Federer, Nadal can still compete against Djokovic: Henman

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) Novak Djokovic may seem “unstoppable” at the moment but Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal still has it in them to compete against current World No.1, former British tennis ace Tim Henman said here on Thursday.

Djokovic recently won the Australian Open, his 11th Grand Slam title, to confirm his stature as the undisputed leader in the sport.

The Serbian defeated Federer in the semi-finals and Andy Murray in the final in straight sets to extend his dominance in the singles circuit, presently holding Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open titles.

But former No.4 Henman says Federer and Nadal, both erstwhile top rankers, with a combined tally of a whopping 31 Grand Slam titles, remain Djokovic’s nearest competitors.

“Yeah very much so. I think certainly with Federer he has played at an amazingly consistent level at the Grand Slams in recent years. But it has been Djokovic the final hurdle has been too good. And now you know Djokovic is the clear No.1 in the world, he is the player to beat,” the 41-year-old, who retired in 2007, said on the sidelines here of the “Road to Wimbledon” programme, a tournament for Under-14 players.

Henman though conceded that Djokovic is at the top of his game and it would take some doing for anyone to beat him.

“He has just won his 11th Grand Slam. I think it’s fascinating for the men’s game to see how many more he is going to win. He does look unstoppable at the moment.”

Federer will be out of action for a month, after undergoing surgery this week on his troublesome knee after picking up a knock during the Australian Open. But Henman doesn’t think it would pose a problem for the Swiss.

“Certainly Federer is playing very very well. Disappointing to hear he just had a knee injury and hope he gets back on the court soon,” said the right-hander, who reached the semis of Grand Slams six times.

Henman hoped Nadal can regain his old self due to his supreme exhibition of “passion and energy” on the court. The Spaniard endured a poor 2015, failing to win a single Grand Slam and then exiting the Australian Open in the opening round this year.

“Likewise with Nadal when you have won 14 Grand Slams and been one of the best players of all time. He is only 29. I don’t think we should be writing him off,” said the 11 career singles title winner.

“But certainly in the last 12-18 months he has struggled with his confidence and performance. I really do hope he regains that form. He brings so much energy and passion to the game. He is one of the greatest champion for sure.”

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