Rafael Nadal has picked out seven youngsters who could replace himself, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at the top of men’s tennis.
Of the last 64 Grand Slam titles, only 10 have been won by players not named Nadal, Federer or Djokovic.
The trio also occupy the top three spots in the world rankings.
But world No 2 Nadal reckons there are several youngsters on the cusp of greatest, staring with Daniil Medvedev, who lost to the Spaniard in the US Open final on Sunday.
“I see the same thing that is seen from outside,” Nadal said when asked about the changing of the guard.
“It has been predicted for years, something that has been happening, but in a slower way than perhaps expected.
“There are still many players of my generation who continue fighting.
“Others have left, like [David] Ferrer and [Tomas] Berdych, and some are no longer in the top positions of the ranking, like [Jo-Wilfried] Tsonga, but the three that have won the most Grand Slams in recent years are still the first in the world.
“[Marin] Cilic has not been well this year, for example.
“But Medvedev, [Alexander] Zverev, [Karen] Khachanov, who have played well this year, [Andrey] Rublev, who is doing well now, Felix Auger-Aliassime, great year, [Matteo] Berrettini, 23, [Denis] Shapovalov.
“All of these have to go in. The overwhelming logic of the evolution of this world makes them arrive and there are a few among the top 10.
“Every year, of course there has to be more.”
Nadal, 33, has not plans to retire in the near future as he aims to equal Federer’s Grand Slam record.
The Spaniard scooped his 19th major tournament win at the US Open.
And he will get the chance to draw level at the Australian Open in January.
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