Former top-25 player Thomaz Bellucci, who once beat Novak Djokovic 6-0, believes the Serbian grandmaster is the best among the Big 3 of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Djokovic. However, Bellucci noted that Nadal was the toughest opponent he faced.
Bellucci also looked back on his eventful 2016 Italian Open match against the Serb, which he lost despite ‘bagging’ the now 22-time Grand Slam champion in the first set.
Over the course of his career, Bellucci has played six times each against the Serb, as well as against the 22-time Major winner Nadal and Federer twice. The Brazilian was unable to record a single win against any of the three tennis legends. He recently shared his views on the debate over who is the best of the three.
“For me, Djokovic is the best. But I always had the biggest difficulties with Nadal because of my playing style,” Thomaz Bellucci told ESPN.
He further emphasized the challenge Djokovic posed in the fourth round of the Italian Open, highlighting how he turned things around despite being 6-0 down, unlike most other players who succumb to the pressure in similar situations. Bellucci said he was playing very well but Djokovic managed to “pull the rabbit out of the hat”.
In that regard, he believes that the likes of the Big 3 have stood out from the rest of the tour throughout their careers.
“I had a really good day and felt really good. And sometimes when you’re having a good day, it seems like the other guy starts playing worse because he’s like, “Damn, this guy’s playing well”. But then he manages to pull the rabbit out of the hat. He’s starting to do other things in the game,” Bellucci explained.
“That’s why these guys are out of line. They’re starting to play better and I couldn’t hold it, it’s difficult,” he added.
Bellucci recently retired from professional tennis at the Rio Open in February.
Novak Djokovic is withdrawing from the Miami Open after failing to get a special permit to enter the US
The Serbian star most recently competed at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Novak Djokovic was not granted special permission to enter the United States as an unvaccinated foreigner in time for the Miami Open, which begins Monday, and withdrew from the tournament earlier this week. He missed Indian Wells for the same reason, meaning he has now missed the Sunshine Double for two straight years. The current world No. 1 will now feature on the court in the clay court season, with his comeback event expected to be next month’s Monte Carlo Masters.
The Serb’s top spot in the ATP rankings is under serious threat as world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz is just one win away from regaining world No. 1. Alcaraz will become the new No. 1 if he defeats Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s Indian Wells final. He will then only retain the top spot if he defends his Miami Open title.
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Edited by Aayush Majumdar
Source : www.sportskeeda.com