Tennis legend and former World No. 1, Billie Jean King recently opened up on her views on the Big 3 of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. She recently sat for interaction with Spanish publication the AS and there she spoke at length about the modern-day greats and their exploits.
Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have dominated the tennis scene in this era and therefore in most tennis discussions the ‘Big 3’ find a way somehow. The trio have won 20 Grand Slams each speaking volumes about the legacy that they will leave behind. They have also set and broken many records, some of which have been broken by each other.
While Billie Jean King praised all three of them she at her heart claimed that Nadal is her favourite. It is mostly because she and her wife Ilana Kloss met Nadal when he was a young player. Therefore they have seen the Spaniard scale at great heights and hence they adore him.
“They are all three different. I adore Nadal,” the 39-time Slam champion told AS. “Ilana (Kloss) and I met him when he must have been 14 or 15 years old, in South Africa. I don’t think he remembers, but we do, because they said he was the child with the greatest potential. So we went and we looked at him and we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this guy is so good.’ So I love watching him play.”
The 77-year-old also highlights that her admiration for Nadal is not only because of his ruthless gameplay but also for his love and respect for tennis as a sport.
“What I like the most about him is how much he respects tennis and how he gets angry when other players don’t respect him. That is why children want to be like him more than others when asked and they say that Nadal is their favourite,” she added. “In that, he is number one.”
Lastly, King highlights how older adults will like Federer and especially the elegance that he brought to the sport. However, she feels Nadal is more devoted and earthy hence he also has a lot of following. But she agreed that Djokovic will end up as the best player in terms of titles as she feels that the competition between Federer and Nadal hurt both the players as none could clearly come out on top.