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Andre Agassi: 'Younger players now know they have shown too much respect to the big three'

Rafael Nadal Roger Federer Novak Djokovic atp big three tennis goat debate

Andre Agassi says he believes the young players have now realised they have shown Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic too much respect.

Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal have dominated tennis for a decade and a half, essentially monopolising the Grand Slams between them.

There are only four currently active players outside of the big three to be able to lay claim to winning a men's major, and three of them are in their 30s.

Recently, though, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, and Alexander Zverev have started to look like more of a threat to the big three, and Agassi thinks he knows why.

“The next generation is on its way,” Agassi said on the Beer Biceps YouTube podcast.

“You see them with Tsitsipas winning Monte Carlo, you look at Medvedev pushing, knocking on the door of all these Slams.

“You look at Zverev, you look at [Dominic] Thiem. I mean, these guys, I think they realise now that they can’t afford to respect the [big three] as much as they have been.

“They need to start owning it then pushing themselves to that next level. It’s a tough task, I don’t know when that’s gonna happen.

"But I do believe we’re in the process of seeing some of those new generation players pushing into the top.”

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Agassi was then asked if he had any advice to give the young players about how to make their way to the top, and he said it basically comes down to mentality.

Pete Sampras Andre Agassi Grand Slam winners of the 1990s

“You have to believe," he said. "I’ll give you an example.

"I turned pro at 16, and I broke into the top three in the world in two years when I was 18 years old. I didn’t win a Slam until I was 22.

“[Jim] Courier, [Pete] Sampras and [Michael] Chang, because they saw [me coming] they just charged right through and won a Grand Slam before I did.

"Even though it seemed like they were years behind me in the evolution of our careers.

“Once somebody shows that it’s not Herculean, you can actually do it, and people start believing it, then you’ll see a locomotive train just pushing in that direction. But you have to believe it.”

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