Djoker predicts Big Three reign close to end
Novak Djokovic believes the grand slam domination he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is "literally one set away" from crumbling as the Serb chases an extraordinary eighth Australian Open crown.
Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have claimed the past 12 majors and, even more remarkably, 55 of the past 66 grand slam titles.
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But defending Melbourne Park champion Djokovic is reconciled to the inevitable - whenever it happens - as Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem, among others, plot a generational power shift.
"Medvedev had a great fight with Rafa in the last grand slam in US Open of last season," Djokovic said.
"Tsitsipas played semis here last year. Dominic Thiem (has) twice (played) finals in French Open.
"They're very, very close. They're literally one set away.
"On a given day, in the very near future, I think that can happen. It's going to happen. It's inevitable."
Djokovic, 32, is in no mood to abdicate yet as he bids to become only the third man in history to win eight singles at a grand slam tournament.
Nadal, who owns 12 French Open crowns, and Federer, eight-time Wimbledon champion, are the others.
Djokovic first claimed the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup in 2008, claiming it again in 2011-13, 2015-16 and '19.
His overall record at Melbourne Park is an imposing 68-8.
As he starts his campaign against German Jan-Lennard Struff, the reigning Wimbledon champion is confident the "Big Three" will continue to hold sway despite the improvements of their pursuers.
"To win a slam and also to kind of be consistently on the top level for many years, it takes I think a player to gain that mental and emotional maturity," Djokovic said.
"And experience to understand his own strengths, to kind of fight his own fears, to really be able to maintain that level for a long time.
"Rafa, Roger, and I, obviously because of the past 10-15 years, we know what we need to do mentally also in this particular situation.
"That gives us probably a little bit of an edge.
"Nevertheless, everything has to kind of intertwine and everything has to be, I guess, in balance.
"When I say 'everything' I mean mental, physical, emotional. Then of course you need to have luck on that day and for the stars to align to win a grand slam trophy.
"They're (the challengers) very close.
"I don't think that's miles, miles away maybe as it was some years ago. I think they are definitely hungry. They're challenging. They're knocking on the door."