Boris Becker has challenged tennis’ younger brigade to step up after Rafael Nadal’s record-breaking French Open triumph.
Defying the years and one of the most fierce onslaughts he has ever faced at Roland Garros, Nadal won his 12th French Open crown, leaving Dominic Thiem crushed and a packed Parisian stadium shaking their heads in wonder.
The 33-year-old, who becomes the first player to win the same grand slam title 12 times, going past Margaret Court's 11 Australian Opens, now sits just two major titles behind his great foe and men's grand slam title record holder, 37-year-old Roger Federer, and three ahead of Novak Djokovic.
Remarkably, it’s the 10th grand slam in a row won by either Federer, Nadal or Djokovic.
You have to go back to Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 US Open to find the last player to break that streak.
Even more remarkably, the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic juggernaut has won 50 of the last 58 majors, with Wawrinka (3), Andy Murray (3), Marin Cilic (1) and Juan Martin del Potro (1) the only men to get their names among the champions.
The crazy stats have Becker worried.
The German, who won Wimbledon for the first time at age 17, is desperate for another teenager to win a men’s title again.
“We are surrounded by [potential] teenage grand slam champions,” Becker said.
“In any other sport people get younger. For some reason in tennis everybody takes a lot longer to be successful. And that has nothing to do with forehands and backhands.
“I am convinced it will happen. It should happen. This would be the only sport where it didn’t happen.”
It’s also now been 11 majors in a row won by a player over the age of 30.
“That is not good,” Becker said.
“That is not a compliment for anybody under 28. And don’t give me that the others are too good. We should question the quality and the attitude of everybody under 28. It just doesn’t make sense.
“As much as I respect Roger, Rafa and Novak, young players should show up. Give me something I want to talk about.
“Eventually they [big three] will be too old. But you want to see the passing of the torch while they are still in their prime.
“You want to see Stefanos [Tsitsipas] and Dominic [Thiem] beating them when they are still very, very good.
“There’s a certain mentality that they don’t have, that the three others do have.
“It’s not the forehands. It’s not the fitness. It’s mind-set, attitude that makes the difference between winning and losing.”