They say it’s high time the new generation start blazing a trail in men’s tennis yet as the All England Club opens its doors for another Wimbledon fortnight Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal retain a vice-like grip on power.
Led by swashbuckling Greek 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas a queue of brash young talents has formed, all trying to be the man to smash the triopoly and officially usher in a new era.
The trouble is despite all being at an age when mere mortals begin winding down their careers, the top three appear fitter and hungrier than ever to reach new milestones.
World number one and defending champion Djokovic fell agonisingly short of holding all four Grand Slams (for the second time) when he was blown off court by a gale and Dominic Thiem in the French Open semi-finals this month.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his third round match against Italy’s Salvatore Caruso at the French Open, Roland Garros, Paris, on June 1, 2019. (Reuters)
But unlike last year when he arrived at Wimbledon ranked outside the top 20 after one of the most difficult periods of his career, only to silence the doubters to win a fourth title, the 32-year-old looks at the peak of his powers.
One more title here would take him level with the five of Swedish great Bjorn Borg and third on the all-time list for men’s champions in the modern era. It would also leave the Serb four behind Federer’s men’s record total of 20 Grand Slams.
Federer, seeded two on the 20th anniversary of his first main draw appearance, is chasing his ninth title and looked razor-sharp last week when he warmed up by winning the Halle grasscourt title for a 10th time.
Then there is the 33-year-old Nadal.
He last triumphed at Wimbledon in 2010, two years after his epic final against Federer, but since then he has endured some bitter setbacks on the lawns -- suffering early losses to the likes of Steve Darcis, Nick Kyrgios, Lukas Rosol and Dustin Brown before rebounding last year to reach the semis.
After taking a 12th French Open title the Mallorcan seems highly-motivated, and physically strong, as he targets a third French Open/Wimbledon double -- a feat only Borg has achieved.