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3 stunning facts about the Big 3 of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic

ANALYST
Feature
02 Dec 2019, 16:00 IST

From right to left: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic
From right to left: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are collectively known as the Big 3 of men's tennis for a reason. Each of them has had a hugely successful career, spanning more than a decade and a half.

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic - in that order - have the three highest Grand Slam tallies ever. The Big 3 have scooped up all the Grand Slam titles since the 2017 season, and each member of the elite club has won the coveted 'career Grand Slam' - winning all four Grand Slam tournaments during the course of one's career.

Since Rod Laver won the calendar year Grand Slam (winning all the four Majors in the same year) in 1969, no other player has replicated the feat in 50 years of the Open Era. Federer twice came within two sets of a calendar-year Grand Slam (2006-07), only to be thwarted by the irrepressible 'King of Clay' Nadal on the Parisian red dirt on each occasion.

Djokovic is the only other player, apart from Federer, to reach all four Slam finals in the same year - a feat he achieved in 2015. Like Federer in 2006-07, the Serb won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open but lost a four-set French Open final, to Stan Wawrinka.

Also read: 3 milestones Roger Federer could achieve in 2020

The trio of Nadal (35), Djokovic (34) and Federer (28) are also the leading titlists in Masters 1000 tournaments. The next best tally belongs to Andre Agassi (17). Each of them has reached the final at all nine Masters tournaments on the calendar, with Djokovic the only one to win a title at all of them - a term called 'Career Golden Masters'.

Against that background, let us have a look at 3 stunning facts about the Big 3 of men's tennis:

#1 The Big 3 have won more than a quarter of all Grand Slam titles in the Open Era

Federer hoists aloft his first Grand Slam title on the grasscourts of Wimbledon in 2003
Federer hoists aloft his first Grand Slam title on the grasscourts of Wimbledon in 2003

Federer lifted his first Grand Slam title on the grass of Wimbledon in the summer of 2003. It was the Swiss legend's 17th appearance at a Slam, and first foray beyond the quarterfinals after enduring six first-round exits (thrice each at the French Open and Wimbledon).

En route to an Open Era record 20 titles, Federer went on to become the first player to win his first seven Slam finals before falling to Nadal in the 2006 French Open.

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Nadal, who has won 19 Grand Slam titles, needed just six Slams to make his Grand Slam breakthrough; the Spaniard emulated Mats Wilander (1982) by becoming only the second player to win the French Open on tournament debut.

The left-hander's staggering 12 French Open titles is the most by any player at any Grand Slam ever, ahead of Federer's eight titles at Wimbledon and Djokovic's seven at the Australian Open.

Djokovic followed up his maiden Slam final (2007 US Open - lost to Federer) by winning his first Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open, in his 13th appearance at a Major. The Serb became the first player since Rod Laver to hold all four Grand Slam titles (non-calendar year Grand Slam) when he won titles at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015, and at the Australian Open and the French Open in 2016. Djokovic's 16 Grand Slam titles are only dwarfed by Federer (20) and Nadal (19).

Since Federer opened his Grand Slam account at 2003 Wimbledon, only seven players other than the Big 3 - Andy Murray (3), Stan Wawrinka (3), Andy Roddick (1), Gaston Gaudio (1), Marat Safin (1), Juan Martin del Potro (1) and Marin Cilic (1) have managed to win Slam titles.

Together, the Big 3 have combined to win 55 Grand Slam titles. The trio's combined Slam tally is 27% of all Grand Slam tournaments played in the Open Era (51 at the Australian Open, 52 each at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open).

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