In the current era of men’s tennis, there are three players standing head and shoulders above the others: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, & Novak Djokovic.
Their records speak for themselves. Between them, they can claim 52 Grand Slam singles titles. Federer alone holds eight Wimbledon titles, six Australian Open titles, and five consecutive US Open titles. With a single French Open title in 2009, the Swiss star is one of eight men to have completed the Career Grand Slam.
Nadal boasts 11 French Open titles, three US Open titles, two Wimbledon titles, and one Australian Open. Nadal is only the second male player to complete the Golden career Grand Slam.
Djokovic holds seven Australian Open titles, four Wimbledon titles, three US Open titles, and one French Open. This completes the Big Three all appearing on the Career Grand Slam list.
When you add in the Masters titles, the domination is even more clear. Nadal leads the Big Three with 33 Masters titles, Djokovic has 32, and Federer has 27. The Serbian is the youngest of the three and likely to have more longevity.
There has been talk of the “Next Generation: of players. At the Australian Open this week, none of these were able to get anywhere near Djokovic and Nadal. With the domination of the Big Three it will be a while before another player breaks through.
Can anyone break the stranglehold?
Looking at the records above, it seems unlikely. However, the Big Three have not had it all their own way. Taking a look at Slams, two men both hold three each. Stan Wawrinka has beaten both Nadal and Djokovic to hold the US Open title, French Open title, and Australian Open. Wawrinka has never played Federer in a Grand Slam final. The Swiss also holds one Masters title.
Andy Murray, to date, is the player who came closest. The Brit, like Wawrinka, has three Grand Slams: The US Open and two Wimbledon trophies. The latter for Brits being the most valuable, as it is the Brit’s home Slam. Murray also holds 14 Masters titles, which made him part of the “big Four” for many years. Unfortunately, injury currently looks to have curtailed the Brit’s career as he announced retirement.
Murray certainly has something that non of the Big Three have. The Brit holds two Olympic singles Gold Medals. Nadal won the Olympics Gold in 2008, with Murray winning in 2012 & 2016–making him the only player to have won back-to-back singles golds.
With no one else getting anywhere near the Big Three, it makes the achievements of Murray all the more incredible. The Brit’s retirement is going to be a big loss to the tour.
Breaking the stranglehold has never been easy, it looks like Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic will be dominating for a few more years yet.