Stefan Edberg believes Dominic Thiem is the ‘closest’ player to overthrowing the Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Thiem, the world No. 3 from Austria, is one of two active players – along with Daniil Medvedev – aged 26 or younger to reach a Grand Slam final. No active player under the age of 31 has won a major.
The ‘Big Three’ have, obviously, been a big factor.
Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have shared the past 13 majors between them, with Stan Wawrinka the last man outside the trio to win a Slam when he lifted the US Open in 2016.
Since that point, Thiem has been in more Grand Slam finals (3) than any non-‘Big Three’ member, losing twice at Roland Garros to ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal before suffering defeat to eight-time Australian Open winner Djokovic in Melbourne this year.
There may be a free hit for Thiem and the rest of the chasing pack at the US Open this year – should it still go ahead – with Federer a confirmed absentee and Djokovic and Nadal both casting doubts over their participation in New York.
Regardless, Edberg, the six-time Slam winner and former world No. 1 from Sweden who also spent two years working with Federer, thinks Thiem is currently ahead of his fellow challengers and views him as the most likely to end the spell of ‘Big Three’ dominance.
‘He showed he could have won the Australian Open this year very easily. That was a big chance for him,’ Edberg told Eurosport.
‘If Rafa wasn’t there, he’s going to win the French Open one day. He’s probably the closest one today, I would say.
‘But at the same time, [Alexander] Zverev has shown a lot of potential, sort of lost track a little bit, but it doesn’t take much to get back on the right track again.
‘[Stefanos] Tsitsipas has shown some… He’s definitely knocking on the door as well. I probably can add a few others. But Thiem, I would say at the moment.’
He added: ‘Over the last 10, 12 years, it’s been three, four players dominating the game. Lately three players and if you look at the last couple of years, they’ve won all the Grand Slams.
‘They’ve been incredible for this sport. It would have been nice to have a new young winner while Novak and Roger and Rafa are still around.
‘It’s probably going to take some time for these young players because you need to win a Slam to start with and maybe need to win two, three, and then you’re sort of people start knowing about you.’
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