all, and when you talk about the greats like Djokovic, Federer and Rafa, they haven't all won every single thing. 

"I think Roger has won the Davis Cup and he's won gold, but I think he won it in doubles, not singles, if I'm not mistaken. 

"He [Murray] is one of the only ones who have done that, and to win your home slam as a Brit at Wimbledon – the biggest one – the pressure must have been incredible, then to have done it at home with the Olympic gold as well."

Murray was unable to mark the anniversary of his maiden Wimbledon triumph with a win, as he slipped to a 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 4-6 defeat to fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a delayed second-round contest on Centre Court.

Mark Philippoussis still holds frustrations over his defeat to Roger Federer in the 2003 Wimbledon final.

Thursday, July 6 marks 20 years since Philippoussis went down 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-3) to a then 21-year-old Federer at the All England Club.

That defeat saw Philippoussis' second chance at winning a major title pass by, and also marked the first grand slam success of Federer's incredible career.

Federer would win a further 19 major titles, including another seven at Wimbledon, before he retired last year.

Reflecting on that loss 20 years ago, Philippoussis told Stats Perform that seeing Federer go on to enjoy so much success did not ease the pain.

"No, no, I think a loss is a loss and unfortunately, no one really remembers the runners-up," he said.

"I'm always going to be proud of those couple of weeks, and Wimbledon was always my favourite event of the year and my dream as a kid. I came close but close wasn't good enough."

Philippoussis does have immense pride in his run to that final, though.

He added: "It was a very proud day. It was my dream, one of my dreams as a kid was hopefully one day, not only just play on that Centre Court, but play that last Sunday match and have that walk on that Centre Court.

"I was lucky enough to do that walk. Of course, going all the way and losing in the final hurts, I'm not going to lie, especially where I believe that I had some opportunities in that first set.

"It wasn't meant to be but I'm very proud of that."

Asked if he believed at that moment Federer would ultimately become one of the greatest players of all time, Philippoussis said: "He always had that talent. He was number three in the world at that stage. It's not like he came out of nowhere.

"He was someone that everyone was looking up to, that was capable of being a grand slam champion and number one in the world, but did I think he was going to go ahead and win over 20 grand slams?

"I thought that maybe Pete Sampras was going to hold on to that [record of] 14 for a little while, but just the way Federer dominated for years after that was amazing."

Federer's eight titles in the men's singles is a Wimbledon record. Sampras and Novak Djokovic, who is seeded second at the current tournament, are one behind him on seven.

Novak Djokovic reached yet another milestone as he continued his quest for an eighth Wimbledon title.

Victory for the Serbian over Australia’s Jordan Thompson in the second round meant he became only the third player in history, along with Roger Federer and Serena Williams, to clock up 350 match wins at grand slams.

The 23-time major champion, bidding to equal Federer’s record of eight titles in SW19, was never at full throttle against world number 70 Thompson.

He broke serve just twice but still registered a relatively routine 6-3 7-6 (4) 7-5 victory, extending his record Centre Court winning streak to 41 matches – his last defeat coming to Andy Murray in the 2013 final.

Djokovic, also chasing the calendar grand slam and bidding to become Wimbledon’s oldest men’s singles champion at 36, said: “Centre Court has been the most special court for our tennis history. I truly try to marvel and enjoy every moment I spend on the court.

“It’s a huge privilege at this stage of my career when I’m trying to push the young guns. We have a very special, romantic relationship, me and this court.”

Djokovic will face either Tomas Martin Etcheverry or former grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka in round three.

Federer, who retired last year and visited Wimbledon on Tuesday, has no doubt his mark is about to be equalled by Djokovic.

He told CNN: “I think he’s the big, big favourite. Honestly, I think it’s great for him. I had my moments.

“For me, having won my eighth or my fifth in a row or whatever it may be, that was my moment.

“So if somebody equals that or passes that, this is their thing, their moment.”

Ninth seed Taylor Fritz finally won his first-round match, two days after it started.

Bad light, and then Tuesday’s rain, meant the American and Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann resumed on Wednesday at 3-2 in the fifth set, and Fritz took it 6-4 2-6 4-6 7-5 6-3.

Former world number three Dominic Thiem was a set up on Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas when the rain forced them off at lunchtime on Tuesday.

But in a late evening thriller on Court Two, Tsitsipas won a deciding match tie-break at 6-6 in the fifth set to set up a second-round meeting with Andy Murray.

American Frances Tiafoe, seeded 10, was a straight-sets winner over Wu Yibing of China.

But while they are through to round two and Djokovic is already safely in round three, spare a thought for Alexander Zverev, the 19th seed who is still yet to play his first-round match against Gijs Brouwer.

Carlos Alcaraz emerging as a contender for Novak Djokovic's world number-one crown leaves tennis "in good hands" after Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's impact lessened.

That was the message from two-time major finalist Mark Philippoussis, who believes Alcaraz has what it takes to hold off Djokovic in the battle for the men's top spot.

Alcaraz triumphed at The Queen's Club on Sunday to move back to the top of the ATP rankings, with the 20-year-old seeing himself as a favourite to win at Wimbledon.

Jeremy Chardy will be Alcaraz's first opponent at the grass-court major on Tuesday and former player-turned-coach Philippoussis believes the Spanish youngster has all the skills to down Djokovic.

Philippoussis told Stats Perform: "I think the sport is in good hands. He's somebody that has his mind on looking to take over but looking to do it right now and not just wait until Djokovic has gone.

"Djokovic got to number one, Alcaraz took it back just now by winning Queen's, and by him winning Queen's, it just shows where his mind is.

"He's another guy that has been a grand slam winner and number one in the world, he's always looking to improve.

"He's still looking to improve in every way, he's got a great team around him, and he's doing the right things on and off the court.

"He's continuing to try and improve his net game, along with moving to the net more and mixing up with serve and volley on the grass and it is shown by winning Queen's."

Alcaraz and Djokovic have faced off twice so far, with the latter winning at Roland Garros this year after falling foul of the boy wonder in Madrid last year.

Nadal and Federer were long the challengers as tennis' 'Big Three' alongside Djokovic, but with the injuries curtailing their careers Alcaraz's excellence has somewhat filled the void.

Spanish veteran Nadal has not played a singles match since January at the Australian Open, with his troublesome injury record ruling the 37-year-old out of the French Open and Wimbledon.

Nadal is expected to retire next year, and Philippoussis lauded the 22-time major winner for the legacy he will leave behind when that time comes.

"I mean, it speaks for itself. He is so well loved and respected, and then what he's done in tennis, he is one of the all-time greats," Philippoussis added. 

"It is as simple as that, and somebody that tennis will miss, one of those personalities that we will miss greatly but he's definitely paved the way for a lot of generations from behind him to look up to."

Andy Murray will not be the only men’s grand slam champion to grace Centre Court on Tuesday as Wimbledon prepares to celebrate Roger Federer.

Federer, who announced his retirement last September, will have his achievement of winning a record eight grand slam titles in SW19 recognised during a special ceremony before the action on Centre Court begins at 1.30pm.

After Federer’s appearance, the focus will turn to defending champion Elena Rybakina and later Australian Open winner Aryna Sabalenka, who is back for the first time since 2021 after last year’s ban on Russian and Belarussian athletes.

Murray takes on fellow Briton Ryan Peniston while Cameron Norrie gets his tournament under way and world number one Carlos Alcaraz is involved in an action-packed second day of the 2023 championships.

Order of PlayBrit Watch

A bumper day of British tennis is in store with nine home hopes in action. Murray’s match with Peniston is second on Centre Court while Norrie’s clash with Tomas Machac is scheduled last on Court One.

Elsewhere, Britain’s number one female Katie Boulter opens Court 18 against Daria Saville, while Heather Watson – who reached the fourth round last year – will try and topple 10th seed Barbora Krejcikova.

George Loffhagen, Arthur Fery and Sonay Kartal are also scheduled for action, while Dan Evans will return to complete his first-round match after bad light forced him off just after he had slipped two sets down to France’s Quentin Halys.

Match of the day

Stefanos Tsitsipas opens his Wimbledon campaign against former US Open champion Dominic Thiem in one of several mouthwatering ties on the second day of the 2023 Championships.

It represents a tricky draw for fifth seed Tsitsipas, who made the Australian Open final in January but traditionally struggles on the English lawn and has only made the fourth round on one occasion in five appearances.

Austrian Thiem has endured a torrid time since his Flushing Meadows win in 2020, plagued by wrist injuries in particular, and has not played this grand slam since 2019. Nevertheless, he will relish the chance to put his name back in the headlines on Court Two.

Queue storm to rumble on

Day one saw lengthy queues and a number of Wimbledon fans decide to give up on their attempts to see some of the action in SW19.

Organisers later confirmed increased security, in place due to fears over protests, had resulted in entry via the queue being slower than past years, with club executive Sally Bolton acknowledging Just Stop Oil’s presence at recent sporting events had raised alarm bells for the All England Club.

Spectators set for day two will hope for a more slick process on Tuesday.

Weather

Wimbledon will celebrate Roger Federer’s achievements at the All England Club with a special ceremony on Centre Court on Tuesday.

The eight-time champion, who announced his retirement last September, will visit the scene of many of his greatest moments and be honoured before the start of play.

Chief executive Sally Bolton announced the news, saying: “I’m pleased to say that Roger will be with us tomorrow and we will have a special celebratory moment on Centre Court before play starts just to honour him as the man holding the most gentlemen’s singles titles here at Wimbledon.

“For those lucky enough to have a seat on Centre Court tomorrow I’d encourage them to get into their seats about 1.15pm and we’ll have a moment just to celebrate his achievements and to say thank you for all the memories.”

Federer has mostly stayed away from tennis since bowing out in emotional scenes at the Laver Cup in London but was similarly honoured at the grass-court event in Halle, Germany last month.

His last match at Wimbledon came in 2021 when, struggling with knee trouble, he lost to Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals. He also visited the club last year as part of the celebrations to mark 100 years of Centre Court.

Bolton revealed that Serena Williams, who bowed out a few weeks earlier at the US Open, had also been invited but was unable to travel.

“We invited Serena similarly this year but as you’ll know she’s pregnant so understandably couldn’t travel,” said Bolton. “We of course wish her lots of luck with the remainder of her pregnancy and we hope maybe we might see her next year.”

Gilles Simon believes Andy Murray's inferior trophy haul means he cannot be grouped with tennis' 'Big Three' of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Murray has enjoyed a long and stellar career, reaching 11 major finals and claiming three grand slam titles, as well as spending 41 weeks ranked as the world number one.

But with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer boasting 23, 22 and 20 grand slam successes respectively, Simon feels Murray is not quite on their level.

"He's not part of the Big Three," Simon told Stats Perform at the Roland-Garros eSeries by BNP Paribas. 

"You don't have to compare him with the Big Three, because he played at the very same time and we have the result.

"Andy was a fantastic player, just under these three guys in terms of level. In the end, the gap is huge in terms of titles: 23, 22 and 20, compared to three, so he's not part of the Big Four.

"He played at the same time as everyone and he has three and they have 20 or more. That's how I see it."

Simon – who won three of his 19 meetings with Murray before retiring in 2022 – feels the Scot was unfortunate to have competed with the 'Big Three' and would have been remembered as one of the game's greats in another era.

"He could have won 17 slams without the Big Three," Simon explained. "What is hard for Andy is to compare him to other players from other generations, when other players maybe have more slams than he has.

"If he had played at that time, he could maybe have had 15 and been one of the greatest. You cannot compare him with the Big Three, we saw it already, we saw the results.

"Where I feel sad for Andy is that if you play in a different era, you have 10 [grand slam titles] and then if we take the all-time rankings, we go to [Pete] Sampras with 14 and you say maybe he's here.

"This is where I feel it's a bit of an injustice for him compared to his level, because he would be closer to something like this than to someone who has three slams. He would be much higher in the all-time rankings."

Rafael Nadal will be contemplating the best way to call time on his stellar career after injury denied him the chance to defend his French Open title, believes Tommy Haas.

Nadal has not played since suffering a second-round exit at the Australian Open in January, having struggled with a hip injury during his straight-sets defeat to Mackenzie McDonald.

The 22-time grand slam champion last week admitted defeat in his bid to appear at Roland Garros, where he has triumphed 14 times – a record for any player at a single grand slam.

When announcing his withdrawal, Nadal said 2024 would "probably" be his final year on the ATP tour and outlined his intention of making farewell appearances at "important tournaments".

Nadal's long-time rival Roger Federer retired surrounded by several of his fellow greats at last year's Laver Cup, and Haas believes the Spaniard will be eyeing a similar send-off. 

"At some point, time catches up with all of us and that's the reality," Haas, a four-time grand slam semi-finalist, told Stats Perform.

"I think at this stage, I'm sure he's been contemplating the idea: 'When would I do it? How would I do it? How would it come together organically?' 

"We saw Roger Federer doing it last year and the way he was able to retire in London at the Laver Cup with all of his rivals and friends on the court. I happened to be there live, it was an amazing way to finish such an incredible career. 

"Look at Pete Sampras. He won his first slam at the US Open and he won his last match at the US Open, winning the slam there on home turf – there couldn't have been a better fairy tale. 

"I think you look at that and at the same time, you have to stay focused on what's happening today and you can't look too far ahead."

 

Though Nadal's total of 22 grand slam singles titles is a joint record in the men's game (alongside Novak Djokovic), the Spaniard's injury record has denied him several chances to add to that tally.

Nadal played all four grand slams for the first time since 2019 last year but was forced to withdraw from the Wimbledon semi-finals, and Haas says the Spaniard's fitness will dictate his future.   

"It always depends, obviously, on the injuries. 'How bad is it and can I recover from it?' I'm sure Rafa is constantly thinking about those situations," Haas added.

"He's been saying he still wants to play for another year or two, which would obviously be amazing for the sport. 

"On clay, I think he has a better chance of keeping the body in a better shape than on gruelling hardcourts. He obviously plays long matches, which is tough on the body."

The main draw of the French Open begins on Sunday, with Nadal's compatriot Carlos Alcaraz the top male seed as he bids for a second major title.

Tennis will never see a "big three" with the quality of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer again, believes Juan Martin del Potro.

The trio, who have combined for a total of 64 men's singles grand slam titles across a near-two-decade-long period of dominance, have come to define the sport's modern era.

Federer retired last year and while Nadal and Djokovic continue, both are well into the twilight of their careers, despite astonished continued success.

Del Potro, the 2009 US Open winner, also retired in 2022, and he thinks the trio's dominance is unlikely to be replicated going forward, even though he sees Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune as three players who could possibly go on to enjoy great success.

"The only thing I lacked was being number one [in the ATP Rankings]," he said. "It was always a dream, and I always worked for it. I never made it because there was either Federer, or Nadal, or Djokovic.

"When I look at the rankings and the years of my career and who was fighting to be number one I see that it was beautiful that these were the ones who didn't let me make it, this dream."

"One day, the big three will end. We have Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner [and] Holger Rune, other young people who will mark the circuit.

"But for me, [for] many years, [it was] the big three. There will not be anything similar."

Del Potro reached a career high-mark of third in the ATP Rankings in 2018, with Andy Murray the only man other than Nadal, Federer or Djokovic to top the charts between 2005 and 2021.

Novak Djokovic has brought up his 378th week as world number one.

That sees the 35-year-old, 22-time grand slam champion overtake Steffi Graff as the outright record holder for the amount of weeks spent at the top of the world.

Djokovic won his first major in 2008, and has not looked back.

To mark his achievement, Stats Perform has used Opta data to run through the key numbers from Djokovic's stellar career.

 

ATP Tour titan

7 - Djokovic has been year-end number one on seven occasions, one more than Pete Sampras and two more than Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Jimmy Connors.

93 - Djokovic has won 93 ATP Tour titles. Only three players have won more in the Open Era.

1,249 - The Serbian has played 1,249 matches on the ATP Tour. Just Nadal (1,288), Ivan Lendl (1,310), Federer (1,526) and Jimmy Connors (1,558) have played more.

350 - Djokovic has featured against top-10 opponents 350 times, more than any other player in history. He has won 243 of these matches. 

A master at work

22 - Only Serena Williams (23) has more major titles in the Open Era than Djokovic, who is tied with Nadal for the most grand slam triumphs when it comes to men.

33 - Djokovic has played in 33 grand slam finals, the most by any male player in the Open Era. Only Chris Evert (34) has more when it comes to female players.

37 - He has won 37 per cent of the grand slam titles on offer since (and including) his maiden major success in Melbourne in 2008. Nadal has won 32 per cent (19/60) and Feder 13 per cent (8/60).

28 - No player has won more consecutive matches at the Australian Open than Djokovic (28), while he has won 28 straight at the Wimbledon, too.

10 - Djokovic is the first player to play a minimum of 10 semi-finals at each of the grand slams.

2 - After his 10th triumph at the Australian Open, Djokovic became the second male player in the Open Era to secure 10+ titles in a single grand slam, after Nadal (14 French Open titles).

38 - No player has won more ATP 1000 titles than Djokovic (38), Eleven of those titles were won without losing a set.

6 - Djokovic has won the most ATP 1000 titles won in a single season (six).

Nemesis Nadal

59 - Nadal is the player Djokovic has faced the most times in his career (59). The Spaniard has lost 30 of those matches, marking Djokovic's best win tally against a single opponent.

179 - Djokovic has faced players from Spain 179 times, winning 131 matches and losing 48.

29 - He has won 130 matches against left-handed players, losing 40. Of those 40 defeats, 29 were inflicted by Nadal.

100 - Djokovic has a 100 per cent record against four players: Gael Monfils (18-0), Jeremy Chardy (14-0), Milos Raonic (12-0) and Andreas Seppi (12-0).

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