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, we never felt his place was worthy at this table. He has won 3 grand slams, but so has Wawrinka. So realistically there’s the big 3 in tennis – 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.

Grand Slam Domination

Just look at the stats here, the big 3 have won the last 12 majors in a row and they are all 32 +. But the shining statistic is this – Federer (38), Nadal (33) and Djokovic (32) have won an and an incredible 57 of the 67 majors since the 2003! 

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Image – ATP World Tour

Since Wimbledon 2003, only 11 of 67 majors have been won by men not named Federer, Nadal or Djokovic. Of those 11, Murray and Wawrinka account for six.

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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 September 2019, Roger Federer holds the all-time record for the most Grand Slam tournament titles with 20. Federer’s Grand Slam tournament titles include 11 on hard courts, 8 on grass, and 1 on clay.

Nadal has 19 in total: An incredible 12 on clay, 5 on hard courts, and 2 on grass. Djokovic is now 3rd behind Nadal with 17 Grand Slams won. 8 Australian Open Titles, 3 US Open, 5 at Wimbledon and 1 French Open title.

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ATP Title Wins

Roger Federer – 28 Master 1000 titles, 23 ATP 500 and 25 ATP 250 titles

Rafael Nadal holds 34 Masters 1000 titles, 20 ATP 500 and 9 ATP 250 titles.

Novak Djokovic – 33 Master 1000 titles, 12 ATP 500 and 9 ATP 250 titles

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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Roger Federer holds 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.

He’s followed by one of the other greats of his time, Pete Sampras on 286 weeks and Djokovic is the fifth highest on 268 weeks, while Nadal has spent 196 weeks at number one.

The Future of the Big 3

While Federer is the unanimous GOAT, the battle rages on and Nadal is now only one grand slam from his historic record. Djokovic is the youngest of the trio by a year which gives him an edge.

A few years ago with the dip on form (because of injury) of Federer and Nadal, people talked about a changing of the guard and that their dominance of the game could be over. 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.

They are still so far ahead of the rest of the top 10 on the ATP Tour that it’s hard to see Djokovic and Nadal slowing down any time soon. Federer ranked 3rd in the world may be 38, but he is still beating the 2nd best in the world regularly, winning Masters titles and making grand slam finals, so don’t count him out just yet!

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