January 17, 2020
Roger Federer has predicted that Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will pass his own Grand Slam total.
The Big Three are preparing for the start of the Australian Open – where Roger won his last major in 2018.
Federer has a tough day-time opener against America’s Steve Johnson in Melbourne.
But if the Swiss genius gets on a roll, he is due to face Djokovic in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal could face a huge fourth-round test against the unpredictable Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal and Kyrgios always get under each other’s skin and it usually makes for scintillating on-court drama.
Form points to a likely final between Djokovic and Nadal.
And Federer, who has twenty Slams, isn’t pretending that he can stay ahead of the rival pair forever.
Roger admitted: ‘I think the way it is going, obviously Rafa and Novak are going to win more. Because they’re that good…
‘But I had my moment and I always said after 15 Slams anything more was a bonus.’
Nadal will equal Federer’s total if he wins the Aussie Open.
Djokovic will notch his 17th Slam and an incredible eighth in Melbourne if he triumphs as widely expected.
Of course, Federer will do everything in his power to try to pull off another Aussie shock.
But his latest analysis represents a first acceptance that his glorious reign may slowly be drawing to a close.
Federer will probably think he has one more realistic shot at Wimbledon glory – perhaps even two.
Beyond that, he seems to realise his rivals have too much time on their side.
And that’s why we should appreciate this golden era of tennis while we still can.
The future of tennis is in good hands though – and Coco Gauff personifies that future.
Her gallant run at Wimbledon last summer will live long in the memory.
Not least because it started with a win against Venus Williams – her early opponent at this year’s Australian Open.
If she beats the legendary American again and starts to find her rhythm, another huge test could await Coco in the third round – in the shape of Naomi Osaka.
These are the kind of big-time experiences that will make Gauff even formidable when it comes to Wimbledon 2020.
But Aussie Open champion Osaka is surely more likely to be the player facing the all-time-great she jokingly calls her “mom” in the quarter-finals.
Yes, Serena Willians is getting ready to go for that record-equalling 24th Grand Slam yet again.
A lot of people are making her favourite to do just that and match Margaret Court’s long-standing landmark in Melbourne.
It is an amazingly bold prediction when you consider that Serena, like Roger, is now 38 years old.
Still, we can never write Serena off. She just won Auckland, after all.
And Melbourne will feel like a pressure-free Grand Slam environment for her when compared to, say, Wimbledon or the US Open.
Whatever happens and however far they progress this time, let’s just enjoy Serena, Roger and the other all-time greats while they are still fit and healthy.
Melbourne, you always deliver a fascinating, fun Slam. We’re sure 2020 will be no different.
We can’t wait for the action to start!