The big 3 in tennis

There used to be a quasi big 4 in tennis Rodger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and 4th by a long shot Andy Murray. As good as a player he was at his top level, his place was never worthy at this table.  He has won 3 grand slams, but so has Stan Wawrinka. 

There’s the big 3 in tennis, end of story – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Between them, they have more or less completely dominated mens tennis over the past 20 years.  What they have achieved is simply astounding, having 3 players this dominant in the ATP Tour has never happened in the history of tennis and isn’t likely to happen again.

Image credit – Artist Oana Cocindau

Grand Slam Domination

Wagering on the big 3 has been one of the easiest ways to win betting on tennis.  Just look at the stats here, the big 3 have dominated tennis for the last 19 years.  In these 19 years there have been a total of 78 Grand Slams (Including the 2022 Wimbledon Championships and counting that Wimbledon was cancelled in 2020). 

The big three have won 62 of these Grand Slams!  Yes Roger Federer (40), Nadal (36) and Djokovic (35) have won an and an incredible 60 of the 76 majors since the 2003.  This complete domination for such a long time has never happened in an other sport.  And in 2022 so far the big tennis news is that Nadal is now a 22 grand slam winner and Djokovic becomes a 21 slam winner after his Wimbledon 2022 title!

Image – ATP World Tour

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Grand Slam Numbers

Nadal V’s Djokovic at 2018 Wimbledon Semi Final

All 3 players have won a Career Grand Slam – winning each major title at least once. As of January 2022, Rafa Nadal holds the all-time record for the most Grand Slam tournament titles with 21, with Federer and Djokovic sitting on 20 each

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ATP Title Wins

Roger Federer – 103

Rafael Nadal – 92

Novak Djokovic – 88

Time at number 1

Nadal at Wimbledon Centre Court

Djokovic is the current number one, Nadal number two and Federer number three

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For a long time Roger Federer held the all time record with 310 weeks at world No. 1, including 237 consecutive weeks at the top of the ATP rankings, the most of any player.

However in 2021 Djokovic surpassed Federer’s record and is now 356 weeks and counting at number one.  They are followed by Pete Sampras on 286 weeks while Nadal has spent 196 weeks at number one.

The Future of the Big 3

While Federer was the unanimous GOAT, Nadal has stripped him of this title after his 2022 Australian Open and Rolland Garros titles.  But the battle rages on and Djokovic is the youngest of the trio by a year which may give him an edge.

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In 2016 Federer and Nadal had a dip in form (because of injury) and people talked about a changing of the guard and that their dominance at the top could be over.  Federer in particular was heavily discounted because of age and injury.  Then what happened? Federer came back better than ever and has beaten his old rival 5 out of the last 6 times they’ve played since 2017.  He won 2 Grand Slams and a few other major titles, becoming world number one again.

While injury has kept Federer off the court for prolonged periods during 2020/21/22 he could still be a grand slam contender.  Nadal and Djokovic are still so far ahead of the rest of the top 10 on the ATP Tour that it’s hard to any see challenger to the big three just yet.

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