Rafael Nadal says he is ‘ready to accept’ the younger players have now muscled in at the top table of the ATP Tour, but he was warned them he is still fighting.
Nadal along with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have dominated men’s tennis to an unprecedented degree, winning 58 Grand Slam titles between them.
They have also customarily dominated the Masters events too, although this season they have failed to win one between them.
Hubert Hurkacz won Miami, Stefanos Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo, and Alexander Zverev won Madrid.
In fairness, though, Nadal only played two of them, Djokovic just one, and Federer has not played any.
However, Nadal says no one should be surprised to see the younger players starting to take the titles the Big Three have formerly monopolised.
“It is something normal,” Nadal said at the Rome Masters on Tuesday.
“First thing is that we are missing events. Second thing, there is a new generation of players that are good.
“I think we are 34, 34, 39-years-old. That’s something usual that nothing is forever. You need to be ready to accept.
“It is normal that after almost 20 years on the tour there is another generation that are winning tournaments.
“We have been achieving almost every single important event for the last 19 years. [It not lasting forever is] nothing strange. 100% ready to accept that. But I am going to keep fighting.
“That means that in three weeks there is another Grand Slam that I like to play. I am going to fight to try to play well there.”
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?