Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic are three of the greatest players to have ever wielded a tennis racquet.
They have racked up the most Grand Slam titles (Federer - 20, Nadal - 19, Djokovic - 17), most Grand Slam match wins (Federer - 362, Djokovic - 287, Nadal - 275), most Masters 1000 titles (Nadal - 35, Djokovic - 34, Federer - 28), and Masters 1000 match wins (Nadal - 384, Djokovic - 355, Federer - 381) of any player in the Open Era.
Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have also won each of the four Grand Slam tournaments and are the only players to have reached the final of all 9 Masters 1000 tournaments.
Over 150 different players have faced Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic over the course of their respective careers. Only 29 of them have beaten each member of the Big 3 but none of them holds a winning record against the trio.
Here, we take a look at the three players who have recorded the most wins over the Big 3.
#3 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (16 wins)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is one of seven players to have faced Federer, Nadal and Djokovic on at least 50 occasions (cumulative), with the others being Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Stanislas Wawrinka, David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro, and Richard Gasquet.
The Frenchman's first meeting with a member of the Big 3 came against Nadal in the third round of the 2007 US Open which he lost in straight sets. Tsonga's first meetings with Federer and Djokovic came in the 2008 Madrid Open third round and 2008 Australian Open final respectively. He ended up losing on both occasions.
Tsonga's most impressive wins against the Big 3 have come on the biggest of stages. The Frenchman became the first player in 175 matches to beat Federer after the Swiss maestro had taken a two-set lead at a Grand Slam, achieving the feat in the 2011 Wimbledon quarterfinal. Tsonga also beat Federer in straight sets in the quarterfinal of 2013 Roland Garros and the final of 2014 Coupe Rogers.
Tsonga was also the first player to beat Nadal at a Grand Slam semifinal, conceding only five games in a lopsided win in the 2008 Australian Open semifinals, and he also beat the Spaniard in the semifinals of the 2015 Shanghai Masters.
However, it was against Djokovic that Tsonga had much of his early success, winning 4 consecutive matches to take a 4-1 lead in their head to head. This included wins at the 2008 Paris-Bercy Masters, 2008 ATP Finals, and the 2010 Australian Open quarterfinals. However, the Serb soon caught up and currently leads their head to head 17-6.
#2 Juan Martin del Potro (17 wins)
Juan Martin del Potro has beaten members of the Big 3 to claim some of the biggest titles of his career.
The towering Argentine dethroned 5-time defending champion Federer to make his Grand Slam breakthrough at the US Open. 8 years later, against his Swiss rival, del Potro saved three championship points on his opponent's serve before winning his maiden Masters 1000 title at 2018 Indian Wells.
Del Potro beat Nadal in the US Open semifinals in 2009 and 2018 to reach his only two Grand Slam finals, and also overcame the Spaniard in the quarterfinals of the 2009 Miami Open and 2009 Coupe Rogers. He also conquered Nadal in the semifinals of the 2013 Shanghai Masters and at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 2009 US Open champion is also the only player to thwart Djokovic at multiple Olympic Games, getting the better of the Serb in the 2012 London Olympics bronze medal match and the first round of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Del Potro's other wins over the 17-time Grand Slam champion came in the 2011 Davis Cup semifinals between Argentina and Serbia, and in the 2013 Indian Wells semifinals.
#1 Andy Murray (29 wins)
Andy Murray has the most cumulative wins over the Big 3. The Scot beat Federer in the 2012 Olympics gold medal match and also defeated the 20-time Grand Slam champion in the 2010 Coupe Rogers and 2010 Shanghai finals. Murray also triumphed against Federer at the semifinal stage of the 2008 Madrid Open, 2009 Indian Wells Masters, and the 2013 Australian Open.
Murray also has 11 wins over Djokovic. The Scot overcame the Serb to claim his first Grand Slam title at the 2012 US Open and followed it up with a victory in the 2013 Wimbledon final. He also defeated Djokovic in the final of the season-ending ATP Finals in 2016. 6 of Murray's 14 Masters 1000 titles have come at the expense of the Serb - 2008 Cincinnati, 2009 Miami, 2011 Cincinnati, 2015 Coupe Rogers, 2016 Rome.
Coming to Nadal, Murray has beaten the Spaniard to secure ATP 500 titles at 2009 Rotterdam and 2011 Tokyo besides getting the better of the 19-time Slam champion in the semifinals of the 2008 US Open, 2010 Coupe Rogers, and 2016 Madrid Masters.Published 11 Mar 2020, 22:36 IST