The Big Four 2008-2013?
It is easy to let one match become an interpretive key for the remaining season. Until of course another match or tournament goes against the predicted script.
- Roger Federer entered this Australian Open with the momentum of 5 2014 tittles, being part of a winning Davis Cup team, and winning Birsbane to start 2015.
- Rafael Nadal entered short on matchplay coming off of a layoff, a poor stretch in Asia, and surgery. Rafa also was presented with a fairly soft draw for reaching the semifinal round.
- Both men lost prior to the semifinals.
- Andy Murray lost 6-0, 6-1 to Roger Federer in the 2014 World Tour Finals. Murray is now going to be playing in his 4th Australian Open final in the past 6 years. In portions of 2012 and 2013, it looked a bit like Murray and Djokovic were taking over tennis as they faced off in 3 of 4 Grand Slam finals in a 52 week span.
- Djokovic and Murray may face-off yet again, or maybe Stanislas Wawrinka will add a second major to his trophy case that also includes an Olympic Gold in doubles and a Davis Cup crown.
- A victory by Stan would uphold the 2014 story of players beginning to dissolve the Big 4’s hold on tennis’ biggest prizes. Stanislas Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic, and to lesser extents Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, and Nick Kyrgios contributed to this narrative in 2014.
- That narrative sounds compelling until one considers that Novak and Rafa each won one major and were runner-up at another major in 2014. Novak, Rafa and Roger combined to win 7 of the Masters 1000 Shields and the World Tour Finals. Murray and Djokovic are a combined 11-0 in Melbourne this year despite Rafa and Roger’s troubles.
We can win too
The fact is, tennis is seeing both great results from the Big 4 and some different players making inroads across the tour calendar. Instead of jumping to throw dirt on a player’s career after one uncharacteristic loss that might be followed by a lot of success, it might be better just to enjoy a situation in which multiple top tier players are capable of having success. I do not think a hegemony of the Big 4 is still in place, but I also
don’t think any of the Big 4 are no longer among the top 5 players in the world think that all 4 of the Big 4 are still among the top 5 players in the world. Stan might prove that tennis has a big 5 if he wins 6 more sets in Melbourne.
London results are in the past