The Big Three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won the last eleven Grand Slam singles titles between them. Is it going to be 12 in a row at the US Open which commences on Monday?
It really is an astonishing statistic. The last time a player outside the trio won a Grand Slam title was Stan Wawrinka who defeated Djokovic in the US Open final in 2016. Since then the younger brigade which has come to the forefront of the challenge has done everything except win a Grand Slam title. The likes of Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev have won several titles around the ATP Tour, including Masters 1000 titles and the year ending Masters and have risen in the rankings to be constantly in the top ten but when it comes to Grand Slams it is still very much the monopoly of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.
It’s been a fascinating contest for a couple of years now with the young brigade trying their best to topple the Big Three and the trio warding off this challenge by playing some really high quality tennis. More than finding fault with the challengers one has to give credit to the ageing trio who still have the hunger for success and are clearly not in the mood to abdicate. Djokovic is 32, Nadal 33 and Federer 38 but they still occupy the first three places in the rankings in that order.
On the eve of the final Grand Slam of the year it is difficult to see one of the three not winning the trophy. For one thing they are way ahead of the quartet of young challengers listed above in the rankings and secondly when it comes to the really big stage they are able to raise the level of their game required to win such prized titles.
In complete contrast the field for the women’s event wears an absolutely open look. Here the top rankings are different almost every week. It is like anyone in the top ten could win a Grand Slam and anyone in the top ten could rise to No 1. But if there is one player who could still be the cynosure it is Serena Williams as she tries to achieve her long standing goal of 24 Grand Slam singles titles which will see her equal Margaret Court’s all-time record. She last won a Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2017 and since then she has slipped in the rankings only to fight back to be at the No 8 position currently so one cannot totally write of the all-time great even if she turns 38 next month.