Big Four (tennis)

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The Big Four
The Big Four
Prize money $ 252,242,446
Singles
Career record 2752-652 (80.8%)
Career titles 220
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, 2014N)
Wimbledon W (2003F, 2004F, 2005F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008N, 2009F, 2010N, 2011D, 2012F, 2013M, 2014D)
US Open W (2004F, 2005F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008F, 2010N, 2011D, 2012M, 2013N)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals W (2003F, 2004F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008D, 2010F, 2011F, 2012D, 2013D)
Olympic Games Gold medal.svg Gold Medal (2008N, 2012M)
Doubles
Career record 309–245
Career titles 19
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open 3R (2003F, 2004N, 2005N)
French Open 2R (2006M)
Wimbledon QF (2000F)
US Open SF (2004N)
Olympic Games Gold medal.svg Gold Medal (2008F)
Other Mixed Doubles tournaments
Olympic Games Silver medal.svg Silver Medal (2012M)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (2004N, 2008N, 2009N, 2010D, 2011N)
Hopman Cup W (2001F)
Last updated on: 12 October 2014.
Olympic medal record
Men's Tennis
Gold 2012 London SinglesM
Gold 2008 Beijing SinglesN
Gold 2008 Beijing DoublesF
Silver 2012 London SinglesF
Silver 2012 London Mixed DoublesM
Bronze 2008 Beijing SinglesD

In tennis, the Big Four refers 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,[1] 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.[2] In 2011 Nadal declared that his and Federer's period of joint dominance had ended due to the ascent of other players, notably Djokovic and Murray.[3]

Since this time the term "Big Four", while used previously, became popular with the media and in tennis literature.[4][5][6] The Big Four were a critical part of what is often labelled a new "Golden Era" in tennis since 2010;[7][8][9][10] that term is also applied to the mid-1970s to 1980s,[11][12][13] and the 1920s to the 1930s.[14][15]

Between them, they have won 36 of the last 39 Grand Slam men's singles titles, from the 2005 French Open through to the 2014 US Open (the only times they haven't won being at the 2009 US Open, the 2014 Australian Open and at the 2014 US Open); they have also won nine of the previous 11 World Tour Finals (previously Tennis Masters Cup), with Federer winning six and Djokovic winning three. 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 (14), Djokovic (7) 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. Murray has not won either the French Open or the Australian Open, but won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Furthermore, at ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, Nadal leads with a record 27 titles, followed by Federer (23), Djokovic (19), and Murray (9). While at ATP World Tour Finals, Federer has won 6 and Djokovic has won 3.

Contents

History[edit]

Before 2008[edit]

Federer and Nadal[edit]

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.[16][17] Roger Federer had first played on the ATP Tour aged 17 in 1998,[18] 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,[19] 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,[20] and he defeated Federer in their first meeting in 2004 at Miami.[21] 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,[22] and he finished as world number 2 while 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.[23][24][25][26] From 2005–2010 they ended every year as the world's top two players.

Djokovic and Murray[edit]

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were born a week apart,[27] played each other as juniors[28] 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.[29] They both reached the world top 100 in 2005, and the world top 20 in 2006.[28] Djokovic, however, began to excel ahead of Murray,[30] 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,[31] finishing the year ranked number 3 in world. Murray, who was forced out of the French Open and Wimbledon by injury,[32][33] ended 2007 ranked 11th, winning two ATP tournaments.[34]

2008–2010: Emergence of the Big Four[edit]

Between 2008 and 2010, 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 emerged 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.[35] Djokovic went on to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (who had eliminated Nadal in the semifinal)[36] to win his first Grand Slam. Following his Australian Open win, Djokovic emerged as a clear world number three during the year,[37] holding the ranking throughout 2008. Meanwhile, Andy Murray continued to rise in the rankings, reaching his first Major quarterfinal at Wimbledon, losing to Nadal.[38] 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.[23][24][39] 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, while Murray won through to his first Grand Slam final after upsetting the top-ranked Nadal in four sets.[40] 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.[41] 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,[42] 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.[43] Nadal continued to dominate early in the season, but suffered from injury in June,[44] 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[45] and Wimbledon respectively.[46] 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.[47] 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[48] while Nadal was defeated by eventual winner Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinal.[49] To date, this is only one of three Grand Slam events the quartet has not won since the 2005 Australian Open (Wawrinka won the 2014 Australian Open and Čilić won the 2014 US 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.[50] 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).[50] 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 his run of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals came to end at the French Open that year losing to Robin Soderling in 4 sets, he also then lost to Tomas Berdych at Wimbledon ending his run of 7 consecutive Wimbledon finals. Nadal dominated the clay-court season again, winning all three clay-court Masters events and the French Open.[51] Nadal also won at Wimbledon, although in both of these tournaments he only had to face one other member of the Big Four (Murray in the Wimbledon semi-finals).

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.[52]

2011 to 2013: Dominance[edit]

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.[53] Pete Sampras described it as "one of the best achievements in all of sport."[54]

Djokovic's dominance contributed to an overall control by the Big Four.[55] 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.[56]

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.[57] 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.[58]

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[59]) 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.[60][61] 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.[62] 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,[63] 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.[64][65] 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.[66][67] However, Djokovic did end Nadal's eight-year winning streak at the Monte-Carlo Masters.[68] 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.[69][70][71] 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.[72] 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.[73] 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. While Murray and Federer lost early, in the quarterfinals and fourth round respectively.[74]

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 semifinal in the other three, and finished the year strongly on a 22-match winning streak, winning the ATP World Tour Finals in London.[75] The 2013 head-to-head record of Nadal and Djokovic was tied at 3–3. A back injury ended Murray's season prematurely[76] 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.[77]

2014 and beyond: Aftermath of the Big Four's dominance[edit]

"More players are believing in themselves now, which is nice to see because there were times where I felt like they were not really believing they could do it, they believed they could upset a guy here and there but not actually win the tournament. So maybe that's changed around with Stan's win at the Australian Open."

Federer suggested other players now believe they can challenge the Big Four following the Australian Open.[78]

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 suggesting this analysis was premature.[85][86][87][88] 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.[89][90] After the tournament, several players expressed the opinion that they were now capable of challenging the Big Four.[91][92][93] The Big Four themselves accepted there has been a shift in the hierarchy in recent times.[94] However, the Big Four occupied all four final spots of the first two Masters 1000 titles of the year in Indian Wells and Miami, with Djokovic winning his fourth and fifth consecutive Masters 1000 titles with victories over Federer and Nadal respectively.[95][96] Earlier in the year, Federer continued his return to form with victory in Dubai, defeating Djokovic in the semifinal – his first victory over Djokovic since 2012 and first deciding set victory over another member of the Big Four since 2010.[97] Murray, who split with his coach Ivan Lendl in March, struggled early on in the season with inconsistency, suffering a string of early exits, but showed some form in tournaments in Acapulco and Miami.[98]

"It's good to be a part of it. It's nice to see that sort of human side to those four guys when you have to step up to face them, and to have a belief more so than ever that it's yours for the taking if you play well."

Following defeats of Murray and Nadal at Wimbledon, Raonic suggests more players have the belief they can win when facing the Big Four.[99]

The clay-court season started with Wawrinka winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo, defeating Federer in the final. Nadal lost in the quarterfinals and Djokovic to Federer in the semifinal, his second loss to Federer in 2014. This was the first time since 2004 Nadal failed to reach the final in Monte-Carlo and the first time in eight years either Nadal or Djokovic had failed to reached the final of a (red) clay-court Masters event. It also put Stanislas Wawrinka into the No. 1 spot in the race to London.[100] The following week, Nadal's 41-match winning streak at the Barcelona Open was ended in the quarterfinals by Nicolas Almagro, the first time Nadal has failed to win a title in April since 2004 and his first loss in Barcelona since 2003.[101] With Federer and Djokovic absent, Nadal won the Madrid Masters, with Murray again suffering an early exit.[102] Djokovic returned in Rome, defeating Nadal in the final for the title and his fourth straight victory against the Spaniard. This marked the first time in a decade that Nadal has lost more than two matches on clay in the same year.[103] Earlier in the tournament, Murray and Nadal met for the first time in three years, with Nadal winning in three tight sets.[104] The French Open showed more signs the Big Four's dominance as a group had ended, with Federer losing in the fourth round - the third time in his last four Grand Slam appearances he failed to make the quarterfinals. However it signaled a return to normality for Nadal, Djokovic and Murray. Nadal overcame Murray in one semifinal, extending his superiority over Murray on clay, while Djokovic beat Ernests Gulbis in his semifinal to set up a final with Nadal. Nadal overcame Djokovic to become French Open champion for the ninth time.

The Wimbledon Championships continued to signal the end of the Big Four's dominance, as the younger generation of players continued to challenge them.[105] Nadal lost to 19 year old Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round, his third consecutive early-round loss at Wimbledon. Murray lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals, whereas Djokovic needed five sets to overcome Marin Čilić in his quarter. Similarly, Milos Raonic advanced to the semifinals. The defeats of Nadal and Murray led former players and experts, including Jimmy Connors, to express the opinion that the "aura" around the Big Four had faded.[106] Raonic himself suggested there was now a "human side" visible in the Big Four, which was giving players belief when facing them.[99] However, Djokovic defeated Dimitrov and Federer beat Raonic to make it an all-Big Four final, the 24th they have contested. Djokovic defeated Federer in five sets to claim his second Wimbledon title.[107] The result placed Nadal, Djokovic and Federer in the top three places in the rankings, with Murray dropping to no. 10 in the world.[108]

"Well, it's a bit of a change-up year considering all the past years that these top four guys were making to the final. Wawrinka opened the doors for us from the 'second' line, and I think most of the guys have now bigger belief that they can do it on the Grand Slams."

2014 US Open Champion Marin Čilić claims Wawrinka's victory at the Australian Open gave him the belief he could also challenge the Big Four's dominance.[109]

At the Rogers Cup, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Djokovic and Murray in the third round and quarter-finals respectively. He then defeated Federer in the final.[110] At the Western & Southern Open, Djokovic again lost early, whereas Federer beat Murray in the quarter-finals before winning the title.[111] Nadal withdrew from both these events and the upcoming US Open because of a wrist injury.[112] Murray's drop in the rankings meant he faced Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the US Open (their earliest meeting at Grand Slam level) with Djokovic winning in four sets. Djokovic and Federer lost to Kei Nishikori and Marin Čilić respectively in the semifinals, meaning for the first time since the 2005 Australian Open, either Federer, Nadal or Djokovic were not present in a Grand Slam final, and the first time since 2003 that multiple first-time Grand Slam winners have been crowned in a single season. Following the result, Murray dropped to 11th in the rankings, the first time he hasn't occupied a top 10 spot since 2008. The tournament as a whole further signalled the end of the Big Four's dominance.[113]

During the Asian Swing, Murray won his first ATP title in 15 months in Shenzhen.[114] The following week, Djokovic beat Murray on his way to winning his fifth China Open title, extending his record at the event to 24-0 and 14-8 over Murray, including six of the last seven meetings.[115]

Overall dominance[edit]

Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympics[edit]

Andy Murray won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2012, defeating Roger Federer in the final.

Since the 2005 Australian Open, the opening Grand Slam tournament of the 2005 ATP Tour, the Big Four have won all but three Majors,[116] 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 2010 they have occupied all but 4 finalist spots. 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.[117][118][119] 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,[120][121] 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. Similarly, the Big Four make up four of the ten players to have made the semi-finals twice or more at each of the four Grand Slams events.[122]

Combined Grand Slam tournament singles performance timeline (best result)[edit]

Pre Big Four Emergence Dominance Regression
Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 SR
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open Q1F 3RF 3RF 4RF 4RF WF SFF WF WF WD WN WF WD WD WD FN 9 / 15
French Open 1RF 4RF QFF 1RF 1RF 3RF WN WN WN WN WF WN WN WN WN WN 10 / 16
Wimbledon 1RF 1RF QFF 1RF WF WF WF WF WF WN WF WN WD WF WM WD 12 / 16
US Open Q2F 3RF 4RF 4RF 4RF WF WF WF WF WF FF WN WD WM WN SFDF 9 / 14

Combined Olympic Games singles performance timeline (best result)[edit]

Pre Big Four Emergence Dominance Regression
Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 SR
Olympic Games
Summer Olympics NH SFF Not Held 2RF Not Held GN Not Held GM Not Held 2 / 4

Big Four Grand Slam Finals[edit]

Nadal 10–5, Djokovic 6–7, Federer 6–7, Murray 2–5

Year Championship Surface Winner Runnerup Score
2006 French Open Clay Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer 1–6, 6–1, 6–4, 7–6(7–4)
2006 Wimbledon Grass Switzerland Roger Federer Spain Rafael Nadal 6–0, 7–6(7–5), 6–7(2–7), 6–3
2007 French Open Clay Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer 6–3, 4–6, 6–3, 6–4
2007 Wimbledon Grass Switzerland Roger Federer Spain Rafael Nadal 7–6(9–7), 4–6, 7–6(7–3), 2–6, 6–2
2007 US Open Hard Switzerland Roger Federer Serbia Novak Djokovic 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–2), 6–4
2008 French Open Clay Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer 6–1, 6–3, 6–0
2008 Wimbledon Grass Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5–7), 6–7(8–10), 9–7
2008 US Open Hard Switzerland Roger Federer United Kingdom Andy Murray 6–2, 7–5, 6–2
2009 Australian Open Hard Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer 7–5, 3–6, 7–6(7–3), 3–6, 6–2
2010 Australian Open Hard Switzerland Roger Federer United Kingdom Andy Murray 6–3, 6–4, 7–6(13–11)
2010 US Open Hard Spain Rafael Nadal Serbia Novak Djokovic 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, 6–2
2011 Australian Open Hard Serbia Novak Djokovic United Kingdom Andy Murray 6–4, 6–2, 6–3
2011 French Open Clay Spain Rafael Nadal Switzerland Roger Federer 7–5, 7–6(7–3), 5–7, 6–1
2011 Wimbledon Grass Serbia Novak Djokovic Spain Rafael Nadal 6–4, 6–1, 1–6, 6–3
2011 US Open Hard Serbia Novak Djokovic Spain Rafael Nadal 6–2, 6–4, 6–7(3–7), 6–1
2012 Australian Open Hard Serbia Novak Djokovic Spain Rafael Nadal 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7(5–7), 7–5
2012 French Open Clay Spain Rafael Nadal Serbia Novak Djokovic 6–4, 6–3, 2–6, 7–5
2012 Wimbledon Grass Switzerland Roger Federer United Kingdom Andy Murray 4–6, 7–5, 6–3, 6–4
2012 US Open Hard United Kingdom Andy Murray Serbia Novak Djokovic 7–6(12–10), 7–5, 2–6, 3–6, 6–2
2013 Australian Open Hard Serbia Novak Djokovic United Kingdom Andy Murray 6–7(2–7), 7–6(7–3), 6–3, 6–2
2013 Wimbledon Grass United Kingdom Andy Murray Serbia Novak Djokovic 6–4, 7–5, 6–4
2013 US Open Hard Spain Rafael Nadal Serbia Novak Djokovic 6–2, 3–6, 6–4, 6–1
2014 French Open Clay Spain Rafael Nadal Serbia Novak Djokovic 3–6, 7–5, 6–2, 6–4
2014 Wimbledon Grass Serbia Novak Djokovic Switzerland Roger Federer 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 7–6(7–4), 5–7, 6–4

Big Four Olympic Finals[edit]

Murray 1–0, Federer 0–1

Year Games Surface Winner Runnerup Score
2012 London Grass United Kingdom Andy Murray Switzerland Roger Federer 6–2, 6–1, 6–4

ATP World Tour Finals[edit]

Combined performance timeline (best result)[edit]

Pre Big Four Emergence Dominance Regression
Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 SR
ATP World Tour Finals Did Not Qualify SFF WF WF FF WF WF WD SFF WF WF WD WD 9 / 12

Big Four Finals[edit]

Nadal 10–5, Djokovic 6–7, Federer 6–7, Murray 2–5

Year Location Surface Winner Runnerup Score
2010 London Hard (i) Switzerland Roger Federer Spain Rafael Nadal 6–3, 3–6, 6–1
2012 London Hard (i) Serbia Novak Djokovic Switzerland Roger Federer 7–6(8–6), 7–5
2013 London Hard (i) Serbia Novak Djokovic Spain Rafael Nadal 6–3, 6–4

ATP Masters tournaments[edit]

Similarly, ATP Masters/ATP Masters 1000 events have been dominated by the Big Four. Nadal leads with a record 27 Masters titles followed by Federer (21), Djokovic (19), 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 had 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 less success, although they have still won it three times in the last five years) they have won:

a Of the seven they failed to win, they've occupied the runner-up spots on three occasions.

Combined Masters performance timeline (best result)[edit]

Pre Big Four Emergence Dominance Regression
Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 SR
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Indian Wells Masters A Q1 1RF 3RF 2RF WF WF WF WN WD WN SFN WD WF WN WD 10 / 14
Miami Masters 1RF 2RF QFF FF QFF 4RN WF WF WD FN WM SFN WD WD WM WD 8 / 16
Monte-Carlo Masters 1RF 1RF QFF 2RF 3RN A WN WN WN WN WN WN WN WN WD FF 9 / 15
Madrid Masters1 A 1RF 1RF WF 3RNF WF WF 2RMD WF WN WF WN WD WF WN WN 11 / 15
Rome Masters A 1RF 3RF 1RF FF 2RF WN WN WN WD WN WN WD WN WN WD 10 / 15
Canada Masters A 1RF A 1RF SFF WF WN WF WD WN WM WM WD WD WN FF 10 / 14
Cincinnati Masters A 1RF A 1RF 2RF 1RFN WF QFNM WF WM WF WF WM WF WN WF 9 / 14
Shanghai Masters2 A 2RF 2RF QFF SFF 2RN WN WF FF WM FN WM WM WD WD WF 8 / 15
Paris Masters A 1RF 2RF QFF QFF A 3RD 3RM FN QFNF WD SFF WF 3RM WD 3 / 13

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.

Davis Cup[edit]

Combined Davis Cup performance timeline (best result)[edit]

Pre Big Four Emergence Dominance Regression
Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 SR
Davis Cup
Davis Cup QFF 1RF QFF 1RF SFF WN 1RFN 1RFN PODFM WN WN WD WN 1RF FD 5 / 15

Top-Level tournament records[edit]

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).[123]

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
AUS FRE WIM US IND MIA MON MAD1 ROM CAN CIN SHA2 PAR SR
Switzerland Roger Federer W (4)* W (1) W (7)* W (5)* S (1) W (4)* W (2) F (4)* W (6)* F (3)* W (2) W (6)* W (2) W (1) W (6)* 12 / 15
Spain Rafael Nadal W (1) W (9)* W (2) W (2) G (1)* W (3) F (4)* W (8)* W (4) W (7)* W (3) W (1) W (1) F (1) F (2) 12 / 15
Serbia Novak Djokovic W (4)* F (2) W (2) W (1) B (1) W (3) W (4) W (1) W (1) W (3) W (3) F (4) W (2) W (2) W (3) 12 / 15
United Kingdom Andy Murray F (3)* SF (2) 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[edit]

To date the Big Four have collectively won 40 Grand Slam titles (with Federer a record 17, Nadal 14, Djokovic 7, 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), Stanislas Wawrinka (2014 Australian Open) and Marin Čilić (2014 US Open). Starting with the 2005 Wimbledon Championships, their combined record at Grand Slam tournaments against everyone else is 638-55.[124] 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 player to have beaten each member of the Big Four at a Grand Slam event.

Wins over each member of the Big Four at a Grand Slam event

  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (def. Murray at the 2008 Australian Open, Nadal at the 2008 Australian Open, Djokovic at the 2010 Australian Open, and Federer at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships and at the 2013 French Open)

Wins over three members of the Big Four at a Grand Slam event

  • Andy Roddick (def. Nadal at the 2004 US Open, Djokovic at the 2009 Australian Open, and Murray at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships)
  • Tomas Berdych (def. Murray at the 2010 French Open, Federer at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships and at the 2012 US Open, and Djokovic at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships)
  • Stanislas Wawrinka (def. Murray at the 2010 US Open and the 2013 US Open, Djokovic at the 2014 Australian Open, and Nadal at the 2014 Australian Open)

Wins over two members of the Big Four at a Grand Slam event

  • Lleyton Hewitt (def. Nadal at the 2004 Australian Open and at the 2005 Australian Open, and Djokovic at the 2006 US Open)
  • Marat Safin (def. Djokovic at the 2005 Australian Open and at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships, and Federer at the 2005 Australian Open)
  • Arnaud Clement (def. Federer at the 2000 Australian Open and the 2001 Australian Open, and Murray at the 2005 US Open)
  • Juan Martin del Potro (def. Nadal at the 2009 US Open, and Federer at the 2009 US Open)
  • David Ferrer (def. Nadal at the 2007 US Open and the 2011 Australian Open, and Murray at the 2012 French Open)
  • Marin Čilić (def. Murray at the 2009 US Open, and Federer at the 2014 US Open)

Only four players have defeated 3 of the Big Four at the same tournament. Two of these players are members of the Big Four: Nadal who defeated Murray in the round of 16, Djokovic in the semi-finals, and Federer in the final to win the 2008 Hamburg Masters; and Federer who defeated Murray in the round robin round, Djokovic in the semi-finals, and Nadal in the finals to win the 2010 ATP World Tour Finals. The only two other players to have achieved this trifecta are:

  • David Nalbandian (def. Nadal in the quarter-finals, Djokovic in the semi-finals, and Federer in the finals to win the 2007 Madrid Masters)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (def. Djokovic in the round of 16, Murray in the quarterfinals, and Federer in the finals to win the 2014 Canada Masters)

The Big Four have played in 89 tournaments where all four have competed. Collectively they have won 78 of these 89 tournaments (88%). 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 49 of 55 tournaments (89%). And starting with the 2010 Rome Masters, they had won 31 tournaments in a row where all four were present, up until the 2014 Australian Open.[125]

Only seven players have managed to win a tournament where all four of the Big Four have competed:

The Big Four's dominance ratio is also high when only three of the Big Four have competed in the same tournament. Of the 41 events where this has occurred, they have won 35 of them (85%). Since 2008, they have won 24 of 29 tournaments (83%).

Only six players have managed to win a tournament where three of the Big Four have competed:

The Big Four's dominance record diminishes when only two of them have competed in an event, but overall they still have a 69% success rate, winning 40 of the 58 tournaments in this category, and a success rate of 81%, winning 22 of 27 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 182 of the 249 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 26 of the 48 tournaments (54%) where just one of them has competed.

Only 13 players have recorded at least one victory over each member of the Big Four.[hth] 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.

Top-Level tournament records 2005–present

Grand Slam Tournaments ATP World Tour Masters 1000 ATP World Tour Finals Olympic
Games
Total
Big Four 36 / 40 74 / 89 7 / 9 2 / 2 119 / 140 = 85%
Rest of the field 4 / 40 15 / 89 2 / 9 0 / 2 21 / 140 = 15%

Tournament titles 2009–2013[edit]

Grand Slam Tournaments ATP World Tour Masters 1000 ATP World Tour Finals Olympic
Games
ATP World Tour 500 series ATP World Tour 250 series Total
Spain Rafael Nadal 8 / 17 14 / 38 0 / 4 0 / 0 6 / 10 2 / 11 30 / 81 = 37%
Serbia Novak Djokovic 5 / 20 12 / 42 2 / 5 0 / 1 9 / 13 2 / 8 30 / 89 = 34%
Switzerland Roger Federer 4 / 20 7 / 36 2 / 5 0 / 1 4 / 11 3 / 11 20 / 84 = 24%
United Kingdom Andy Murray 2 / 19 7 / 41 0 / 4 1 / 1 3 / 11 7 / 11 20 / 87 = 23%
Total 19 / 20[a] 40 / 45[b] 4 / 5[c] 1 / 1[d] 22 / 30[e][f] 14 / 31[f] 100 / 132 = 76%

a del Potro won the 2009 US Open.

b Davydenko won the 2009 Shanghai Masters, Ljubičić won the 2010 Indian Wells, Roddick won the 2010 Miami Masters, Soderling won the 2010 Paris Masters, and Ferrer won the 2012 Paris Masters.

c Davydenko won the 2009 ATP World Tour Finals.

d Federer won silver at the 2012 Summer Olympics

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.

f Represents ATP 500/250 Series tournaments the Big Four have competed in only, as opposed to every ATP 500/250 on the ATP World Tour in general.

Tournament titles overall[edit]

Grand Slam Tournaments ATP World Tour Masters 1000 ATP World Tour Finals Olympic
Games
ATP World Tour 500 series ATP World Tour 250 series Total
Spain Rafael Nadal 14 / 39 27 / 83 0 / 6 1 / 1 15 / 28 7 / 42 64 / 199 = 32%
Switzerland Roger Federer 17 / 62 23 / 113 6 / 12 0 / 4 13 / 35 22 / 69 81 / 295 = 27%
Serbia Novak Djokovic 7 / 40 19 / 76 3 / 7 0 / 2 11 / 22 6 / 27 46 / 174 = 26%
United Kingdom Andy Murray 2 / 35 9 / 75 0 / 5 1 / 2 3 / 22 14 / 37 29 / 176 = 16%
Total 40 / 62 78 / 131 9 / 12 2 / 4 42 / 76 49 / 152 220 / 437 = 50%

Grand Slam tournament performance comparison[edit]

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.

2005–2010[edit]

Pre Big Four Emergence
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Tournament AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US
Switzerland Roger Federer SF SFN W W W FN WN W WD FN WN WD SFD FN FN WDM FN W W FD WM QF QF SFD
Spain Rafael Nadal 4R WF 2R 3R A WDF FF QF QFM WDF FDF 4R SF WDF WMF SFM WF 4R A SF QFM W WM WD
Serbia Novak Djokovic 1R 2R 3R 3R 1R QFN 4R 3R 4RF SFN SFN FF WF SFN 2R SFF QF 3R QF SFF QF QF SF FFN
United Kingdom Andy Murray A A 3R 2R 1R 1R 4R 4R 4RN A A 3R 1R 3R QFN FNF 4R QF SF 4R FNF 4R SFN 3R

2011–present[edit]

Dominance Regression
2011 2012 2013 2014
Tournament AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US
Switzerland Roger Federer SFD FDN QF SFD SFN SFD WDM QF SFM QF 2R 4R SFMN 4R FD SF
Spain Rafael Nadal QF WMF FMD FMD FFD WD 2R A A WD 1R WD FF WMD 4R A
Serbia Novak Djokovic WFM SFF WN WFN WMN FFN SFF FM WM SFN FM FN QF FN WF SFM
United Kingdom Andy Murray FD SFN SFN SFN SFD QF FF WD FFD A WD QF QFF SFN QF QFD

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.

Rankings[edit]

Main article: ATP Rankings

Between 8 September 2008 and 28 January 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 17–31 August 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.[134] 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.[135][136][137][138] 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[139] 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 26 August 2013, between them, they have held:

  • The first two places in the ATP Rankings continuously since 25 July 2005 (exclusively by Federer and Nadal from July 2005 to August 2010).
  • The first three places in the ATP Rankings continuously from 13 August 2007 – 14 October 2013.
  • The top four places in the ATP Rankings for all but 16 weeks from 8 September 2008 – 28 January 2013.

Year-end ranking timeline[edit]

Pre Big Four Emergence Dominance Reg.
Year End Ranking 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Switzerland Roger Federer 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 3 2 6
Spain Rafael Nadal 49 51 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 4 1
Serbia Novak Djokovic 679 186 78 16 3 3 3 3 1 1 2
United Kingdom Andy Murray 540 411 63 17 11 4 4 4 4 3 4

Current rankings[edit]

As of October 13, 2014.[140]

ATP Rankings
Current Rankings (last 52 weeks) Race to ATP World Tour Finals (YTD)
# Player Points # Player Points
1 Serbia Novak Djokovic 11,510 1 Serbia Novak Djokovic 9,010
2 Switzerland Roger Federer 9,080 2 Switzerland Roger Federer 8,020
3 Spain Rafael Nadal 8,105 3 Spain Rafael Nadal 6,745
4 Switzerland Stanislas Wawrinka 5,385 4 Switzerland Stanislas Wawrinka 4,805
5 Spain David Ferrer 4,585 5 Japan Kei Nishikori 4,265
6 Japan Kei Nishikori 4,355 6 Croatia Marin Čilić 3,990
7 Czech Republic Tomáš Berdych 4,325 7 Czech Republic Tomáš Berdych 3,945
8 Croatia Marin Čilić 3,945 8 Canada Milos Raonic 3,750

Main International Tennis and Sports Awards[edit]

Award 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
ATP World Tour Awards
Player of the Year F F F F N F N D D N
Sportsmanship Award F F F F F F N F F F
Fan Favorite F F F F F F F F F F
ITF World Champions
Men's Singles F F F F N F N D D D
ESPY Award 1
Best Male Tennis Player F F F F F F N D D N
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 1
BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award M
BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year F F F N D
Laureus World Sports Awards1
Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year F F F F N D
Laureus World Sports Award for Breakthrough of the Year N M

1Award shown in year that was honored, not year the award was presented.

Legacy and recognition[edit]

Current and former professionals[edit]

"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."

- David Ferrer.[141]

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.[142][143] While the question of breaking through the dominance of the Big Four is a constant question the rest of the tour are constantly asked, many former top professionals have also spoken about the topic, including Björn Borg, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic.[8][144][145][146][147] At the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, 11-time Major champion Björn Borg was quoted as saying:

The media[edit]

Since 2010, when the Big Four increasingly began to dominate the tour as a group, most articles and reports concentrate solely on the members of the Big Four and their chances in upcoming tournaments or how the previous one has affected them, with smaller sections on the rest of the players.[148][149][150][151][152]

Wider impact on the sport[edit]

For the most part, the presence of the Big Four is generally seen to have had a positive impact on tennis, making the sport more exciting and in turn attracting more attention. However, with all four members being from European countries, this may have had a potentially negative effect on interest in North America.[153][154] It has also argued the dominance of the Big Four has made the game predictable[155] or even boring.[156][157]

Murray's position[edit]

Some tennis commentators have spoken of a "Big Three" or "Trivalry",[158] with Murray behind the other three players,[159][160] including Murray himself.[161] 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 and is the only one never to have been ranked world number one. However, Murray's total of nine Masters titles, five consecutive Major semifinals in 2011–2012, three consecutive Major finals in 2012–13, and victories at the 2012 Olympic Games, 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon (defeating Djokovic in both major finals), as well as being ranked no. 2 on numerous occasions have led to him being reported as definitively part of the Big Four since 2010.[61][162]

However, after losing his Wimbledon title defence to Grigor Dimitrov in the 2014 quarter-finals, Murray dropped to No. 10 in the world rankings, making this the first time in six years that he had been ranked this low. This was the culmination of a poor twelve months in which he failed to reach a final, or register a top ten victory, following his Wimbledon triumph in 2013.[163]

Meanwhile, Roger Federer, by reaching the final, which he lost to Novak Djokovic, returned to number three in the world rankings, marking this the first time in two years that the top three places on the ATP World Rankings were all occupied by Djokovic, Nadal and Federer simultaneously.[164]

Golden era[edit]

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 and John Newcombe throughout the 1960s and that of Björn Borg, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl during the late 1970s and early 1980s.[165][166][167][168][169]

While Novak Djokovic himself recognises it as a golden era,[170] Roger Federer remains sceptical:

A comparison of the total Top-Level singles titles won by this current Big Four and other previous dominant quartets helps to put things in perspective. As the table below shows, the Big Four's career tallies of Grand Slam titles, Masters Series titles, and overall titles have already surpassed the other three quartets. They are also closing in on matching and/or surpassing the top Year End Tour Finals tally.

Grand Slam
Tournaments
Pro Slam
Tournaments
Grand Prix /
Masters Series
Olympic
Games
Year End
Tour Finals
Year End
WCT Finals
Total
Switzerland Federer + Spain Nadal + Serbia Djokovic + United Kingdom Murray 40 n/a 78 2 9 n/a 129
Sweden Borg + United States Connors + United States McEnroe + Czech Republic Lendl 34 n/a 73 n/a 11 10 128
Sweden Edberg + Germany Becker + United States Agassi + United States Sampras 34 n/a 46 2 10 1 93
Australia Laver + Australia Rosewall + Australia Emerson + Australia Newcombe 38 23 13 n/a n/a 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.To quote Malcolm Knox a sports columnist "If grand slams are taken as the benchmark, consider this.The pro tour put Laver out of 20 grand slams from age 23 to 28 in his prime".[172] 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 six 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, and 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 facts 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", however Nadal has won 3 Masters 1000 doubles titles, and Federer has won 1 Masters 1000 doubles title and an Olympic gold medal in doubles, which would therefore add 5 more titles to the Big Four's Top-Level tournament tally, bringing it to 134 titles overall.

  • Note 3

Other notable big fours by previous decades achievements below (excluding year end and Masters Series performances, as they did not exist).

Prize money[edit]

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic make up the top three prize money leaders of all time, with Murray behind Pete Sampras to make up the top five.

Career Prize money Inflation adj. Year
1. Switzerland Roger Federer $84,035,204 $84,035,204 2014
2. Spain Rafael Nadal $70,704,129 $70,704,129 2014
3. Serbia Novak Djokovic $65,419,345 $65,419,345 2014
4. United States Pete Sampras $43,280,489 $54,166,473 2003
5. United Kingdom Andy Murray $32,083,768 $32,083,768 2014
6. United States Andre Agassi $31,152,975 $35,584,857 2006
7. Germany Boris Becker $25,080,956 $34,667,722 1999
8. Spain David Ferrer $23,928,982 $23,928,982 2014
9. Russia Yevgeny Kafelnikov $23,883,797 $29,891,091 2003
10. Czechoslovakia Ivan Lendl $21,262,417 $33,038,525 1994

Rivalries[edit]

The respective rivalries between the Big Four are considered to be some of the greatest of all time.[173][174][175][176][177] Between the four of them they have played 173 matches against each other, 55 of which were at Grand Slam events. This includes 24 Grand Slam finals, as well as 24 Grand Slam semifinal meetings, more than any other group of four players.

Head-to-head records[edit]

Spain Nadal Serbia Djokovic Switzerland Federer United Kingdom Murray Overall Win % YTD
Spain Rafael Nadal 23–19 23–10 15–5 61–34 64% 4–2
Serbia Novak Djokovic 19–23 17–19 14–8 50–50 50% 7–4
Switzerland Roger Federer 10–23 19–17 11–11 40–51 44% 5–3
United Kingdom Andy Murray 5–15 8–14 11–11 24–40 38% 0–7

Head-to-head records at Grand Slams[edit]

Spain Nadal Serbia Djokovic Switzerland Federer United Kingdom Murray Overall Win % YTD
Spain Rafael Nadal 9–3 9–2 7–2 25–7 78% 3–0
Serbia Novak Djokovic 3–9 6–6 4–2 13–17 43% 2–1
Switzerland Roger Federer 2–9 6–6 4–1 12–16 43% 1–2
United Kingdom Andy Murray 2–7 2–4 1–4 5–15 25% 0–3

Of the 55 Grand Slam matches that the Big Four have played thus far, 40 of them have been en route to winning the title for one of the Big Four.

Nadal has had to defeat one of the other three members 19 times in order to win his 14 titles. This includes 8 wins over Djokovic (4 Finals, 3 Semifinals, 1 Quarterfinal), 7 wins over Federer (6 Finals, 1 Semifinal), and 4 wins over Murray (3 Semifinals, 1 Quarterfinal). Furthermore, in order to win 6 of his 14 titles, he has had to defeat two of the Big Four in the same tournament. On 3 occasions he has had to defeat Federer and Djokovic, on 2 occasions he has had to defeat Federer and Murray, and on 1 occasion he has had to defeat Djokovic and Murray.

Djokovic has had to defeat one of the other three members 10 times in order to win his 7 titles. This includes 4 wins over Federer (1 Final, 3 Semifinals), 3 wins over Nadal (3 Finals), and 3 wins over Murray (2 Finals, 1 Semifinal). Furthermore, in order to win 3 of his 7 titles, he has had to defeat two of the Big Four in the same tournament. On 1 occasion he has had to defeat Nadal and Federer, on 1 occasion he has had to defeat Nadal and Murray, and on 1 occasion he has had to defeat Federer and Murray.

Federer has had to defeat one of the other three members 9 times in order to win his 17 titles. This includes 4 wins over Djokovic (1 Final, 2 Semifinals, 1 Round of 16), 3 wins over Murray (3 Finals), and 2 wins over Nadal (2 Finals). Furthermore, in order to win 2 of his 17 titles, he has had to defeat two of the Big Four in the same tournament. On both of these occasions he had to defeat Djokovic and Murray.

Murray has had to defeat one of the other three members 2 times in order to win his 2 titles. On both of these occasions he defeated Djokovic in the Final.

Federer vs. Nadal[edit]

Federer and Nadal have been playing each other since 2004 and their rivalry is a significant part of both men's careers.[178] It is also considered one of the greatest in history.[179][180][181][182] 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.[183]

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).[184] 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.[185]

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.[186] 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).[187] 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.[188] 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.[23][24][25][26] 11 of their 32 meetings have reached a deciding set. They have also played in 10 Masters Series 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[edit]

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal during the 2011 US Open final

Djokovic and Nadal have the most head-to-head meetings in Open Era history with 42 meetings, which Nadal leads 23–19.[189] Nadal leads on grass 2–1 and clay 14–4, but Djokovic leads on hard courts 14–7. They have met 12 times in Grand Slam tournaments with Nadal leading 9–3, and 4–3 in finals. The rivalry is listed as the third greatest rivalry in the last decade by ATPworldtour.com.[190] 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. 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.[191] 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.[192] This and the 2013 French Open semifinal they contested, are considered two of the greatest matches of all time.[193] At ATP Masters 1000 level, they have met twenty two times, 12 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[edit]

Federer and Djokovic at 2010 Rogers Cup.

Djokovic and Federer have played each other 36 times, with Federer leading 19–17. Federer leads the head-to-head on clay courts 4–3, and on hard courts 14–13 , while they are tied on grass 1–1.[194] In terms of number of matches played, it ranks as the fourth largest rivalry in the Open Era. The rivalry, along with Nadal–Djokovic, is the largest in Grand Slam tournament history with 12 matches played against each other. They have played in two Grand Slam finals, the 2007 US Open, which Federer won in straight sets and seven years later at Wimbledon, with Djokovic winning in five sets.[195] They've met in a record nine semifinals and matches at each of the four Grand Slam events. There are tied 6–6 at this level (3–2 at the US Open, 1–1 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.[196][197][198]

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.[199][200] 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.[201] These three matches have been classified among the greatest matches in tennis history by the ATP.[202][203][204]

At ATP Masters 1000 level, they have met 13 times 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.[205] The pair have met four times 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, in the final of Indian Wells the following week, with this time Djokovic coming out on top,[97][206] Monte-Carlo semifinal with Federer winning in straight sets, and most recently at Wimbledon, with Djokovic winning in five sets.

Djokovic vs. Murray[edit]

Murray and Djokovic after the 2013 Wimbledon final

Djokovic and Murray have met 22 times with Djokovic leading 14–8.[207][208] Djokovic leads 2–0 on clay, 12–6 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.[61][64][73] 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.[209]

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.[210][211] 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 12-match winning streak at the event and chance of a third successive title by saving five championship points before winning the title.[212] This, and the three set match they played in Rome in 2011, were voted the ATP World Tour Match of the Year for each respective season.[213][214]

Federer vs. Murray[edit]

Federer and Murray have met 22 times, with the series tied at 11–11. They are tied 10–10 on hard courts, tied 1–1 on grass, and have never met on clay.[215] 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.[216][217][218] However, Murray leads their head-to-head 9–7 in three-set tennis, leading 6–2 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.[219] 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.[220]

Murray is 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 three times 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.[221][222] Federer won their meeting at the 2014 Cincinnati Masters quarter-final in straight sets.[223]

Murray vs. Nadal[edit]

Murray and Nadal have met on 20 occasions, on all surfaces and at every Grand Slam tournament, with Nadal leading 15–5. Nadal leads 6–0 on clay, 3–0 on grass and 6–5 on hard courts.[224] The pair regularly meet at Grand Slam tournaments, with nine of their meetings coming at this level, with Nadal leading 7–2 (3–0 at Wimbledon, 2–0 at the French Open and 1–1 at both the Australian & US Open). The pair are the only match-up within that of the Big Four that have not contested a Grand Slam final, despite one of them occupying a finalist spot in every final between the 2009 US Open and 2014 Wimbledon Championships.[225] However, they've met in 6 semi-finals and 2 quarter-finals, making the rivalry an important part of both men's careers. In 2011 the pair met in three consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals from Wimbledon to the US Open, with Nadal defeating Murray every time.[226] Murray leads 2–1 in ATP finals, with Nadal winning the most important at Indian Wells in 2009 and Murray winning the two ATP 500 finals they've contested in Rotterdam the same year and Tokyo in 2011.[227][228][229]

The pair did not meet in 2012 or 2013, partly because both Murray and Nadal suffered from injury. However, they renewed their rivalry in 2014 with a quarter-final meeting at the Rome Masters, with Nadal winning in three tight sets.[104] The pair met again in the semi-finals of French Open two weeks later, with Nadal winning comfortably in straight sets on his way to winning his ninth French Open title.[230]

Head-to-head records vs other players[edit]

As of October 12, 2014, a total of 98 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.[231]

Active players are in boldface.

Player (highest ranking) Switzerland Federer Spain Nadal Serbia Djokovic United Kingdom Murray Overall Win %
Argentina David Nalbandian (3) 8–11 2–5 1–4 2–5 13–25 34%
France Arnaud Clement (10) 3–8 1–3 1–3 2–1 7–15 32%
Australia Lleyton Hewitt (1) 9–18 4–7 1–6 0–1 14–32 30%
Croatia Mario Ančić (7) 1–6 1–4 1–3 3–2 6–15 29%
France Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (5) 5–11 3–8 6–13 2–10 16–42 28%
Russia Nikolay Davydenko (3) 2–19 6–5 2–6 4–6 14–36 28%
Chile Fernando Gonzalez (5) 1–12 3–7 2–1 2–1 8–21 28%
Argentina Juan Martin del Potro (4) 5–15 4–8 3–11 2–5 14–39 26%
United States Andy Roddick (1) 3–21 3–7 5–4 3–8 14–40 26%
Czech Republic Tomas Berdych (5) 6–12 3–18 2–16 6–4 17–50 25%
Croatia Ivan Ljubičić (3) 3–13 2–7 2–7 3–4 10–31 24%
Spain David Ferrer (3) 0–16 6–22 5–13 6–7 17–58 23%
Switzerland Stanislas Wawrinka (3) 2–14 1–12 3–15 6–8 12–49 20%
Sweden Robin Soderling (4) 1–16 2–6 1–6 2–3 6–31 16%
France Gilles Simon (6) 2–5 1–6 1–8 1–12 5–31 14%

Head-to-head records overall[edit]

Player (highest ranking) Big Four Others Everyone
Spain Rafael Nadal (1) 61-34 (64%) 643-105 (86%) 704-139 (84%)
Serbia Novak Djokovic (1) 50-50 (50%) 545-90 (86%) 595-140 (81%)
Switzerland Roger Federer (1) 40-51 (44%) 944-174 (84%) 984-225 (81%)
United Kingdom Andy Murray (2) 24-40 (38%) 445-108 (80%) 469-148 (76%)
Big Four records 2577-477 (84%) 2752-652 (81%)

Notable matches[edit]

With a combined total of 173 matches played, the Big Four have played many notable matches. The 2008 Wimbledon final is considered one of the greatest match of all time,[23][24][25][26] 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,[232][233] whereas Federer ended Djokovic's 43-match winning streak in the 2011 French Open semifinals.[234] 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.[235] 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.[236] 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.[218] 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.[237] He also became the only man to win Olympic Singles Gold and the US Open back-to-back.

2007 Wimbledon Championships final[edit]

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."[238] 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[edit]

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.[239] 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[edit]

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[240] 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.[241]

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.[242]

2010 US Open final[edit]

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, while 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,[243] while 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.[244]

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).[245] 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[edit]

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[citation needed] 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[edit]

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.[246] 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[edit]

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.[247]

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.[248][249] 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;[250] 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[edit]

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).[251] 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[edit]

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.[252][253] 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.[254]

2013 Australian Open final[edit]

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.[64] 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.[65]

Murray took the first set on a tie-break just as he had done in the US Open final the previous year, and while 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.[255] The match lasted three hours and 40 minutes and four sets.[256] 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[edit]

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,[257] plus his desire to dedicate the title in honor of his recently deceased childhood tennis coach.[258]

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."[259]

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.[260] 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[edit]

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.[261]

2014 Wimbledon Championships final[edit]

The 2014 Wimbledon Men's Singles final was the championship match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. A significant part of the Djokovic–Federer rivalry, it pitted Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer against each other in a Grand Slam final for the second time. After three hours and 56 minutes, top-seeded Djokovic defeated fourth-seeded Federer in five sets to win the match.

By winning the 2014 Wimbledon Championships, Djokovic not only won for the second time, but also reclaimed the world number one ranking from Rafael Nadal at the conclusion of the tournament.[262] He also stopped a losing run in Grand Slam finals having lost his last 3 and 5 of his last 6, Meanwhile with his run to the final and showing in the final that he is still a major contender even at the age of 32, Federer returned to the top 3 ranking positions after a lengthy period in the ranks 5-8 range. Federer had been going for his 80th career tour title, 18th Grand Slam victory and his 8th Wimbledon title.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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