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Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic must be less respected – Agassi

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Andre Agassi reckons Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic should be shown less respect from the younger players on tour. The Big Three continue to dominate the major events and have no plans of giving up their stronghold.

Nadal is expected to come out on top at the French Open later this month, while Federer and Djokovic will look to peak for Wimbledon.

The US Open is the event which usually has the biggest upsets, with Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic all clinching the title over the past decade.

For the last few years there have been signs that there could be a changing of the guard in the men’s game.

The likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev have been knocking on the door.

But when it gets to those crucial matches late in the tournament they usually fall short against the Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Agassi, an eight-time Grand Slam winner, has advised the youngster players to show less respect when they step onto court with the legends of the game.

“The next generation is on its way,” Agassi told the Beer Biceps YouTube podcast. “You see them with Tsitsipas winning Monte Carlo, you look at Medvedev pushing, knocking on the door of all these Slams.

“You look at Zverev, you look at Thiem. I mean, these guys, I think they realise now that they can’t afford to respect the [Big Three] as much as they have been.

“They need to start owning it then pushing themselves to that next level. It’s a tough task, I don’t know when that’s gonna happen…but I do believe we’re in the process of seeing some of those new generation players pushing into the top.”

Agassi knows exactly what it takes to get to the top of the sport and he offered some words of wisdom to the next generation.

He said: “You have to believe, I’ll give you an example.

“I turned pro at 16, and I broke into the top three in the world in two years when I was 18 years old. I didn’t win a Slam until I was 22.

“Courier, Sampras and Chang, because they saw I [reached the top-3] they just charged right through and won a Grand Slam before I did.

“Even though it seemed like they were years behind me in the evolution of our careers.

“Once somebody shows that it’s not Herculean, you can actually do it, and people start believing it, then you’ll see a locomotive train just pushing in that direction. But you have to believe it.”



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