Graf ‘amazed’ at level of top three
Originally published on: 10/06/12 00:00
There can't be many things in tennis that cause the great Steffi Graf to raise an eyebrow, but the 22-time Grand Slam champion admits she is “amazed” by the current level of the men’s game ahead of Sunday’s eagerly anticipated French Open final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Graf, like Nadal, is a six-time winner of the French Open, but the 42-year-old German admits the achievements of the Spaniard are even more remarkable given the current level of he, Djokovic and Roger Federer.
“Gosh, talk about three champions. What they have achieved and the level that they play…” she said, trailing off with a shake of her head. “We sit in front of the TV, Andre [Agassi] and I, and we’re just amazed at the tennis that they’ve been playing and how they’ve raised each other to their limits. All three of them are incredible fighters.”
Known for her own work ethic and versatility during her 17-year-playing career, Graf recognises a kindred spirit in each of the top three men.
“They are such fierce competitors,” she continued. “What an amazing thing for all three of them to be here at the same time. If they’d been around at a different time, each one of them would rule.”
Graf describes Sunday's clash, the fourth straight occasion the top two have met in a Grand Slam decider, as a “dream final”, although her money is on the defending champion.
“Nadal’s been playing incredible but Djokovic had an amazing game against Tsonga, where he came from match points down,” said Graf, adding: “I’d probably give Nadal a little edge.”
Longines Ambassador Steffi Graf was speaking at Roland Garros at the Longines Future Tennis Aces event.