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Becker: NextGen Lacks Balls to Beat Big 3


Novak Djokovic claimed his eighth Australian Open title extending Big 3 major dominance.

The Big 3 of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have combined to collect 13 consecutive Grand Slam titles.

Toni Nadal: Thiem Haunted and Strengthened

Boris Becker's blunt assessment of the Slam stranglehold: NextGen stars lack the balls to beat the Big 3 in Grand Slam finals.

In a Eurosport panel discussion featuring fellow Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Mats Wilander, Becker said NextGen stars lack the guts and mental toughness to beat the Big 3 when it matters most.

"That's the point I'm missing with the young guys is a bit of guts," Becker says at 4:23 of the video. "A bit of, in my language, we call it balls. Okay I'm here and I want to win and I'm going to do whatever it takes...

"They think it's about tennis. It's not about tennis. It's about an attitude. It's about putting it out there on the line in five sets. There is something missing that would change that. You want to see the young players beat the Top 3 when they're still playing well. You don't want to see Federer at 45 still winning against someone half his age. And I think that's what's lacking a little bit. And I think we should be, in the right context, a little bit critical to wake them up."



McEnroe, who touts Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime as future "Top 5 players", believes US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev is mentally toughest of the rising young stars.

"We don't want to see where no one wins anything until these guys stop, I mean it's crazy," McEnroe said. "You want to see Tsitsipas to go win a major and right now he looks totally overwhelmed mentally like he can't do it.

"Medvedev to me is the guy who gets it mentally. I remember seeing him last year when he played Djokovic and it looked like a 12-and-under match in the old days when you're just pushing and you're like what in God's name is he doing against someone so sound as Djokovic yet he believed it in. And he's different and he's awkward...but he's right there. I don't see the other guys that close right now at all. You need more of that [Medvedev] mentality."

A former world No. 1 in singles and doubles, McEnroe says the main reason young players have not broken through for a maiden major is very simple: The Big 3 are better players than players chasing maiden majors.

"You look at a guy like Rafael Nadal... and the guy brings it every point. I don't see those other players on point in a game in basis bringing it on every point and you've got to," McEnroe said. "These guys are the three greatest players who ever lived and that's the other part that's a problem: they're better than the other guys. That's the part you can't escape: these guys are unbelievable champions."

Photo credit: @QueensClub



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