Gilles Simon has been one of the players whose ambitions have been tempered by the presence of the Big 3 – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The Frenchman believes that though Djokovic is the ‘strongest’ his game ‘does not make anyone dream.’
“Everyone would like Roger to be the greatest of all time. Because the public first loves a player for his game,” said the 35-year-old Simon in an interview with the Paris Match.
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“Then, he projects it on his personality. With Federer, everything fits. With Djokovic, no. His game does not make anyone dream.
“It’s okay to sell Roger Federer to everyone because it’s admirable in so many ways. But a Novak Djokovic is also admirable. Except that with him, we especially want to remember that he is not Federer.”
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The race to decide who finishes with the most number of Grand Slam titles is heating up. Federer, 39, and Nadal are tied at 20 majors each. Meanwhile, Djokovic, 33 and a year younger than Nadal, is currently at 17.
Simon, who has a 2-7 win-loss record against Federer, 1-8 against Nadal and 1-11 against Djokovic, spoke about what makes each of them so special.
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“For me, the hardest thing to beat is Nadal,” said the French player, known for his intelligent and grinding play.
“Novak, I like his style of play and I have often given him a lot of problems. Federer, I beat him 2 times and brought him 2 times in 5 sets. But the strongest? I have the impression that it is Novak Djokovic. He has more answers in front of everyone.
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“The most impressive remains Federer when you feel what he imposes on a pitch. Even if he’s the one I’m most likely to beat on the pitch, he’s the one I feel bad about right away, because he immediately puts a lot of pressure on you.
“Whereas with Novak or Rafa, I know that we will have done 75 rallies after 2 games but it is not ‘stressful.’ The match settles down. Whereas with Roger, things go so fast, it’s impressive because it immediately puts a lot of pressure on you.”
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Federer, currently ranked No 5 in the world, played only at the Australian Open this year before he underwent two knee surgeries. The Swiss Maestro, with his legions of fans cheering him on, is expected to make a comeback at the 2021 Australian Open.