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Golden Era of Men’s Tennis?

By Dave Martin
Epoch Times Staff
Created: January 31, 2013 Last Updated: January 31, 2013
Related articles: Sports » Tennis
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The four most dominant players in men’s tennis over the previous six years have been (L-R) Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The four most dominant players in men’s tennis over the previous six years have been (L-R) Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

With Novak Djokovic’s drubbing of Andy Murray in this month’s Australian Open, it’s official: this is the golden era of men’s tennis.

Why? Let’s take a look at the last 24 majors—six years’ worth—going back to Rafael Nadal’s win over Federer at the 2007 French Open and compare it to the previous six-year period, as well as the women’s side the last six years.

Starting with the 2007 French Open, just five men have won majors, and two of those players (Murray and Juan Martin del Potro) have just one.

Starting with the 2007 French Open, just five men have won majors, and two of those players (Murray and Juan Martin del Potro) have just one each. Though Murray has come on of late reaching three straight finals, the winning has been thoroughly dominated by Nadal (nine major titles), Roger Federer (seven), and Djokovic (six). That’s 92 percent won by just three players over a six-year period.

The number of players that have even reached the finals is just as amazing. Of the 48 spots in those finals over the same period, 42 of them (88 percent) are taken up by the “big four” of Federer (13 finals appearances), Nadal (13), Djokovic (10), and Murray (six). Just five other players have even made the finals over that same period and only one (Robin Soderling with two appearances) did it more than once.

A look at the previous six-year period (2001 French Open through the 2007 Australian) reveals quite a difference.

Thirteen different players won majors, as opposed to five the last six years, and even that number would be greater had it not been for Roger Federer’s incredible 10 wins. Of the 12 other winners, 10 won just a single title while Nadal and Lleyton Hewitt rounded out the group with two major wins apiece.

A look at the women’s side over the past 24 events shows nearly the same data with 12 different winners, highlighted by Serena Williams’ 7 majors. She and Kim Clijsters (three) are the only ones with more than two wins.

The only comparable era in men’s history was when Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, and John McEnroe were at their peaks in the late ’70s and early ’80s. But even cherry picking their most dominant era doesn’t quite equal the current dominating situation.

Starting with the ’76 Wimbledon, won by Borg, and ending with the ’83 U.S. Open won by Connors, the trio combined for 19 major wins out of 30. Of the 60 spots in the major finals over that time, 29 were occupied by the same three.

Borg though retired abruptly in ’83 and Connors won his last major at the U.S. Open that same year, ending the once-great era. Meanwhile, despite Federer’s relative old age (31) and Nadal’s injuries, none of them has slowed down. It wouldn’t be the golden era if they had.

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