TENNIS’ BIG FOUR REPLACEMENTS: WHO WILL DOMINATE?
For almost two decades now, men’s tennis has been dominated by Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray, who are commonly known as the Big Four.
The era of the Big Four began with Roger Federer winning his maiden grand slam at the 2003 Wimbledon Championships and Rafael Nadal going on to win the French Open title in 2005. Novak Djokovic, at the age of 20, disrupted Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s streak of 11 consecutive Grand Slam tournament victories by winning the 2008 Australian Open, while Andy Murray made his debut as a member of the Big Four after he won the US Open in 2012.
Since the 2003 Wimbledon Championship, the Big Four have won a total of 67 men’s tennis Grand Slam titles, 5 Olympic gold medals, and well over 100 ATP Masters 1000 titles. Their dominance also comes from the fact that all four of them usually make it to the later rounds of tournaments.
With advanced age, recurring injuries, and Federer’s retirement following the Laver Cup in London, it appears that the era of the Big Four is finally coming to an end. In the past few years, young players who will likely dominate tennis in the coming years have emerged, and here are my top choices.
19-year-old Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz was confirmed as the youngest year-end number 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973. In 2022, Alcaraz won five ATP titles and his first Grand Slam at the U.S. Open. He also made history as the youngest player to win the Miami Open, Rio Open, and Madrid Open. It’s no doubt that Carloz Alcaraz is a talented player and will likely dominate male tennis.
Casper Ruud is the first Norwegian to reach a Grand Slam final. He finished as runner-up at Roland Garros (the French Open) and the U.S. Open, where he was defeated in the finals by Carlos Alcaraz. At 23 years old, he had already won nine ATP Tour events and reached the ATP Finals. Coming from a place with little infrastructure, Ruud rose through the ranks to No. 2, which is a commendable achievement.
Tsitsipas reached the 2021 U.S. Open final, where he lost to Djokovic. He has also reached four major semifinals. Tsitsipas is known for his massive forehand and backhand wingspan, and his ability to play well indoors. He won the ATP finals in 2019 at the O2 Arena in London, and he is ranked third in the world. Tsitsipas is 24 years old and could be a prospective member of the next big four.
Though not as well known as Alcaraz, Ruud, or Tsitsipas, Sinner is a bright prospect for the future. He started playing on the ITF junior circuit in 2016 and turned pro in 2018. At 19, he became the first teenager to win the ATP 500 title. In 2021, he broke into the ATP top 10 and won a total of six ATP singles.
As the era of the “Old Big Four” comes to an end, a lot of tennis fans are eager to know who will dominate tennis for the next few years. I guess only time will tell.