(Reuters) - Novak Djokovic still feels inspired by Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, the men’s world number one tennis player has said, adding that the rivalry between the so-called ‘Big Three’ is a great promotion for the sport.
The “GOAT” (greatest of all time) debate in men’s tennis has divided opinions in the last decade and still remains a hot topic as the triumvirate continue to dominate the field, sharing the last 13 Grand Slam titles among them.
Federer, who will be 39 in August, leads the race with 20 Grand Slam singles titles, with Spaniard Nadal close on his heels with 19.
Djokovic is three behind the Swiss with 17 majors under his belt and is the youngest of the trio - at 33 he is a year younger than Nadal.
“What Roger and Rafa are doing is epic. Both of these guys are legends,” the Serb told Tennis Channel. “They do inspire me and I have said this millions of times and I will say it again. They made me the player I am today. They still continue to inspire me and motivate me to be even better.
“I think these rivalries that we have are great promotion for our sport. They are really good for tennis in general and also for the upcoming generations.
“Hopefully we give a positive example and inspire younger guys to be the best they can possibly be.”
Djokovic has previously said he believes he will win the most Grand Slam titles and become the longest-reigning world number one by the time he retires.
“I like to have the long-term goals and be devoted to them. But at the same time have my daily goals, daily routines, the weekly routines, the season goals and understand what is best for me and my team,” he said.
“I love this sport. I’m very passionate and devoted to it. As long as there is that flair in me I am going to keep going.”
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Christian Radnedge