Did he know Nadal would lose? Novak Djokovic predicted the rise of ‘Next Gen’ players, and Dominic Thiem was one of them
In his interview before the major tournament in Melbourne, the 16-time Grand Slam winner admitted that the dominance of the ‘Big Three’ comprised of Djokovic, Nadal, and Roger Federer is no longer guaranteed with young players trying hard to dethrone them from the leading positions.
“They’re coming closer and closer. It’s obvious,” Djokovic said prior to the 2020 Australian Open.
“Tsitsipas played semis here last year. Dominic Thiem twice [in] finals in [the] French Open. They’re very, very close. They’re literally one set away. On a given day, in the very near future, I think that can happen. It’s going to happen. It’s inevitable,” the 32-year-old said when asked about the chances ‘Next Gen’ players winning a Grand Slam.
Though the defending Australian Open champion hoped that their Grand Slam triumph will not happen this year, he will inevitably face one of the young stars in the final, if he reaches it.Also on rt.com ‘They’re coming closer and closer’: Novak Djokovic wary of threat from young guns at Australian Open
While Djokovic easily made it to the round of the last four, where he will be opposed by his long-time rival Roger Federer of Switzerland, their ‘Big Three’ member Nadal sensationally stumbled in the quarter-final losing to the lower-ranked Thiem in four sets.
With the semi-final clashes being set up in Melbourne it became obvious that the highly anticipated final will feature the battle of generations where Thiem or Germany’s Alexander Zverev would face either Djokovic or Federer.
THIEM's Time To 𝓢𝓱𝓲𝓷𝓮!After 4 hours and 10 minutes, @ThiemDomi knocks out world No.1 Rafael Nadal, 7-6(3) 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(6) to advance to the #AusOpen semifinals for the first time.#AO2020pic.twitter.com/lWuZXBzNmt— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 29, 2020
Will the prominent Serb be able to win a record-breaking Australian Open title? The answer is still unknown with the final match being scheduled for February 2nd.
But Djokovic’s predictions regarding the rise of new challengers proved to be absolutely correct as youngsters who are hungry for success have been snapping at his heels.