Big Four (tennis)
|The Big Four|
|Career record||2625-623 (80.8%)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||W (2004F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008D, 2009N, 2010F, 2011D, 2012D, 2013D)|
|French Open||W (2005N, 2006N, 2007N, 2008N, 2009F, 2010N, 2011N, 2012N, 2013N)|
|Wimbledon||W (2003F, 2004F, 2005F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008N, 2009F, 2010N, 2011D, 2012F, 2013M)|
|US Open||W (2004F, 2005F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008F, 2010N, 2011D, 2012M, 2013N)|
|Tour Finals||W (2003F, 2004F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008D, 2010F, 2011F, 2012D, 2013D)|
|Olympic Games||Gold Medal (2008N, 2012M)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||3R (2003F2004N, 2005N)|
|French Open||2R (2006M)|
|US Open||SF (2004N)|
|Olympic Games||Gold Medal (2008F)|
|Other Mixed Doubles tournaments|
|Olympic Games||Silver Medal (2012M)|
|Davis Cup||W (2004N, 2008N, 2009N, 2010D, 2011N)|
|Hopman Cup||W (2001F)|
|Last updated on: 18 November 2013.|
|Olympic medal record|
|Silver||2012 London||Mixed DoublesM|
In tennis, the Big Four referred to the quartet of men's singles players Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray. These players were considered dominant in terms of ranking and tournament victories, including Grand Slam tournaments and ATP Masters 1000 events, as well as the ATP World Tour Finals and Olympic Games through 2013. Federer was the first to come to prominence after winning Wimbledon in 2003 and established himself as the world No. 1 by the beginning of 2004. Nadal followed in 2005 after a French Open triumph including a win over Federer, and they occupied the top two places in the ATP rankings for 211 consecutive weeks from July 2005 to August 2009. Djokovic, from 2007, and later Murray, from 2009, increasingly challenged Federer's and Nadal's dominance with seasonal consistency: Djokovic captured three of the four Grand Slam tournaments in 2011, and in 2012 the quartet won one Slam tournament apiece. In 2011 Nadal declared that his and Federer's period of joint dominance had been replaced by a "Big Four".
Since this time the term "Big Four", whilst used previously, became popular with the media and in tennis literature. The Big Four were a critical part of what is often labelled a new "Golden Era" in tennis since 2010, though that term is also applied to the mid-1970s to 1980s, and the 1920s to the 1930s. Between them, they have won 34 of the last 36 Grand Slam men's singles titles, from the 2005 French Open through to the 2014 Australian Open (the only times they haven't won being at the 2009 US Open and the 2014 Australian Open).They have regularly occupied the top four places in the year-end rankings between 2008 and 2013, with Murray being the only member not to have been ranked world number 1, having reached a career high number 2 on several occasions. Of the four, Federer leads with a record 17 Grand Slam titles followed by Nadal (13), Djokovic (6) and Murray (2). Federer and Nadal have completed a Career Grand Slam by winning each of the four Grand Slams at least once, with Nadal also winning a Gold Medal at 2008 Summer Olympics for a Career Golden Slam. Thus far Djokovic has not won the French Open and Murray has not won either the French Open or the Australian Open but won Gold Medal at 2012 Summer Olympics.
Federer is the only one to beat all of the other three at the same tournament having achieved this at the 2010 World Tour Finals; where he defeated Murray in the round robin, Djokovic in the semifinals, and Nadal in the championship match.
- 1 History
- 2 Overall dominance
- 2.1 Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympics
- 2.2 ATP Masters tournaments
- 2.3 Davis Cup
- 2.4 Top-Level tournament records
- 2.5 The Big Four vs the rest of the field
- 2.6 Tournament titles 2009–2013
- 2.7 Tournament titles overall
- 2.8 Grand Slam tournament performance comparison
- 2.9 Rankings
- 2.10 Main International Awards
- 3 Status
- 4 Recognition
- 5 Rivalries
- 6 Notable matches
- 6.1 2007 Wimbledon Championships final
- 6.2 2008 Wimbledon Championships final
- 6.3 2009 Australian Open final
- 6.4 2010 US Open final
- 6.5 2011 French Open semifinal
- 6.6 2012 Australian Open final
- 6.7 2012 French Open final
- 6.8 2012 Wimbledon Championships final
- 6.9 2012 US Open final
- 6.10 2013 Australian Open final
- 6.11 2013 French Open semifinal
- 6.12 2013 Wimbledon Championships final
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
Federer and Nadal
The early 2000s were seen as a time of transition in tennis, with older players retiring and a few players breaking through at the very top of the game. Roger Federer had first played on the ATP Tour aged 17 in 1998, finishing his first full ATP season the following year before finishing 2002 ranked sixth in the world, his first year-end ranking in the top 8. His breakthrough came in 2003 when he won his first Grand Slam tournament, and finished the year as world number 2 behind Andy Roddick. The following two years he had almost complete solo dominance, winning five of eight Grand Slams and losing just ten matches in 2004 and 2005.
Nadal had won his first ATP Tour match aged 15 years and 10 months in April 2002, and he defeated Federer in their first meeting in 2004 at Miami. 2005 was Nadal's breakthrough year, in which he won 24 consecutive matches on clay, including his first French Open beating Federer en route in the semifinals, and he finished as world number 2 whilst Federer remained number 1 for a second straight year.
The period between 2005 and 2008 was subsequently dominated by the Federer-Nadal rivalry. They won 11 consecutive Grand Slams, meeting in every French Open and Wimbledon final from 2006–2008. The 2008 Wimbledon final, which Nadal won, has been lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts. From 2005–2010 they ended every year as the world's top two players.
Djokovic and Murray
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were born a week apart, played each other as juniors and made their Grand Slam debuts in 2005. Djokovic made his ATP tour debut in 2004, while Murray's was in 2005, a time when many bright youngsters joined the ATP tour. They both reached the world top 100 in 2005, and the world top 10 in 2007. Djokovic, however, began to excel ahead of Murray, reaching one Grand Slam final and two semifinals in 2007 and began to challenge Federer and Nadal regularly. He also won two Masters tournament titles and 5 titles in total, finishing the year ranked number 3 in world. Murray, who was forced out of the French Open and Wimbledon by injury, ended 2007 ranked 11th, winning two ATP tournaments.
2008–2010: 'Emergence of the Big Four'
This was a time in which first Novak Djokovic and later Andy Murray attempted to end the duopoly of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the summit of tennis, they did not break it but were clearly ahead of the rest of the tour. At the 2008 Australian Open, Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in the semifinals, reaching his first Australian Open final and ending Federer's streak of ten consecutive Major finals, continuing his fine form at the end of the 2007 season which saw him reach his first Grand Slam final. Djokovic went on to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (who had eliminated Nadal in the semifinal) to win his first Grand Slam. Following his Australian Open win, Djokovic emerged as a clear world number three during the year, holding the ranking throughout 2008. Meanwhile, Andy Murray continued to rise in the rankings, reaching his first Major quarterfinal at Wimbledon, losing to Nadal. He also won his first two Masters titles.
Federer and Nadal remained the lead rivalry, and the pair met in the final of both the French Open and Wimbledon. Nadal won both, with the latter described as one of the greatest tennis matches of all time. In August 2008, Nadal passed Federer to become world No. 1, after Federer had been at the top for a record 237 consecutive weeks.
The year's final Major, the US Open, saw all four players reach the semifinals of the same Major for the first time. Federer defeated Djokovic in the semifinals, whilst Murray won through to his first Grand Slam final after upsetting the top-ranked Nadal in four sets. Federer then defeated Murray in the final to win his fifth consecutive US Open title, and win his 13th Major title overall. Following the US Open, Murray entered the top four in the ATP rankings for the first time and all four players qualified for the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup, which Djokovic won. Despite having to withdraw from this event through injury, Nadal ended the year ranked world No. 1, ahead of Federer, Djokovic and Murray respectively.
In 2009, the Big Four held the top four places in the rankings for a whole calendar year for the first time. This also prompted the first uses of the term 'Big Four' to refer to the players, although results saw Nadal and Federer generally remain clear leaders ahead of Djokovic and Murray who they themselves were still regarded ahead of the rest of the tour. At the Australian Open, Nadal won his first Australian Open title in another 5-set epic, obtaining a third consecutive Grand Slam final victory over Federer, while Murray and Djokovic were eliminated earlier on. Nadal continued to dominate early in the season, but suffered from injury in June, allowing Federer to take the upper hand for the rest of the season. Federer subsequently passed the record for most Grand Slam wins, taking his 14th and 15th Grand Slam titles at the French Open and Wimbledon respectively. Federer finished the season having reached all four Grand Slam finals for the third time in his career following 2006 and 2007.
Following Nadal's injuries, Murray and Djokovic made up further grounds in the rankings, although neither of them were able to make a Major final in 2009. In particular, their consistency at Masters level tournaments kept them in the top four of the rankings, with Murray reaching world No. 2 in August, and ending the 211-week reign of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the top two players of the world in the process. His reign as the world No. 2 would not last long, as he was upset in the fourth round of the US Open by Croat Marin Čilić. There, Djokovic reached his first Grand Slam semifinal of 2009, losing in straight sets to Federer whilst Nadal was defeated by eventual winner Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinal. To date, this is only one of two Grand Slam events the quartet has not won since the 2005 Australian Open (Wawrinka won the 2014 Australian Open).
At the end of 2009 Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray finished as the ATP's top four players for the second year in a row, with only Nadal and Federer changing positions from the 2008 final rankings list.
During the 2010 season, the Big Four began to dominate the Tour as a group for the first time. The Big Four provided six of the eight Grand Slam finalists, and won 14 tournaments combined in the season (compared to 6 for the other four competitors at the 2010 ATP World Tour Finals). At the start of the year, Federer continued his dominance as world number one by winning the Australian Open, defeating Murray in the final, however, Nadal dominated the clay-court season, winning all three clay-court Masters events and the French Open. Nadal also won at Wimbledon, although in both of these Grand Slams did not have to beat another member of the Big Four, who were eliminated early.
At the US Open, Djokovic beat Federer to reach his third Major final, although Nadal won once again to complete his Career Grand Slam. In November, Robin Soderling (who has reached the French Open final) briefly passed Murray to reach fourth place in the ATP rankings, threatening to break the Big Four's run of filling the end-of-year rankings. However, all of the Big Four reached the 2010 ATP World Tour Finals semifinals with Federer defeating Nadal in 3 sets in the final, leading to them achieving their third successive season in the top 4 positions. Again Djokovic and Murray were third and fourth respectively, both reaching one Grand Slam final apiece.
2011 to 2013: Dominance
The 2011 season was dominated by Novak Djokovic. Djokovic won 10 titles in total, including three Grand Slam titles (only the fifth man in the open era to do so) and five ATP Masters 1000 titles (a record), enjoyed a 41 match winning streak (ended by Federer in the semifinals of the 2011 French Open), amassed a record in prize money, and ascended to number 1 in the world for the first time on 4 July. The season was described by many experts and former players as one of the best tennis seasons for a single player seen in history, with Tennis Magazine describing it as the third best tennis season ever, behind Roger Federer's 2006 season, and Rod Laver's in 1969. Pete Sampras described it as "one of the best achievements in all of sport."
Djokovic's dominance contributed to an overall control by the Big Four. They all reached the semifinals at two of the year's Grand Slams, and between them won every Masters tournament. Nadal was a clear second place behind Djokovic, winning the French Open and losing in both the Wimbledon and US Open final. Nadal ended the season with a 0–6 losing record against Djokovic: every match they played was a championship final.
By his standards, Roger Federer had a weak season: he failed to win a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2002, losing to Nadal for the fourth time in a French Open final, and the sixth time overall in Grand Slam finals. He dropped to world number 4 in November, the first time he had been ranked outside the top 3 since 2002. Federer's drop was caused by Murray's remarkable run of form in Asia in October, winning three successive titles. However, Federer rallied, winning his three final tournaments, including the World Tour Finals, which was enough to secure an end-of-season ranking of number 3. Murray, meanwhile, was making significant improvements to his game and made the semifinals of all four Grand Slam tournaments, with his best result a defeat in the Australian Open final by Djokovic. He ended the year with two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles for the fourth year in a row, and five titles in total.
The dominance of the Big Four continued in 2012. Each player won one Grand Slam tournament: Djokovic won in Australia, Nadal in France, Federer at Wimbledon and Murray (who hired former world number 1 Ivan Lendl as his head coach earlier in the year) with his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. This win "cemented" Murray's position – who also won gold in the Olympic Games – as a member of the Big Four: his end of season ranking of third was his best yet. Djokovic entered the season as world number 1, and remained there until July 2012, when he was overtaken by Federer, who reclaimed the top spot for the first time since June 2010. Federer subsequently overtook Sampras' record of 286 weeks at the top, and ultimately extended the record to 302 weeks. Federer relinquished his number 1 ranking on 5 November, Djokovic reclaiming the top spot and ending the year at the top of the rankings for the second year in a row. Djokovic was the only player to make at least the semifinals in all four Grand Slams, and was the losing finalist at the French and US Open. Both he and Federer won three Masters tournaments, seeing them dominate the season as a whole. Federer was also the silver medalist at the Olympics, where Djokovic finished fourth. Nadal, meanwhile, had his season cut short by an injury. Having won two clay court Masters tournaments and the French Open, he was eliminated in the second round at Wimbledon – his first defeat at such an early stage in a Grand Slam since 2005. He later revealed that he had been injured going into the tournament, and he did not compete for the rest of the season, but still ended the year as world number 4.
The 2013 season continued in similar fashion, with Djokovic, Federer and Murray occupying three of the four semifinal slots at the Australian Open, with Nadal still suffering from injury. Murray beat Federer in a five-set epic in the semifinal meaning all four members of the Big Four had beaten each other at least once in a Grand Slam event, subsequently losing to Djokovic in the final in four sets. As a result Djokovic became the third man to win four Australian Open titles and the first to win three consecutively. Murray himself becoming the first man to reach the final of the next Grand Slam event after winning their maiden title. Nadal returned for the clay-court season, winning events in Rome, Barcelona, Madrid before becoming the only male player to win a Grand Slam tournament eight times by winning the French Open, defeating Djokovic in the semifinals. However, Djokovic did end Nadal's eight-year winning streak at the Monte-Carlo Masters. Murray's clay-court season ended prematurely because of a back injury and did not compete at the French Open, whereas Federer lost in the quarterfinals after making the final in Rome. Nadal and Federer lost early at Wimbledon in the first and second round respectively, thus ending Federer's 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarter final appearance record. Murray defeated Djokovic in the final to become the first British man to win the tournament in 77 years, extending his winning streak on grass to 18 matches. Leading up to the US Open, Nadal won ATP Masters 1000 events in Montreal and Cincinnati, his third hardcourt ATP Masters 1000 event of the year after winning at Indian Wells earlier in the year, extending his winning streak to 15–0 on hardcourts for the year. He went on to win the US Open, defeating Djokovic in the final in four sets. Whilst Murray and Federer lost early, in the quarterfinals and fourth round respectively.
Overall, the season was about Nadal and Djokovic. Nadal won two Majors and five ATP Masters 1000 events. He was also runner-up at the ATP World Tour Finals. Djokovic won one Major, and reached two finals and a quarterfinal in the other three, and finished the year strongly on a 22-match winning streak, winning the ATP World Tour Finals in London. The 2013 head-to-head record of Nadal and Djokovic was tied at 3–3. A back injury ended Murray's season prematurely and he finished fourth in the rankings, but was the only player besides Nadal and Djokovic to win a Grand Slam or ATP Masters 1000 title, at Wimbledon and Miami respectively. Federer suffered his worst season for a decade. He reached just one Major semifinal, failed to win a single ATP Masters 1000 crown and finished the year sixth in the rankings with one title to his name, though he too suffered from a recurring back injury throughout the season.
2014 and beyond: Aftermath of the Big Four
As 2013 came to a close, Roger Federer's continual fall in the rankings ended the status of the Big Four per rankings and most sources.[a] Despite this, the Big Four all reached the quarterfinal stage of the Australian Open. However, defeats of Djokovic and Nadal by Stanislas Wawrinka during the Australian Open, which Wawrinka won, marked just the second time since 2005 and the first since 2009 that a player outside the Big Four had won a Grand Slam tournament, it also saw Murray and Federer drop to six and eighth in the rankings respectively. After the tournament, several players expressed the opinion that they are now capable of challenging the Big Four. The Big Four themselves accepted there has been a shift in the hierarchy in recent times.
Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympics
Since the 2005 Australian Open, the opening Grand Slam tournament of the 2005 ATP Tour, the Big Four have won all but two Majors, all but two Tennis Masters Cups/ATP World Tour Finals as well as both Olympic Games singles tournaments.
The dominance does not just consist of winning the events either, with all four members regularly making it to the latter stages of the tournament. Since 2008 they have occupied all four semifinal spots on four occasions, at the 2008 US Open, 2011 French Open, 2011 US Open & 2012 Australian Open, as well as taking three of the four spaces on nine other separate occasions. In 2011 they occupied 14 out of a possible 16 Grand Slam semifinal slots. In the same period, only twice have two or more not made the semifinal stage (2009 & 2010 French Open), while in 2012 they took 13 out 16 Grand Slam semifinal slots. At the Olympics, members of the Big Four took two of the three available Singles medals in 2008 and 2012, and including doubles have a total of three golds, two silvers and a bronze from these games. Federer and Murray are the only members of the Big Four to have two Olympic Medals, and Murray is the only one to have won two Medals at the same tournament, taking both the singles' Gold medal and the mixed doubles' Silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Djokovic is the only member to not have won a gold medal in any event so far, having taken the singles' bronze medal in 2008.
The Big Four, along with Rod Laver, Tony Roche and Ivan Lendl, are the only men in Open Era history to reach the semifinals at all four Majors in a single calendar year, Federer has achieved this a record 5 times in his career so far and Djokovic thrice. However, this feat has been accomplished many more times in the pre-Open Era.
Combined Grand Slam tournament singles performance timeline (best result)
|Pre Big Four||Dominance||PBF1|
|Grand Slam tournaments|
|Australian Open||Q1F||3RF||3RF||4RF||4RF||WF||SFF||WF||WF||WD||WN||WF||WD||WD||WD||9 / 14||FN|
|French Open||1RF||4RF||QFF||1RF||1RF||3RF||WN||WN||WN||WN||WF||WN||WN||WN||WN||9 / 15|
|Wimbledon||1RF||1RF||QFF||1RF||WF||WF||WF||WF||WF||WN||WF||WN||WD||WF||WM||11 / 15|
|US Open||Q2F||3RF||4RF||4RF||4RF||WF||WF||WF||WF||WF||FF||WN||WD||WM||WN||9 / 13|
1Post Big Four.
Combined Olympic Games singles performance timeline (best result)
|Pre Big Four||Dominance||PBF|
|Summer Olympics||NH||SFF||Not Held||2RF||Not Held||GN||Not Held||GM||NH||2 / 4||NH|
ATP Masters tournaments
Similarly, ATP Masters/ATP Masters 1000 events have been dominated by the Big Four. Nadal leads with a record 26 Masters titles followed by Federer (21), Djokovic (18), and Murray (9). Since 2005, spanning seventy-nine events, they have won sixty-six, since 2007 of the sixty-one they've won fifty-two, and since 2009 of the forty-three events that have taken place, they've won thirty-eight. This includes all 9 in 2011. Moreover, between the 2010 Paris Masters and 2012 Paris Masters, they won 17 consecutive ATP Masters 1000 events. As of the 2013 Rome Masters, they have won 109 titles from 121 finals at all levels of the ATP Tour since the start of the 2008 season.
Of these ATP Masters events, excluding the Paris Masters (where the Big Four have had little success) they have won:
- All but one Indian Wells Masters events since (and including) 2004.
- All but two Miami Masters events since (and including) 2005.
- Every Monte-Carlo Masters event since (and including) 2005.
- Every Rome Masters event since (and including) 2005.
- All but one Madrid Masters event since (and including) 2005.
- Every Canada Masters event since (and including) 2004.
- All but one Cincinnati Masters event since (and including) 2005.
- All but one Shanghai Masters event since its introduction in 2009.
- All but one Hamburg Masters event between 2004–08 before it was downgraded to an ATP 500 tournament.[a]
a Of the seven they failed to win, they've occupied the runner-up spots on three occasions.
Combined Masters performance timeline (best result)
|Pre Big Four||Dominance||PBF|
|ATP World Tour Masters 1000|
|Indian Wells Masters||A||Q1||1RF||3RF||2RF||WF||WF||WF||WN||WD||WN||SFN||WD||WF||WN||9 / 13||WD|
|Miami Masters||1RF||2RF||QFF||FF||QFF||4RN||WF||WF||WD||FN||WM||SFN||WD||WD||WM||7 / 15||WD|
|Monte-Carlo Masters||1RF||1RF||QFF||2RF||3RN||A||WN||WN||WN||WN||WN||WN||WN||WN||WD||9 / 14|
|Madrid Masters1||A||1RF||1RF||WF||3RNF||WF||WF||2RMD||WF||WN||WF||WN||WD||WF||WN||10 / 14|
|Rome Masters||A||1RF||3RF||1RF||FF||2RF||WN||WN||WN||WD||WN||WN||WD||WN||WN||9 / 14|
|Canada Masters||A||1RF||A||1RF||SFF||WF||WN||WF||WD||WN||WM||WM||WD||WD||WN||10 / 13|
|Cincinnati Masters||A||1RF||A||1RF||2RF||1RFN||WF||QFNM||WF||WM||WF||WF||WM||WF||WN||8 / 13|
|Shanghai Masters2||A||2RF||2RF||QFF||SFF||2RN||WN||WF||FF||WM||FN||WM||WM||WD||WD||7 / 14|
|Paris Masters||A||1RF||2RF||QFF||QFF||A||3RD||3RM||FN||QFNF||WD||SFF||WF||3RM||WD||3 / 13|
|ATP World Tour Finals||Did Not Qualify||SFF||WF||WF||FF||WF||WF||WD||SFF||WF||WF||WD||WD||9 / 12|
Combined Davis Cup performance timeline (best result)
|QFF||1RF||QFF||1RF||SFF||WN||1RF, N||1RF, N||POD, F, M||WN||WN||WD||WN||1RF||FD||5 / 14|
Top-Level tournament records
The four Grand Slams, Summer Olympics, nine ATP Masters 1000s, and the ATP World Tour Finals make up the 15 most coveted top-level tournaments in men's tennis. Although no player has won each of these 15 events in men's singles, this monumental feat has been achieved in men's doubles by Canada's Daniel Nestor and the United States' Bryan Brothers, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. Three of the Big Four are within 3 of matching this feat in men's singles, and just 1 from equaling Andre Agassi who ended his career having won 13 of these 15 events, achieving a Career Grand Slam (winning all four Grand Slams), a Career Golden Slam (winning all four Grand Slams and the Olympic singles gold medal), and what Sports Illustrated called a Career Super Slam (winning all four Grand Slams, the Olympic singles gold medal, and the ATP World Tour Finals). Nadal has also achieved a Career Grand Slam and a Career Golden Slam, but has thus far fallen short of winning the Tour Finals, and the Miami and Paris Masters. Federer has also achieved a Career Grand Slam, but is missing the Olympic Gold in singles, and the Monte Carlo and Rome Masters. Djokovic, as the only man to have won eight of the nine Masters events, is just a Cincinnati title away from achieving what has been labelled the Career Golden Masters, as well as needing the French Open and Olympic Gold to complete his overall tally. Murray, for his part, is still only about half way to the goal having won 7 of the 15 events, however 3 of them have come recently and within an eleven month period (2012 Olympics, 2012 US Open, and 2013 Wimbledon).
|Grand Slams||Olympics||ATP World Tour Masters 1000||Finals||SR|
|Roger Federer||W (4)*||W (1)||W (7)*||W (5)*||S (1)||W (4)*||W (2)||F (3)||W (6)*||F (3)||W (2)||W (5)*||W (1)||W (1)||W (6)*||12 / 15|
|Rafael Nadal||W (1)||W (8)*||W (2)||W (2)||G (1)*||W (3)||F (4)||W (8)*||W (3)||W (7)*||W (3)||W (1)||W (1)||F (1)||F (2)||12 / 15|
|Novak Djokovic||W (4)*||F (1)||W (1)||W (1)||B (1)||W (3)||W (4)||W (1)||W (1)||W (2)||W (3)||F (4)||W (2)||W (2)||W (3)||12 / 15|
|Andy Murray||F (3)*||SF (1)||W (1)||W (1)||G (1)*||F (1)||W (2)||SF (2)||QF (3)||SF (1)||W (2)||W (2)||W (3)*||QF (4)||SF (3)||7 / 15|
1Held as Hamburg Masters until 2008, Madrid Masters (clay) 2009–present.
2Held as Stuttgart Masters until 2001, Madrid Masters (hardcourt) from 2002–08, and Shanghai Masters 2009–present.
*Denotes all-time tournament record.
The Big Four vs the rest of the field
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (December 2013)|
To date the Big Four have collectively won 38 Grand Slam titles (with Federer a record 17, Nadal 13, Djokovic 6, and Murray 2). The only other active players who have a Grand Slam to their name are Lleyton Hewitt (2001 US Open, 2002 Wimbledon), Juan Martin del Potro (2009 US Open) and Stanislas Wawrinka (2014 Australian Open). Starting with the 2005 Wimbledon Championships, their combined record at Grand Slam tournaments against everyone else is 570–50. Moreover, only five times has a player outside the group beaten two of them in the same tournament (Safin at the 2005 Australian Open, Tsonga at the 2008 Australian Open, del Potro at the 2009 US Open, Berdych at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships and Wawrinka at the 2014 Australian Open). Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the only man to have beaten each member of the Big Four at a Grand Slam event.
The Big Four have played in 83 tournaments where all four have competed. Collectively they have won 72 of these 83 tournaments (87%). Of the 11 tournaments they failed to win, they were runner-up in 5 of them, and 5 of these 11 tournaments occurred prior to them first being seeded as the Top 4 players (post-US Open 2008). Since this time in 2008, the Big Four have won 43 of 50 tournaments (86%). And starting with the 2010 Rome Masters, they had won 31 tournaments in a row where all four have been present, up until the 2014 Australian Open.
Only seven players have managed to win a tournament where all four of the Big Four have competed:
- Andy Roddick (2006 Cincinnati Masters, 2008 Dubai Tennis Championships, 2010 Miami Masters)
- David Nalbandian (2007 Madrid Masters, 2007 Paris Masters)
- Nikolay Davydenko (2008 Miami Masters, 2009 ATP World Tour Finals)
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2008 Paris Masters)
- Juan Martin del Potro (2009 US Open)
- Ivan Ljubičić (2010 Indian Wells Masters)
- Stanislas Wawrinka (2014 Australian Open)
The Big Four's dominance ratio is even higher when only three of the Big Four have competed in the same tournament. Of the 36 events where this has occurred, they have won 33 of them (92%). Since 2008, they have won 22 of 24 tournaments (92%).
Only three players have managed to win a tournament where three of the Big Four have competed:
- Marat Safin (2005 Australian Open)
- Sam Querrey (2010 Queen's Club Championships)
- Robin Soderling (2010 Paris Masters)
The Big Four's dominance record diminishes when only two of them have competed in an event, but overall they still have a 67% success rate, winning 36 of the 54 tournaments in this category, and a success rate of 78%, winning 18 of 23 tournaments, since 2008.
As for tournaments where only one of the Big Four has competed, this is the only category where the rest of the field has a positive ratio, winning 177 of the 242 tournaments (73%) played overall. However, it must be noted that this includes many tournaments played early on in each of the Big Four's careers when they were still unseeded or seeded in triple or double digits. Since their debut as the Top 4 seeds in late 2008, the Big Four have won 20 of the 41 tournaments (49%) where just one of them has competed.
Only 14 players have recorded at least one victory over each member of the Big Four. Of these players, eight have recorded ten or more victories in total, one has a positive record against two members (both are 2–1 win-loss records), and none have a positive record against all four combined.
Tournament titles 2009–2013
|Grand Slam Tournaments||ATP World Tour Masters 1000||ATP World Tour Finals||Olympic
|ATP World Tour 500 series||ATP World Tour 250 series||Total|
|Rafael Nadal||8 / 17||14 / 38||0 / 4||0 / 0||6 / 10||2 / 10||30 / 79 = 38%|
|Novak Djokovic||5 / 20||12 / 42||2 / 5||0 / 1||9 / 13||2 / 10||30 / 91 = 33%|
|Roger Federer||4 / 20||7 / 36||2 / 5||0 / 1||4 / 11||3 / 10||20 / 83 = 24%|
|Andy Murray||2 / 19||7 / 41||0 / 4||1 / 1||3 / 11||7 / 10||20 / 86 = 23%|
|Total||19 / 20[a]||40 / 45[b]||4 / 5[c]||1 / 1[d]||22 / 30[e][f]||14 / 30[f]||100 / 131 = 76%|
e Soderling won the 2010 & 2011 Rotterdam Open, Ferrer won the 2010 Valencia Open, Nishikori won the 2012 Japan Open, Tokyo, del Potro won the 2012 Swiss Indoors, Basel, 2013 Rotterdam Open & 2013 Swiss Indoors, Basel, and Fognini won the 2013 German Open, Hamburg.
Tournament titles overall
|Grand Slam Tournaments||ATP World Tour Masters 1000||ATP World Tour Finals||Olympic
|ATP World Tour 500 series||ATP World Tour 250 series||Total|
|Rafael Nadal||13 / 37||26 / 77||0 / 6||1 / 1||14 / 25||7 / 40||61 / 186 = 32%|
|Roger Federer||17 / 59||21 / 106||6 / 12||0 / 4||12 / 34||21 / 67||77 / 282 = 27%|
|Novak Djokovic||6 / 37||17 / 69||3 / 7||0 / 2||10 / 20||6 / 27||42 / 162 = 25%|
|Andy Murray||2 / 32||9 / 68||0 / 5||1 / 2||3 / 19||13 / 34||28 / 160 = 18%|
|Total||38 / 59||72 / 123||9 / 12||2 / 4||39 / 70||46 / 147||206 / 415 = 50%|
Grand Slam tournament performance comparison
Before 2005, Murray and Djokovic had not competed in a Grand Slam tournament. Nadal had made four appearances during 2003 and 2004, reaching the third round at 2003 Wimbledon and 2004 Australian Open. Federer had been competing in Grand Slam tournaments since 1999, and had won Wimbledon in 2003 and 2004, as well as the 2004 Australian Open and 2004 US Open.
|Pre Big Four||Dominance|
|Dominance||Post Big Four|
D indicates the player met Novak Djokovic at that tournament.
F indicates the player met Roger Federer at that tournament.
M indicates the player met Andy Murray at that tournament.
N indicates the player met Rafael Nadal at that tournament.
Between September 8, 2008 and January 28, 2013, the top four positions in the ATP Rankings were occupied by all members of the Big Four for all but 16 weeks. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were consistently in the top four for this period of time, and only two other players entered the top four in this period: Juan Martin del Potro (3 weeks), Robin Soderling (13 weeks). This run was ended when David Ferrer replaced Nadal in the top 4 following a period of injury for Nadal, and retained his place in the top 4 for much of 2013 as Roger Federer dropped down the rankings.[b]
In this same period, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all occupied the number one spot, with Murray reaching a career high of world No. 2 between August 17–31 in 2009. Federer first achieved the feat in 2004 after winning his first Australian Open, whereas Nadal did in 2008 following his Olympics vistory after three straight years of ending the year ranked world No. 2, behind Federer. Similarly, Djokovic achieved world No. 1 status following his Wimbledon victory in 2011, after four consecutive years at no. 3, in a season which is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of the sport. He held his spot at the top of the rankings for exactly a year before being surpassed by Roger Federer in June 2012 after he won his 7th Wimbledon title, and by doing so, equalled Pete Sampras's record of 7 Wimbledon titles and also surpassed his record of total weeks at world No. 1, extending his stay to a total of 302 weeks before Djokovic retained his ranking at the season's end after winning the 2012 ATP World Tour Finals and then solidified his position by retaining his Australian Open title, winning it for a record-tying fourth time.
As of August 26, 2013, between them, they have held:
- The first two places in the ATP Rankings continuously since July 25, 2005 (exclusively by Federer and Nadal from July 2005 to August 2010).
- The first three places in the ATP Rankings continuously from August 13, 2007 – October 14, 2013
- The top four places in the ATP Rankings for all but 16 weeks from September 8, 2008 – January 28, 2013
Year-end ranking timeline
|Pre Big Four||Dominance||PBF|
|Year End Ranking||2003||2004||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010||2011||2012||2013||2014|
As of March 17, 2014.
|Current Rankings (last 52 weeks)||Race to ATP World Tour Finals (YTD)|
|1||Rafael Nadal||13,130||1||Stanislas Wawrinka||2,380|
|2||Novak Djokovic||10,900||2||Roger Federer||2,010|
|3||Stanislas Wawrinka||5,650||3||Rafael Nadal||1,995|
|4||David Ferrer||5,150||4||Novak Djokovic||1,690|
|5||Roger Federer||5,045||5||Tomáš Berdych||1,685|
|6||Andy Murray||4,795||6||Marin Čilić||1,000|
|7||Tomáš Berdych||4,540||6||David Ferrer||990|
|8||Juan Martín del Potro||4,270||8||Grigor Dimitrov||970|
Main International Awards
|ATP World Tour Awards|
|Player of the Year||F||F||F||F||N||F||N||D||D||N||10 / 10|
|Sportsmanship Award||F||F||F||F||F||F||N||F||F||F||10 / 10|
|Fan Favorite||F||F||F||F||F||F||F||F||F||F||10 / 10|
|ITF World Champions|
|Men's Singles||F||F||F||F||N||F||N||D||D||D||10 / 10|
|ESPY Award 1|
|Best Male Tennis Player||F||F||F||F||F||F||N||D||D||9 / 9|
1Award shown in year that was honored, not year the award was presented.
Some tennis commentators have spoken of a 'Big Three' or 'Trivalry', with Murray behind the other three players, including Murray himself. Between September 2008 and January 2013, Murray was the only one of the Big Four to have dropped outside of the top four rankings on the ATP Tour. Murray is also the only one in the "Big Four" to never have been ranked world number one. However, Murray's total of nine Masters titles, five consecutive Major semifinals in 2011–2012, four consecutive Major finals in 2012–13, and victories at the 2012 Olympic Games (defeating Federer in the final and Djokovic in the Semi-Final), 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon (defeating Djokovic in both finals), as well as being ranked no. 2 in the world behind Djokovic have led to him being reported as definitively part of the 'Big Four' since 2010.
Fellow top players, including David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Roddick have all spoken about the dominance of the Big Four and the challenge they face in matching them. David Ferrer commented:
|“||I think the top four, they are better. It's my opinion. But I am trying to win every match. The results, are there, no? I'm not making something up. It's very difficult for me to win a Grand Slam because there are the top four. At this time they are better than the other players.||”|
Many former top professionals have also spoken about the topic, including Björn Borg, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic. At the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, 11-time Major champion Björn Borg was quoted as saying:
|“||I don't think it has been so exciting, with four great players, for so many years. People always talk about one or two great players, and now we've got four. I cannot see anyone winning Wimbledon apart from those four guys. There's such a big gap between the top four and everyone else.||”|
Many believe the presence of the Big Four has coincided with that of a "Golden Era" in men's tennis, since 2010, where the depth, athleticism and quality of men's tennis has never been better, including Steffi Graf and John McEnroe. The era has been compared to that of Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Roy Emerson andJohn Newcombe throughout the 1960s or Björn Borg, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Whilst Novak Djokovic himself recognises it as a golden era, Roger Federer remains sceptical:
|“||I'd say no, but I don't know. Just because you look back maybe 15 years, then you have Sampras, Edberg, Becker, and Agassi, I don't know who else. Those guys weren't good or what? You look back, a further back, 20 years, and you have the Connors and the Lendls. Those weren't good either? I mean, I don't know. So for me I think that's respectful.
It's just different times and definitely more athletic, there's no doubt about that. But then again we don't play doubles. We don't play mixed. Maybe we play less matches today because it's more taxing, but we do play less best of five set tennis than they used to play.
You can't compare really, but we have somewhat of a golden era right now. I feel that truly. It's nice to see Andy making his move at the Olympics, nice to see Novak having an absolutely ridiculous year last year, and then Rafa and myself still being around. It's definitely good times. Past that you still have great champions as well. It's very interesting at the top right now, and the depth I think has never been greater than right now. But then best ever? The four of us? That's a really difficult call.
A comparison of the total Top-Level singles titles won by this current Big Four and the most recent and (dominant) quartet's, helps to put things in perspective. As the table below shows, the Big Four completed career tallies of Grand Slam titles has equalled the Australian quartet, surpassed the other three quartets in the number of Masters series they have won and are closing in on the top tallies in the other yearly Top-Level tournament categories common to all four foursomes.
|Grand Prix /
|Borg + Connors + McEnroe + Lendl||34||0||73||11||10||128|
|Federer + Nadal + Djokovic + Murray||38||0||74||9||0||121|
|Edberg + Becker + Agassi + Sampras||34||0||46||10||1||91|
|Laver + Rosewall + Emerson + Newcombe||38||23||13||0||2||76|
- Note 1
An observation to make is that both Laver and Rosewall were banned from competing in Grand Slam tournaments during most of the 1960s and instead competed in Professional Slam tournaments, the draw of the Pro majors was dramatically smaller than the traditional tournaments of Grand Slam; usually they only had 16 or even less professional players. Though they were usually the top 16 ranked players in the world at the time.
- Note 2
The focus of the article is on singles achievements and excludes notable doubles and mixed doubles titles across all five selection criteria won by previous big four candidates if you take all results into consideration then, the following grouping of Laver/Rosewall/Emerson/Newcombe would add another 57 combined titles making their figure 133 titles overall, if we take the Borg/Connors/Lendl/McEnroe group a further 40 combined titles would make their tally 168 titles overall, finally the grouping of Edberg/Agassi/Sampras/Becker would include 12 additional doubles titles bringing their total to 103 titles overall. Roger Federer's own comments above reflect these fact's in defining a new Golden period of tennis, "But then again we don't play doubles. We don't play mixed", "but we have somewhat of a golden era right now".
- Note 3
Other notable big fours by previous decades achievements below (excluding year end and Masters Series performances, as they did not exist).
- 1920s Henri Cochet, René Lacoste, Jean Borotra and Bill Tilden. 62 Slams.
- 1930s Fred Perry, Jack Crawford, Don Budge and Ellsworth Vines.63 Slams.
- 1940s Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer,Frank Parker and John Bromwich. 47 Slams.
- 1950s Pancho Gonzales, Frank Sedgman, Tony Trabert and Lew Hoad 67 Slams
The respective rivalries between the Big Four are considered to be some of the greatest of all time. Between the four of them they have played 159 matches against each other, 49 of which were at Grand Slam events. This includes 22 Grand Slam finals, as well as 22 Grand Slam semifinal meetings, more than any other group of four players.
Head-to-head records at Grand Slams
Federer vs. Nadal
Federer and Nadal have been playing each other since 2004 and their rivalry is a significant part of both men's careers. It is also considered one of the greatest in history. They have played 33 times (seventh-highest in Open Era history), most recently in the 2014 Australian Open semifinals, and Nadal leads their nine-year-old rivalry 23–10.
They held the top two rankings on the ATP Tour from July 2005 until 14 September 2009, when Nadal fell to world No. 3 (Andy Murray became the new no. 2). They are the only pair of men to have ever finished four consecutive calendar years at the top. Federer was ranked no. 1 for a record 237 consecutive weeks beginning in February 2004. Nadal, who is five years younger, ascended to no. 2 in July 2005 and held this spot for a record 160 consecutive weeks before surpassing Federer in August 2008.
Nadal leads their head-to-head 23–10. Fifteen of their 33 matches have been on clay which is statistically Nadal's best surface and Federer's worst with 13 being in the final. Nadal has a winning record on outdoor hard courts (7–2) and clay (13–2), while Federer leads on grass (2–1) and indoor hard courts (4–1). Because tournament seedings are based on rankings, 20 of their matches have been in tournament finals which have included an all-time record 8 Grand Slam finals. From 2006 to 2008 they played in every French Open and Wimbledon final. Nadal won six of the eight, losing the first two Wimbledon finals. Three of these finals were five set-matches (2007 and 2008 Wimbledon, 2009 Australian Open), with the 2008 Wimbledon final being lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts. 11 of their 32 meetings have reached a deciding set. They have also played in a record 10 Masters Series finals (tied with Nadal-Djokovic finals), including their lone five-hour match at the 2006 Rome Masters which Nadal won in a fifth-set tie-break having saved two match points.
Djokovic vs. Nadal
Djokovic and Nadal have the most head-to-head meetings in Open Era history with 40 meetings, which Nadal leads 22–18. Nadal leads on grass 2–1 and clay 13–3, but Djokovic leads on hard courts 14–7. They have met 11 times in Grand Slam tournaments with Nadal leading 8–3, but are tied 3–3 in finals. The rivalry is listed as the third greatest rivalry in the last decade by ATPworldtour.com. Djokovic is the first player to have at least ten match wins against Nadal and the only person to defeat Nadal seven times consecutively. He is also only the second player to have defeated Nadal in more than one Grand Slam final (the other being Federer) and the first to beat Nadal in a final on a surface other than grass.
Between 2011–12, they met in four consecutive Grand Slam finals, just the second time in tennis history this has happened. In doing so, they also became the only players in history, except for Venus and Serena Williams, to have faced the same opponent in the finals of each of the four different Grand Slam events. Djokovic defeated Nadal in the first three (from Wimbledon to the Australian Open), making Nadal the first player in history to lose three consecutive Grand Slam finals. Between January 2011 to January 2012, they met in seven finals, all of which Djokovic won. However, Nadal defeated Djokovic in the French Open final, denying him a Career Grand Slam and the opportunity to become the first man since Rod Laver to hold all four Majors at once. The two also share the record for the longest Australian Open and Grand Slam final match ever played (5 hours and 53 minutes), at the 2012 Australian Open final. This and the 2013 French Open semifinal they contested, are considered two of the greatest matches of all time. At ATP Masters 1000 level, they have met twenty one times, 11 of which were in the final (a record), including the 2013 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where Djokovic ended Nadal's 47-match winning run and eight-year winning streak at the event.
Djokovic vs. Federer
Djokovic and Federer have played each other 33 times, with Federer leading 17–16. Federer leads the head-to-head in grass 1–0, while they are tied on hard courts 13–13 and clay courts 3–3. In terms of number of matches played, it ranks as the eighth largest rivalry in the Open Era. The rivalry, along with Nadal–Djokovic and Federer–Nadal, is the largest in Grand Slam tournament history with 11 matches played against each other. Despite this, they have only ever played in one Grand Slam final, the 2007 US Open, which Federer won in straight sets. They've met in a record nine semifinals and matches at each of the four Grand Slam events. Federer leads 6–5 at this level (3–2 at the US Open, 1–0 at Roland Garros 1–1 at Wimbledon and Djokovic leads 2–1 in Australia). The rivalry between Federer and Djokovic is considered one of the best in the Open Era.
Djokovic is the only player besides Nadal to defeat Federer in consecutive Grand Slam tournaments (2010 US Open and 2011 Australian Open), and the only player besides Nadal and Murray who has double-figure career wins over Federer. Djokovic is one of four players currently on tour to have defeated Federer in straight sets at a Major and the only player to do it three times. Between 2007–2011 they played a record five times at the US Open (tied with Lendl–McEnroe and Connors–Lendl), with Federer winning the first three and Djokovic the last two. This includes the 2010 and 2011 semifinals they contested, both of which Djokovic saved two match points before going on to win the match. In contrast, Federer ended Djokovic's 43-match winning streak and 41–0 start to the 2011 season, by defeating him in the French Open semifinals. These three matches have been classified among the greatest matches in tennis history by the ATP. At ATP Masters 1000 level, they've met 13 with Djokovic leading 7–6, tied 2–2 in finals. The pair have also contested one final at the ATP World Tour Finals, which Djokovic won in straight sets. The pair have met twice so far in 2014, in the semifinal of the Dubai Tennis Championships, with Federer recording his first victory over Djokovic since 2012 and first deciding set victory over another member of the Big Four since 2010, as well as in the final of Indian Wells the following week, this time Djokovic coming out on top.
Djokovic vs. Murray
Djokovic and Murray have met 20 times with Djokovic leading 12–8. Djokovic leads 2–0 on clay, 10–6 on hard courts, and Murray leads 2–0 on grass. The two are the same age, with Murray being just a week older than Djokovic. The pair have met in four Grand Slam finals, at three of the four events, tied at 2–2. Djokovic won in Australia twice, and Murray emerged as the victor at the US Open, and most recently at Wimbledon. Between 2012–13, the pair met nine times, including three Grand Slam finals, and were ranked as the two highest ranked players in the world between May and August 2013. During this time, the rivalry rose in prominence as the emerging rivalry in tennis.
The US Open final they contested equalled the record as the longest US Open final in history, as well as the second longest major final in Open Era history, behind the 2012 Australian Open final. It also featured the longest ever tie-break in a US Open final, with a 12–10 final score in the first set. Other notable matches include a nearly five-hour long semifinal match in the 2012 Australian Open, which Djokovic won 7–5 in the fifth set, as well as a semifinal meeting at the 2012 Olympic Games, with Murray winning in straight sets. At ATP Masters 1000 level, they've met eleven times, with Djokovic leading 7–4. Five of these meetings came in finals, including the 2012 final in Shanghai, where Djokovic ended Murray's 21-match winning streak at the event and chance of a third successive title by saving five championship points before winning the title. This, and the three set thriller they played in Rome in 2011, were voted the ATP World Tour Match of the Year for each respective season.
Federer vs. Murray
Federer and Murray have met 21 times, with the series led 11–10 by Murray. Murray leads 10–9 on hard courts, they are tied 1–1 on grass, and have never met on clay. Overall, Federer leads Murray 4–1 in Grand Slam events, three of which were finals, once each at the US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon Championships, all of which Federer won. However, Murray leads their head-to-head 7–4 in three-set tennis, leading 6–1 at ATP Masters 1000 level (2–0 in finals) with Federer ahead 3–1 in the matches they've contested at the ATP World Tour Finals, with Murray winning in Shanghai and Federer coming out victorious in London in 2009, 2010 and in 2012. In 2012, exactly four weeks after the two met in the Wimbledon final, they met again on Centre Court for the final of the Olympic Games. Murray exacted revenge on Federer by winning in straight sets for the loss of just 7 games, claiming the gold medal and at the same time denying Federer a Career Golden Slam.
Apart from Nadal, Murray is the only other active player to have a positive head-to-head record against Federer. He is also one of only three players to have recorded 10 or more victories against Federer, the other two being Nadal and Djokovic. The pair have only met twice since 2012, with Murray recording his first victory over Federer at Grand Slam level with a five set victory in the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open, and Federer reversing the result in the quarterfinal the following year.
Murray vs. Nadal
Murray and Nadal have met on 18 occasions, with Nadal leading 13–5. Nadal leads 4–0 on clay, 3–0 on grass and 6–5 on hard courts. The pair regularly meet at Grand Slam tournaments, with eight out of their eighteen meetings coming in Majors, with Nadal leading 6–2 (3–0 at Wimbledon, 1–0 at the French Open, 1–1 at the Australian Open & 1–1 at the US Open). Seven of these eight appearances have been at the quarterfinal and semifinal stage, making the rivalry an important part of both men's careers. They have never met in a Slam final, however, Murray leads 2–1 in ATP finals, with Nadal winning at Indian Wells in 2009 and Murray winning in Rotterdam the same year and Tokyo in 2011. Murray lost three consecutive Grand Slam semifinals to Nadal in 2011 from the French Open to the US Open.
Amazingly, between the 2008 Australian Open and 2012 Wimbledon Championships, they were drawn in the same half of the draw 16 out of a possible 19 times. The pair last met in the final of the Japan Open Tennis Championships in 2011, with Murray coming out victorious in three sets, including a bagel in the third. They did not meet in 2012 or 2013, despite being drawn in the same half for a considerable number of tournaments in 2013. The pair were scheduled to meet in the semifinal of the Miami Masters, before Nadal withdrew with injury.
Head-to-head records vs other players
As of November 11, 2013, a total of 89 different players have played against each member of the Big Four at least once. The following table presents the Big Four's Head-to-head records against the only 13 players that have posted at least 1 victory against each of them,hth as well as their records against the only 2 players who have posted at least 1 victory over 3 of them and have also won at least 10 matches overall.
Active players are in boldface.
|Player (highest ranking)||Federer||Nadal||Djokovic||Murray||Overall||Win %|
|David Nalbandian (3)||8–11||2–5||1–4||2–5||13–25||34%|
|Arnaud Clement (10)||3–8||1–3||1–3||2–1||7–15||32%|
|Lleyton Hewitt (1)||9–18||4–6||1–6||0–1||14–31||31%|
|Mario Ančić (7)||1–6||1–4||1–3||3–2||6–15||29%|
|Nikolay Davydenko (3)||2–19||6–5||2–6||4–6||14–36||28%|
|Fernando Gonzalez (5)||1–12||3–7||2–1||2–1||8–21||28%|
|Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (5)||4–9||3–8||5–11||1–8||13–36||27%|
|Juan Martin del Potro (4)||5–15||4–8||3–11||2–5||14–39||26%|
|Tomas Berdych (5)||6–12||3–17||2–15||6–4||17–48||26%|
|Andy Roddick (1)||3–21||3–7||5–4||3–8||14–40||26%|
|Ivan Ljubičić (3)||3–13||2–7||2–7||3–4||10–31||24%|
|David Ferrer (3)||0–14||5–21||5–11||5–7||15–53||22%|
|Stanislas Wawrinka (3)||1–13||1–12||3–15||6–8||11–48||19%|
|Robin Soderling (4)||1–16||2–6||1–6||2–3||6–31||16%|
|Gilles Simon (6)||2–4||1–5||1–6||1–11||5–26||16%|
With a combined total of 155 matches played, the Big Four have played many notable matches at the Majors, the highest level to perform at. The 2008 Wimbledon final is considered one of the greatest match of all time, whereas the 2012 Australian Open final was the longest Major final of all time. Novak Djokovic saved match points against Roger Federer at the 2010 and 2011 US Open semifinals, whereas Federer ended Djokovic's 43-match winning streak in the 2011 French Open semifinals. The 4 hour 50 minute 2012 Australian Open semifinal between Murray and Djokovic is said to have given Murray the belief he needed to match the other members of the Big Four. Moreover, every Grand Slam final of 2012, all played between the Big Four, holds some historical significance. The 2012 Australian Open final was the longest Grand Slam final in terms of time played, the 2012 French Open saw Rafael Nadal break the record for the most number of titles at the French Open, whereas Djokovic was attempting to become the first man to hold all four Majors since Rod Laver in 1969. The 2012 Wimbledon final saw Federer equal the record for most Wimbledon titles when he came out victorious against Murray, who become the first British man since 1938 to appear in the final. The 2012 US Open final was the equal longest final in US Open history, and Murray became the first British man since 1938 to win a Major title, and the only British man to do so in the Open Era. He also became the only man to win Olympic Singles Gold and the US Open back-to-back.
2007 Wimbledon Championships final
The 2007 Wimbledon Gentlemen's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2007 Wimbledon Championships. It pitted world No. 1 Roger Federer against world No. 2 Rafael Nadal in a Major final for the fourth time. This was a rematch of the Wimbledon final from the year before and would become the defining match of the Federer-Nadal rivalry up to that point. This was a historic match as Federer was trying to equal Björn Borg's record of five consecutive Wimbledon titles, while Nadal was attempting to be the first man since Borg in 1980 to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back (this achievement is colloquially known as the "Channel Slam").
Federer defeated Nadal in five compelling sets in three hours and forty-five minutes, for a fifth consecutive Wimbledon championship (equalling the feat achieved by Björn Borg). Borg himself returned to Wimbledon for the first time since losing the final in 1981, saying "I just feel that this is the right time for me to come back, to hopefully watch Roger winning his fifth title in a row to match my record." This match marked only the third time in the new century that a Major final had gone to five sets, and was the first time the technology Hawk-Eye was ever used in a Wimbledon final.
2008 Wimbledon Championships final
The 2008 Wimbledon Gentlemen's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships. A part of the storied rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, it pitted the two players, then ranked world No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, against each other in a Grand Slam final for the sixth time (out of eight). After 4 hours and 48 minutes, Nadal defeated Federer in five sets in failing light.
This was the longest Wimbledon men's singles final in history, clocking in at four hours and forty-eight minutes. The match also featured numerous rain delays which meant the match finished in near darkness, at 21:15 BST, almost seven hours since the match started at 14:35 BST. It was to be the last Wimbledon final to be significantly affected by rain, as a retractable roof was being installed at Centre Court and would be in place by the 2009 Wimbledon Championships.
2009 Australian Open final
The 2009 Australian Open Men's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2009 Australian Open. It was contested between the world's top two players for much of the previous four years, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer then world number's 1 and 2 respectively. It was their seventh (out of eight) Grand Slam final meeting and it was the same final match up as had been previously at both the 2008 Wimbledon Men's Singles final and 2008 French Men's Singles final, both of which Nadal won. However this was Rafael Nadal's first Grand Slam hardcourt final while it was Roger Federer's ninth and was yet to lose in a Grand Slam hardcourt final.
Nadal defeated Federer in 5 sets in 4 hours and 19 minutes, with the match finishing after midnight, to become the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open. The match was lauded as one of the greatest ever at the Australian Open and it was yet another high quality match between two of the greatest players of all time, only 6 months since their epic 2008 Wimbledon final. It was a match of huge significance as had Federer won the match he would have equalled the all-time Grand Slam record of 14 by Pete Sampras and the open-era record for most Australian Open titles of 4 with Andre Agassi (he would go on to achieve these in the near future). However as a result of Nadal winning he set his own records, holding 3 of the 4 slams at the same time for the first time in his career. Not only that but he became the first man in the open-era to hold 3 Grand Slam titles on 3 different surfaces at the same time. This victory over Federer many believed brought about a change in the tennis standings as Nadal was now clearly the number 1 player after Federer had that title for over 4 and a half years consecutively with Nadal deemed the second best for nearly 3 years of that. The defeat brought Federer to tears as he came to terms with his loss.
The match statistics followed a similar pattern to those at the 2008 Wimbledon Final, with Federer having a lower first serve percentage against Nadal (51% vs 64%) and he again couldn't be as clincical on break point opportunities with only 31% break points converted for Federer whereas Nadal converted 43% of his break points. However the total points by each player proved even closer that that at that Wimbledon final, as Federer won 1 more point than Nadal (174 vs 173) yet still lost this final.
2010 US Open final
The 2010 US Open Men's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2010 US Open. It pitted then-world No. 1 Rafael Nadal against then-world No. 3 Novak Djokovic in a Major final for the first time, having previously met four times at this level (one quarter-final and three semi-finals, all won by Nadal). This was the first US Open final reached by Nadal, having previously fallen in the semi-finals in the previous two years, whilst for Djokovic, this was the first Major final he reached since winning his then-only Major title at the 2008 Australian Open. To reach the final, both players had to beat their semi-final opponents in contrasting circumstances: Nadal easily defeated Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets, whilst Djokovic saved several match points in the fifth set to overcome Roger Federer in five sets, thus denying what would have been the first ever Federer-Nadal final at Flushing Meadows.
Nadal defeated Djokovic in four sets in three hours and forty-three minutes, to win his first US Open title, and thus complete the Career Golden Slam (equalling the feat achieved by Andre Agassi). He also became the first Spaniard since Manuel Orantes in 1975 to win at Flushing Meadows, became the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win Major titles at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open simultaneously and became only the second man after Laver to hold two Major titles on each surface (hard, clay and grass). The second set which Djokovic won was the only set Nadal lost in the entire championships. This would prove to become the main rivalry in tennis over the next 18 months.
2011 French Open semifinal
The 2011 French Open Men's Singles semifinal between world No. 2 Novak Djokovic and world No. 3 Roger Federer was a historic encounter that brought about the end of the longest winning streak in almost 30 years. Djokovic entered the match undefeated for the first five months of the year having gone 41–0 with a total winning streak of 43 matches (his last loss had come against Federer at the World Tour Finals). It was the first Grand Slam tournament in which Djokovic had ever been seeded higher than Federer. Djokovic had defeated Federer in their three previous meetings in 2011, however, Federer shocked many by taking the first two sets. Djokovic won the third set and as the fourth set went on the light began to fade and it was clear that if the match went to a fifth set it would have to be continued the next day. Djokovic served for the fourth set at 5–4 but was broken and Federer closed out the match in a tiebreaker.
Federer then played Nadal in the final, which was their record eighth encounter in a Grand Slam final. Nadal defeated Federer for the fifth time at Roland Garros and tied Björn Borg's record of six French Open titles.
2012 Australian Open final
The 2012 Australian Open Men's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2012 Australian Open. It pitted the world's top two players, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, against each other in a Grand Slam final for the fourth time (out of five) and third time in a row. Djokovic defeated Nadal in five sets to win the match. At five hours and fifty-three minutes, it was the Major final match with the longest duration in history. During the trophy ceremony, both Nadal and Djokovic required chairs, as they were both so tired that they couldn't stand.
It was lauded as one of the greatest matches ever by former players, legends, and analysts of the sport. John McEnroe claimed it surpassed the 2008 Wimbledon final as the best tennis match of all time, while legends Pete Sampras, Mats Wilander, and Björn Borg said it was the best match they saw in their lifetime. After the 2012 Australian Open, Rod Laver came out with his greatest in the amateur and Open Era lists, Djokovic was ranked 6th and Nadal 5th on the Open Era list. Laver said the 2012 Australian Open final was a main reason for including both players. Nadal called it the toughest loss of his career but the best match he ever played. Djokovic said it was the finest win in his career and also commented on the high level of tennis played. Not only was this the longest Grand Slam final, but according to Tennis Channel and the Australian Open TV networks, this was one of the most-watched finals, despite ending late into the night locally. Soon after the conclusion of the 2012 Australian Open, there were sources claiming that Djokovic sealed his spot as a tennis great and in the Tennis Hall of Fame.
2012 French Open final
The 2012 French Open Men's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2012 French Open. It pitted the world's top two players, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, against each other in a Grand Slam final for the fifth time overall and fourth time in a row. This match had historical proportions as Djokovic would have become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Majors simultaneously, whereas Nadal was looking to break Björn Borg's record of six French Open titles and equal Chris Evert's record of seven French Open titles held by a man or woman.
Nadal defeated Djokovic in a two-day final in four sets, to ultimately achieve his seventh French Open title and deny Djokovic a Career Grand Slam. With Nadal leading by two sets to one, and Djokovic leading 2–1 on serve in the fourth set, the match was suspended due to rain; it was initially thought that Djokovic had gained the momentum, having won eight games in a row prior to the suspension of the match, however, Nadal was able to regroup and take the fourth set, and ultimately the match, after Djokovic double-faulted on championship point down.
2012 Wimbledon Championships final
The 2012 Wimbledon Gentlemen's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Gentlemen's Singles tournament at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships. It pitted world No. 3 Roger Federer against world No. 4 Andy Murray in a Major final for a third time. This final snapped a streak of four consecutive Major finals reached by Djokovic and Nadal. Nadal was ousted in the second round while Federer defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals. In what was the most historic Major final of the year, Federer sought to win a record shattering seventeenth Major title and a record-tying seventh Wimbledon to match his idol Pete Sampras. Both of these records are amongst the most prestigious in all of tennis. Murray on the other hand had become the first British man since Bunny Austin in 1938 to reach the Wimbledon final, and was attempting to become the first Briton to win any Major title since Fred Perry in 1936.
Federer defeated Murray in four riveting sets in three hours and forty-four minutes, to capture a record equalling seventh Wimbledon championship, and a record breaking seventeenth Major title. The victory was also historic as it caused Federer to depose Djokovic as world No. 1 and break Sampras' record of 286 weeks at the summit of men's tennis (Federer had been just one week short when he lost the number one ranking in June 2010). At the beginning of the third set play was halted by rain and the roof which had been installed in 2009 was closed for the first time during the Wimbledon final.
2012 US Open final
The 2012 US Open Men's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2012 US Open. It pitted then-world No. 3 Andy Murray against world No. 2 and defending champion Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam final for the second time. Murray defeated Djokovic in five sets to win the match. It was the equal-longest US Open men's final in history, lasting four hours and fifty-four minutes (equalling the 1988 US Open final played by Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander), and the equal second-longest men's final in the Open era, only behind the aforementioned 2012 Australian Open final. By winning the 2012 US Open, Murray became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a Grand Slam singles title, and the first British man in the Open Era to do so. This was the most famous match in the rivalry between the two players. It also marked a milestone for Murray, as it was his 100th match win at a grand slam tournament.
This match featured the longest ever first set (and the longest ever tiebreak) in a men's championship match; the 87-minute first set, won by Murray, included four breaks of serve in the first four games of the match, a 54-shot rally in the sixth game, and the 24-minute tiebreak which lasted up until 12–10; additionally, the tiebreak included two 30-shot rallies. Murray required six set points to win the first set, and required five sets to win the match. Murray said that a toilet break at the end of the fourth set helped him to restore his concentration after Djokovic took the third and fourth sets.
2013 Australian Open final
The 2013 Australian Open Men's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2013 Australian Open. It pitted world No. 1 Novak Djokovic against world No. 3 Andy Murray in a Grand Slam final for the second time in as many Grand Slam tournaments and third time overall. Djokovic was looking to become just the third man in the Open Era to win the Australian Open four times and the first to win it three times in a row. Murray, by reaching the final, had become the first man to reach the final of the next consecutive Grand Slam tournament after winning their first title.
Murray took the first set on a tie-break just as he had done in the US Open final the previous year, and whilst the second set followed a similar pattern with no breaks of serve, this time Djokovic took the tie-break. One break of serve in the eighth game (two hours and 52 minutes into the contest) was enough for Djokovic to take the third set before taking the fourth 6–2 comfortably against a tired-looking Murray, who needed four hours to defeat Federer in the semifinal just two days before. The match lasted three hours and 40 minutes and four sets. By winning Djokovic won his sixth Grand Slam title to tie him with greats such as Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg, whereas Murray equalled Edberg's feat of three runner-up finishes at the Australian Open.
2013 French Open semifinal
The 2013 French Open Men's Singles semifinal was a rematch of the prior year's final between Nadal and Djokovic. Just weeks after that victory, Nadal went on a lengthy injury hiatus of over 7 months before his highly successful return, reaching the final of all 8 tournaments he entered and winning 6 titles. But one of those losses was to Djokovic in Monte Carlo, ending Nadal's record streak of 8 consecutive titles there. Djokovic was very motivated to win this match, having said winning his first French Open title was his highest priority of 2013, plus his desire to dedicate the title in honor of his recently deceased childhood tennis coach.
The match was a see-saw five setter with Nadal prevailing 9–7 in the fifth after 4 hours and 37 minutes. Analyst Steve Tignor summed it up: "This epic was a mirror image of their last one, in the 2012 Australian Open final. That day it had been Nadal who had survived a near-death experience in the fourth set, won it in a tiebreaker, and taken a 4–2 lead in the fifth before watching Djokovic storm back for the title. Today it was Nole who broke Rafa at 3–4 in the fourth and again at 5–6, grabbed that set in a tiebreaker, and led 4–2 in the fifth before watching Nadal take it all away. In each of those matches, the loser was haunted by a stunning, crucial lapse. In Australia, with a chance to go up 5–2 in the fifth, Nadal had missed the easiest of backhand passing shots. In Paris, serving at 4–3 in the final set, Djokovic gave away a point when he ran into the net after hitting what would have been a winning overhead."
Nadal then won the title for the fourth consecutive year. This was his 8th overall French title, making him the first man to win 8 titles at any Grand Slam tournament. His opponent was David Ferrer, who was the first Slam finalist outside the Big Four since Thomas Berdych three years prior at Wimbledon.
2013 Wimbledon Championships final
The 2013 Wimbledon Men's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships. It pitted the top two players in the world Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray against each other for the fourth time in a Grand Slam final. After three hours and nine minutes, second seeded Murray defeated world No. 1 Djokovic in three sets to win the match. By winning the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, Murray became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the Wimbledon title, the first Scottish man since Harold Mahony in 1896 to win the title, and the first British man in the Open Era to do so.
- Federer–Nadal rivalry
- Federer–Murray rivalry
- Djokovic–Federer rivalry
- Djokovic–Nadal rivalry
- Djokovic–Murray rivalry
- Murray–Nadal rivalry
- List of tennis rivalries
- ATP World Tour records
- ATP World Tour Awards
- Tennis records of the Open Era – Men's Singles
- Overall tennis records – Men's Singles
- List of Grand Slam men's singles champions
- List of ATP number 1 ranked singles players
- List of career achievements by Roger Federer
- List of career achievements by Rafael Nadal
- Novak Djokovic career statistics
- Andy Murray career statistics
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