Big Four (tennis)

In tennis, the quartet of men's singles players comprising Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray was often referred to as the Big Four until 2017. They have dominated the sport among them since 2004 in terms of ranking and tournament victories, including Grand Slam tournaments and ATP Masters 1000 events, as well as the ATP Finals, the ATP Tour 500 series and the Olympic Games.

The Big Four
Prize money$ 459,793,244
Singles
Career record3847–861 (81.7%) (overall); 3171–661 (82.8%) (without Big Four)
Career titles316
Highest rankingNo. 1 (2 February 2004F, 18 August 2008N, 4 July 2011D, 7 November 2016M)
Current rankingNo. 1 (3 February 2020D)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenW (2004F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008D, 2009N, 2010F, 2011D, 2012D, 2013D, 2015D, 2016D, 2017F, 2018F, 2019D, 2020D)
French OpenW (2005N, 2006N, 2007N, 2008N, 2009F, 2010N, 2011N, 2012N, 2013N, 2014N, 2016D, 2017N, 2018N, 2019N, 2020N)
WimbledonW (2003F, 2004F, 2005F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008N, 2009F, 2010N, 2011D, 2012F, 2013M, 2014D, 2015D, 2016M, 2017F, 2018D, 2019D)
US OpenW (2004F, 2005F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008F, 2010N, 2011D, 2012M, 2013N, 2015D, 2017N, 2018 D, 2019N)
Other tournaments
Tour FinalsW (2003F, 2004F, 2006F, 2007F, 2008D, 2010F, 2011F, 2012D, 2013D, 2014D, 2015D, 2016M)
Olympic GamesW (2008N, 2012M, 2016M)
Doubles
Career record399–314 (56.0%) (overall); 323–238 (57.6%) (without Big Four)
Career titles23
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open3R (2003F, 2004N, 2005N)
French Open2R (2006M)
WimbledonQF (2000F)
US OpenSF (2004N)
Other doubles tournaments
Olympic GamesW (2008F, 2016N)
Mixed doubles
Career record6–5
Career titles0
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian Open2R (2006D)
Wimbledon2R (2006M)
Other mixed doubles tournaments
Olympic GamesF (2012M)
Team competitions
Davis CupW (2004N, 2008N, 2009N, 2010D, 2011N, 2014F, 2015M, 2019N)
Hopman CupW (2001F, 2018F, 2019F)
Last updated on: 19 October 2020.

Since about 2011, the term "Big Four", while used previously, became popular with the media and in tennis literature.[2][3][4] The Big Four have been a critical part of what has, since 2006, often been labelled a new "Golden Era" in tennis;[5][6][7][8] that term is also applied to the mid-1970s to 1980s,[9][10][11] and the 1920s to the 1930s.[12]

Federer was the first to come to prominence after winning Wimbledon in 2003 and established himself as the world No. 1 after winning the Australian Open in 2004. Nadal followed in 2005 after a French Open triumph including a win over Federer,[13] and they occupied the top two places in the ATP rankings from July 2005 to August 2009. Djokovic, from 2007, then Murray, from late 2008, increasingly challenged Federer and Nadal's dominance with seasonal consistency. In 2011, Nadal declared that his and Federer's period of joint dominance had ended, owing to the ascent of other players, notably Djokovic and later Murray.[14] Djokovic has been a dominant player since the beginning of 2011, gradually approaching or surpassing Federer and Nadal's career achievements.[15] Despite occasional injury breaks by individual members of the Big Four, they have maintained their dominance as a group at the majors until the present. The emergence of other players has reduced their dominance at the ATP Finals and Masters 1000 tournaments starting in 2017.

They regularly held the top four places in the year-end rankings between 2008 and 2013 and were ranked year-end world top four consecutively from 2008 to 2012, the longest span of dominance for any quartet of players in tennis history. From 2007 to 2019, the year-end top three rankings have been held by members of the Big Four ten times. The years they did not (2013, 2016 and 2017) was mainly due to injuries to two of the members during those seasons. They have held the top two spots continuously since 25 July 2005, as well as the top-ranking since 2 February 2004, meaning that no player outside the Big Four has ranked world No. 1 in more than 16 years or even No. 2 in 15 years. All four have reached a career-high No. 1; Federer has been world No. 1 for a record 310 weeks, Djokovic, the current No. 1, for 290 weeks (second since the inception of the ATP Rankings in 1973), Nadal for 209 weeks (6th since 1973), and Murray for 41 weeks. Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have all been year-end No. 1 on five occasions, only interrupted by Murray in 2016.

Amongst them, they have won 58 of the last 65 men's major singles titles, from 2004 Wimbledon through the 2020 French Open, with at least one of them appearing in every major final during this period, the only exceptions being the 2005 Australian Open, 2014 US Open and 2020 US Open. Federer and Nadal lead with a record 20 Majors followed by Djokovic (17) and Murray (3). Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic have completed a Career Grand Slam by winning each of the four Majors at least once, with Nadal also winning a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics for a Career Golden Slam. Murray has won neither the French nor Australian Open, despite reaching the final five times in Melbourne and once in Paris, but has won two Olympic gold medals (one each at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics), becoming the first tennis player in history to win two singles gold medals.[16] In the three Olympic Games between 2008 and 2016, the four won five gold medals (Murray and Nadal with two each, Federer with one), two silver medals (Murray and Federer) and a bronze medal (Djokovic).

Furthermore, at ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, they are all in the top-ten list (since 1970). Djokovic leads with a record 36 titles, followed by Nadal (35), Federer (28), and Murray (14).[17] They have won 12 of the last 16 ATP Finals, with Federer winning six and Djokovic winning five, and Murray winning one. All four players have also played vital roles in leading their countries to victory in the Davis Cup. Djokovic and Federer helped Serbia (2010) and Switzerland (2014), respectively, win the competition for the first time, while Nadal has won five Davis Cup titles, and Murray helped end a drought of 79 years for Great Britain in Davis Cup competition (2015).[18]

In addition to all of these achievements, the Big Four hold many records for having won individual tournament titles the highest number of times, including the Olympics, three of the four majors, the ATP Finals, eight of the nine ATP Masters 1000, ATP 500 overall events, being the US Open, Canada Masters and ATP 250 overall the remaining tournaments where the Big Four does not hold any records. Djokovic is the only player since 1990 to have won all nine Masters 1000 events at least twice.

As of 2020, the trio of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic has instead been referred to as the Big Three due to Murray's repeated struggles with injuries, relative absence from the ATP Tour, and vastly smaller achievements. There has been some discussion since 2015 whether Murray should be included as part of this elite group, initially because he has won far fewer Grand Slam titles when compared to the other three. Some have objected to including Murray in the Big Four while excluding Stan Wawrinka, who has also won three majors in the same period. Wawrinka himself has countered this objection, citing his lack of consistency compared to the Big Four. A comparison between the career performances of the two shows Murray clearly ahead in all other parameters. Murray's statistics are often in the top ten in the Open Era, which highlights his consistency in comparison to Wawrinka.[19][20][21]

HistoryEdit

2003 Wimbledon–2004: Federer dominanceEdit

The early 2000s were seen as a time of transition in tennis, with older players retiring and a few players breaking through at the very top of the game.[22][23] Roger Federer had first played on the ATP Tour aged 17 in 1998,[24] finishing his first full ATP season the following year before finishing 2002 ranked sixth in the world, his first year-end ranking in the top 8. His breakthrough came in 2003 when he won his first Grand Slam tournament (or major) at Wimbledon,[25] won the World Tour Finals, and finished the year as world number 2 behind Andy Roddick. Federer captured three of the four majors in 2004, losing only at the French Open and finished the year as number one.

Rafael Nadal had won his first ATP Tour match aged 15 in April 2002,[26] and he defeated Federer in their first meeting in 2004 at Miami.[27]

2005–2007: Continued Federer dominance, Nadal dominates clayEdit

Big Two: Federer and NadalEdit

In the following three years (2005-2007), Federer almost dominated the tennis scene entirely. Between 2005 Wimbledon and 2007 US Open, Federer captured eight of ten majors with a record of 67–2 in those tournaments.

2005 was Nadal's breakthrough year, in which he won 24 consecutive matches on clay, including his first French Open title, beating Federer in the semi-finals,[28] and he finished the year as world number two, while Federer remained number one for a second straight year.

The period between 2005 and 2007 was subsequently dominated by Federer and Nadal. They won 11 consecutive majors between them, meeting in every French Open and Wimbledon final from 2006–2008. Federer won two Grand Slam singles events in 2005 and three each in 2006 and 2007, reaching ten consecutive finals from the 2005 Wimbledon Championships to the 2007 US Open final. During this period, Nadal won three consecutive French Open titles.

From 2005 to 2010, they ended every year as the world's top two players.

Djokovic and MurrayEdit

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were born a week apart, played each other as juniors[29] and made their Grand Slam tournament debuts in 2005. Djokovic made his ATP Tour debut in 2004, while Murray's was in 2005, a time when many bright youngsters joined the Tour.[30] They both reached the world top 100 in 2005, and top 20 in 2006.[29] Djokovic, however, began to excel ahead of Murray,[31] reaching one major final and two semi-finals in 2007 and began to challenge Federer and Nadal regularly. He also won two Masters tournament titles and five titles in total,[32] finishing the year ranked number three in the world. Murray, who was forced out of the French Open and Wimbledon by injury,[33][34] ended 2007 ranked 11th.[35]

2008–2010: Big two dominance, Djokovic and Murray challengeEdit

Between 2008 and 2010, Djokovic and later Murray attempted to end the duopoly of Federer and Nadal at the summit of tennis. They did not break it but emerged ahead of the rest of the tour. At the 2008 Australian Open, Djokovic defeated Federer in the semi-finals, reaching his first Australian Open final and ending Federer's streak of ten consecutive Major finals, continuing his fine form at the end of the 2007 season which saw him reach his first major final.[36] Djokovic went on to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (who had eliminated Nadal in the semi-final)[37] to win his first Major. Following his Australian Open win, Djokovic emerged as a clear world number three during the year,[38] holding the ranking throughout 2008. Meanwhile, Murray continued to rise in the rankings, reaching his first Major quarter-final at Wimbledon, losing to Nadal.[39] He also won his first two Masters titles.

Federer and Nadal remained the lead rivalry, and the pair met in the finals of both the French Open and Wimbledon. Nadal won both, with the latter described as one of the greatest tennis matches of all time.[40][41][42] In August 2008, after winning the 2008 Summer Olympics gold medal, Nadal passed Federer to become world No. 1, after Federer had been at the top for a record 237 consecutive weeks.

The year's final Major, the US Open, saw all four players reach the semi-finals of the same Major for the first time. Federer defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals, while Murray won through to his first Grand Slam final after upsetting the top-ranked Nadal in four sets.[43] Federer then defeated Murray in the final to win his fifth consecutive US Open title and his 13th Major title overall. Following the US Open, Murray entered the top four in the ATP rankings for the first time and all four players qualified for the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup, which Djokovic won.[44] Despite having to withdraw from this event through injury, Nadal ended the year ranked world No. 1, ahead of Federer and Djokovic respectively, with Murray finishing fourth due to his run at the US Open.

In 2009, the Big Four held the top four places in the rankings for a whole calendar year for the first time. This also prompted the first uses of the term 'Big Four' to refer to the players,[45] although results saw Nadal and Federer generally remain clear leaders ahead of Djokovic and Murray, who themselves were still regarded ahead of the rest of the tour. At the Australian Open, Nadal won his first Australian Open title in another five-set epic, obtaining a third consecutive Major final victory over Federer who broke down in tears during the ceremony, while Murray and Djokovic were eliminated earlier on.[46] Nadal continued to dominate early in the season; however, he lost to Federer in the Madrid Open Final. Nadal entered the French Open as the favourite but lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round, allowing Federer to win his first French Open title defeating Soderling in the final.[47] Federer subsequently passed the record for the most Grand Slam wins, taking his 14th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, thus completing the Career Grand Slam after Nadal had prevented him from achieving this feat at the previous four French Open tournaments,[48] and the 15th title at Wimbledon respectively.[49] Federer finished the season having reached all four Major finals for the third time in his career following 2006 and 2007.

Following Nadal's injuries, Murray and Djokovic made up further grounds in the rankings, although neither of them made a Major final in 2009. Their consistency at Masters level tournaments kept them in the top four of the rankings, with Murray reaching world No. 2 in August, and ending the 211-week reign of Federer and Nadal as the top two players of the world in the process.[50] His reign as the world No. 2 did not last as he was upset in the fourth round of the US Open by Croat Marin Čilić. There, Djokovic reached his first Grand Slam semi-final of 2009, losing in straight sets to Federer[51] while Nadal was defeated by the eventual winner Juan Martín del Potro in the semi-final.[52] Between 2005 Australian Open and 2014 Australian Open, this was the only Grand Slam event not won by a member of the Big Four. (Since then, Wawrinka has won the 2014 Australian Open, 2015 French Open and 2016 US Open while Čilić won the 2014 US Open).

At the end of 2009 Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray finished as the ATP's top four players for the second consecutive year with only Nadal and Federer changing positions from the 2008 final rankings list.

During the 2010 season, the Big Four began to dominate the Tour as a group for the first time.[53] The Big Four provided six of the eight Grand Slam tournament finalists and won 16 tournaments combined in the season (compared to six for the other four competitors at the 2010 ATP World Tour Finals).[53] At the start of the year, Federer continued his dominance as the world number one by winning the Australian Open, defeating Murray in the final, but his run of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals came to an end at the French Open that year when he lost to Robin Söderling in four sets. He then lost to Tomáš Berdych at Wimbledon, ending his run of seven consecutive Wimbledon finals. Nadal dominated the clay-court season again, winning all three clay-court Masters events and the French Open.[54] Nadal also won at Wimbledon, although in both tournaments he only had to face one other member of the Big Four (Murray in the Wimbledon semi-finals).

At the US Open, Djokovic beat Federer to reach his third Major final, although Nadal won once again to complete his Career Grand Slam. With this win, Nadal became the first and so far only male player in history to win three Majors on three different surfaces in a single calendar year. In November, Robin Söderling (who has reached the French Open final) briefly passed Murray to reach fourth place in the ATP rankings, threatening to break the Big Four's run of filling the end-of-year rankings. However, all of the Big Four reached the 2010 ATP World Tour Finals semi-finals with Federer defeating Nadal in three sets in the final, leading to them achieving their third successive season in the top four positions. Djokovic and Murray were third and fourth respectively, both reaching one Grand Slam final apiece.[55]

2011–2013: Big four DominanceEdit

The 2011 season was dominated by Novak Djokovic. He won ten titles in total, including three Grand Slams (only the fifth man in the Open Era to do so) and five ATP Masters 1000 titles (a record), enjoyed a 41-match winning streak (ended by Federer in the semi-finals of the 2011 French Open), amassed a record in prize money, and ascended to world No. 1 in for the first time in July. The season was described by many experts and former players as one of the best tennis seasons for a singles player seen in history, with Tennis Magazine describing it as the third-best tennis season ever, behind Federer's 2006 season, and Rod Laver's in 1969.[56] Pete Sampras described it as "one of the best achievements in all of sport."[57]

Djokovic's dominance contributed to overall control by the Big Four.[58] They all reached the semi-finals at two of the year's Grand Slam events, and amongst them won every Masters tournament. Nadal was clear in second place behind Djokovic, winning Roland Garros and losing in both the Wimbledon and the US Open final. Nadal ended the season with a 0–6 losing record against Djokovic: every match they played was a championship final.[59]

By his standards, Federer had a weak season. He failed to win a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2002, losing to Nadal for the fourth time in a French Open final, and sixth time overall in major finals. He dropped to world No. 4 in November, the first time he had been ranked outside the top three since 2002.[60] Federer's drop was caused by Murray's remarkable run of form in Asia in October, winning three successive titles. However, Federer rallied, winning his three final tournaments (a sign of things to come in subsequent seasons), including the World Tour Finals, which was enough to secure an end-of-season ranking of No. 3. Murray, meanwhile, was making significant improvements to his game and made the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams, with his best result a defeat in the Australian Open final against Djokovic. Murray ended the year with two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles for the fourth consecutive year, and five titles in total.[61]

The dominance of the Big Four continued in 2012. Each player won one Grand Slam: Djokovic won in Australia, Nadal in France, Federer at Wimbledon and Murray (who hired former world number 1, Ivan Lendl, as his head coach earlier in the year[62]) with his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. This win, combined with winning the gold medal in the Olympic Games men's singles on Wimbledon's Centre Court with consecutive semi-final and final victories against Djokovic and Federer – increased confidence of Murray's position as a member of the Big Four: his end-of-season ranking of third was his best yet.[63][64] Djokovic entered the season as the world number one and remained there until July 2012, when he was overtaken by Federer, who reclaimed the top spot for the first time since June 2010. Federer subsequently overtook Sampras' record of 286 weeks at the top, and ultimately extended the record to 302.[65] Federer relinquished his world No. 1 ranking on 5 November, with Djokovic reclaiming the top spot and ending the year there for the second consecutive year. Djokovic was the only player to make at least the semi-finals in all four Grand Slam events, defeating Nadal at the Australian Open final in what is considered one of the greatest tennis matches of all time, and was the losing finalist at Roland Garros and the US Open. Both he and Federer won three Masters tournaments, seeing them dominate the season. Federer was also the silver medalist at the Olympics, where Djokovic finished fourth. Nadal, meanwhile, had his season cut short by an injury. Having won two clay-court Masters tournaments and Roland Garros, he was eliminated in the second round at Wimbledon – his first defeat at such an early stage in a Grand Slam tournament since 2005. He later revealed that he had been injured going into the tournament,[66] and he did not compete for the rest of the season, but still ended the year as world No. 4.

The 2013 season continued similarly, with Djokovic, Federer and Murray occupying three of the four semi-final slots at the Australian Open, with Nadal still suffering from an injury. Murray beat Federer in a five-set match in the semi-final, meaning all four members of the Big Four had beaten each other at least once in a Grand Slam event, but lost to Djokovic in the final in four sets. As a result, Djokovic became the third man to win four Australian Open titles and the first to win three consecutively in the Modern Era; and Murray himself became the first man to reach the final of the next Grand Slam event after winning his maiden title.[67][68] Nadal returned for the clay-court season, winning events in São Paulo, Mexico, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome before becoming the only male player to win a Grand Slam eight times by winning Roland Garros, defeating Djokovic in the semi-finals.[69] However, Djokovic did end Nadal's eight-year winning streak at the Monte-Carlo Masters.[70] Murray's clay-court season ended prematurely because of a back injury, and he did not compete at the French Open, whereas Federer lost in the quarter-finals after making the final in Rome.[71][72][73] Nadal and Federer lost early at Wimbledon in the first and second round respectively, thus ending Federer's 36 consecutive Grand Slam tournament quarter final appearance record, though he was most likely still feeling the effects of a recurring back injury he had been managing since Indian Wells.[74][75] Murray defeated Djokovic in the final to become the first British man to win the tournament in 77 years, extending his winning streak on grass to 18 matches.[76] Leading up to the US Open, Nadal won ATP Masters 1000 events in Montreal and Cincinnati, his third hard-court ATP Masters 1000 event of the year after winning at Indian Wells earlier in the year, extending his winning streak to 15–0 in hard-courts for the year. He went on to win the US Open, defeating Djokovic in the final in four sets, for the second time. With his US Open win, he extended his 2013 hard court record to 22–0, and also completed the "Summer Slam" (winning the Canada Masters, Cincy Masters, and the US Open all in the same season), a feat only matched by other players in the Open Era, Patrick Rafter in 1998 and Andy Roddick in 2003. His streak would come to an end at the Beijing Open where he tore through the field and reached the final, but fell short to Djokovic. Regardless, it was still a 26-match win streak on hard courts, a surface that many pundits said would forever be Nadal's downfall. Murray and Federer lost in the quarter-finals and fourth round respectively.[77]

Overall, the season was about Nadal and Djokovic. Nadal won two Majors and five ATP Masters 1000 events. He was also runner-up at the ATP World Tour Finals. Nadal played in eight clay-court tournaments in 2013, making the finals in all eight of them, and winning six clay-court crowns. However, more impressively, Nadal played in eight hard-court tournaments in 2013 and made at least the semi-finals in all eight events, made the finals in six of them, and won four titles. Djokovic won one Major, and reached two finals and a semi-final, and finished the year strongly on a 22-match winning streak, winning the ATP World Tour Finals in London.[78] The 2013 head-to-head record of Nadal and Djokovic was tied at 3–3. A back injury ended Murray's season prematurely,[79] and he finished fourth in the rankings but was the only player besides Nadal and Djokovic to win a Grand Slam or ATP Masters 1000 title, at Wimbledon and Miami respectively. Federer suffered his worst season in more than a decade. He reached just one Major semi-final, failed to win a single ATP Masters 1000 crown and finished the year sixth in the rankings with one title to his name, even if he too suffered from a recurring back injury throughout the season.[80]

2014: Slam dominance haltedEdit

As 2013 came to a close, Federer's fall in the rankings prompted many sources to debate whether the status of the Big Four had ended.[a] This debate intensified after the Australian Open, which saw Stan Wawrinka defeat Djokovic in the quarter-final and Nadal in the final to win his first Slam title, marking just the second time since 2005 and the first since 2009 that a player outside the Big Four had won a Grand Slam.[90] Murray and Federer fell to sixth and eighth in the rankings respectively,[91] and after the tournament, several players expressed the opinion that they were now capable of challenging the Big Four.[92][93][94][95] However, the Big Four occupied all four final spots of the first two Masters 1000 titles of the year in Indian Wells and Miami, with Djokovic winning his fourth and fifth consecutive Masters titles with tight victories over Federer and Nadal respectively.[96][97] Nadal struggled early in the clay season at his traditional favorite tournaments of Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. A third loss, to Djokovic in the final of the Rome Masters, was the first time Nadal had lost more than two matches on clay in a season for a decade.[98] He did, however, win the Madrid Masters after Nishikori got injured while dominating Nadal 6–2, 4–2 in that final.[99] Nadal went on to defend his French Open title, defeating Murray in the semi-final and Djokovic in the final.

Following his back surgery at the end of 2013, Murray had struggled to return to form in the first half of the year, reaching only two semi-finals and losing to Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in the quarter-finals while attempting to defend his Wimbledon title, a defeat which saw him fall to No. 10 in the world rankings.[100] This, and Nadal's loss to Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round, his third consecutive early-round loss at Wimbledon, led former players and experts, including Jimmy Connors, to express the opinion that the "aura" around the Big Four had faded.[101] Milos Raonic, who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon, suggested a "human side" was visible in the Big Four, which was giving players belief when facing them.[102] However, Djokovic defeated Dimitrov and Federer beat Raonic to make it an all-Big Four final, the 24th they have contested. Djokovic defeated Federer in five sets to claim his second Wimbledon title,[103] a result that left Djokovic, Nadal and Federer occupying the top three places in the rankings.

Federer continued his return to form reaching the finals of Toronto and winning his first Masters title since 2012 in Cincinnati.[104] Later, he also won the Shanghai Masters, and returned to No. 2 in the rankings, overtaking Nadal, whose season had been curtailed by a wrist injury.[105] The US Open 2014 saw the Big Four's collective grip on the major titles slip still further, however, as Kei Nishikori and Marin Čilić beat Djokovic and Federer in the semi-finals respectively to contest the first Slam final featuring none of the Big Four since the 2005 Australian Open, and the first time since 2003 that multiple first-time Grand Slam winners have been crowned in a single season. Following the tournament, Murray dropped to 11th in the rankings, his first time outside the top ten since 2008. The tournament further signalled the decline of the Big Four's dominance.[106] Towards the end of the year, Murray managed to return to form, winning three titles in Shenzhen, Vienna and Valencia, allowing him to return to the top ten in the rankings[107] and qualify for the Tour Finals, but he bowed out at the group stages following a defeat by Federer, in which he won just a single game. Indeed, throughout the year, Murray failed to register a single victory against another member of the Big Four in nine meetings.

At the Tour finals, Federer and Djokovic both reached the final, but Federer withdrew citing injury following a brutal semi-final against Wawrinka.[108] Federer recovered to win the Davis Cup as part of the Switzerland team for his, and the country's, first triumph in the competition, leading many people to say that his tennis career was now complete.[109] Collectively, the Big Four won 19 titles in 2014, but two Slam titles and two Masters titles went to other players. In the end-of-year rankings, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal held the top three spots, with Murray in sixth.

2015–2016: Djokovic domination, Murray challengesEdit

Following Murray's strong end to 2014 and reaching the final of the 2015 Australian Open, he moved into the top four in the ATP rankings for the first time in over a year, meaning that the Big Four held the top four places in the rankings for the first time since early 2013, slowing the idea of the regression of the quartet.[110][111][112][113] Djokovic won the title, as well as the first three Masters titles of the year in Indian Wells, Miami and Monte-Carlo.[114][115] In Madrid, Murray defeated Nadal in straight sets.[116] This was also the first time he had beaten another member of the Big Four in a Tour match since Wimbledon 2013, ending a streak of 12 losses against the other members. The defeat saw Nadal slip to seventh in the rankings, his first time outside the top five in more than a decade.[117] Djokovic defeated Federer in the Rome final. Nadal suffered his worst European clay-court season in a decade, failing to win a single title and appearing in just one final, whereas Djokovic and Murray entered the second Grand Slam event of the year unbeaten on clay. Djokovic defeated Nadal for the first time at the French Open in a straight-sets quarter-final. This was only Nadal's second defeat at the French Open, seeing him drop to No. 10 in the rankings.[118] Djokovic emerged victorious over Murray in a five-set match that was spread over two days[119] but succumbed to Wawrinka in the final in four sets.[120]

Federer beat Murray in straight sets in the semi-finals of Wimbledon.[121] Djokovic claimed the other spot in the final, to set up a rematch of the previous year's final, and defeated Federer in four sets to win his second major of the year, denying Federer a record eighth Wimbledon title for the second year in a row.[122] Murray and Federer shared the two North American hard-court Masters titles, at Montreal and Cincinnati respectively, with Djokovic being the losing finalist on both occasions.[123][124] The US Open final was contested by Djokovic and Federer. Djokovic won in four sets, giving him a third slam title of the season.[125]

Djokovic then continued to dominate throughout the remainder of the year, winning in Beijing, Shanghai, Paris and at the ATP World Tour Finals. Overall, Djokovic's 2015 season was one of the greatest in the history of the game, with him winning 11 titles (the most since Federer won 12 in 2006) including, for the second time, three majors. He also became the only man in the Open Era besides Federer and Rod Laver to reach all four major finals in the same year. He was dominant even against his fellow Big Four rivals, going 15–4 against them throughout the year. Federer was the only player on the Tour to be consistently competitive against Djokovic, winning three of their seven matches, which made up half of Djokovic's total defeats in 2015. Nadal and Murray both struggled against the Serb, with Nadal losing all four of his encounters in straight sets, and Murray winning only one of his seven encounters, in Montreal. However, Murray did lead Great Britain to Davis Cup victory in 2015, winning all eight singles rubbers and becoming the final member of the quartet to win the Davis Cup. Murray did finish at his highest year-end ranking of two even if he won fewer titles, reached fewer finals and had less success versus Djokovic when compared with Federer in the number three ranking.

In 2016, Djokovic collected his sixth Australian Open title in a straight-sets victory over Murray. He followed up this solid run of form with a record-setting fifth Indian Wells and record-equaling sixth Miami masters titles. Nadal won Monte Carlo for a record ninth time. Murray and Djokovic played in the finals of Madrid and Rome and split the titles. At the 2016 French Open, Murray reached his first Paris final to complete his set of Grand Slam singles finals, but Djokovic beat him in the final to become the third Big Four member after Federer and Nadal to complete a Career Grand Slam.

In the Wimbledon final, Murray beat Raonic in straight sets to win his second Wimbledon title, and third major title overall. Murray's victory marked the first time since the 2010 French Open that a member of the Big Four had won a Grand Slam title without having to defeat one of the other three members. Federer withdrew from the remainder of the 2016 season due to a knee injury, missing the Olympics and US Open.[126]

In the Olympics, Djokovic was knocked out of the men's singles in the opening round by Juan Martín del Potro, in a repeat of the bronze medal match from four years earlier.[127] Del Potro went on to defeat Nadal in an epic semi-final to set up a final meeting with Murray.[128] Murray ultimately won the final in four sets, becoming the first male player to win the singles gold medal twice. Nadal lost the bronze medal match to Kei Nishikori but won gold in the men's doubles event.[128] Djokovic won Toronto with Murray losing in the finals of Cincinnati. At the US Open, Djokovic reached the final but was defeated once again by Stan Wawrinka in a Grand Slam final.

Murray dominated the rest of the year. He won titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna and Paris. As a result, upon reaching the Paris final, Murray gained the number-one ranking, ending Djokovic's 122 consecutive weeks at the top. This meant that all of the Big Four had reached world number one at some point. Following an early loss at Shanghai, Nadal announced that he would skip the remainder of the 2016 season to recover fully from the wrist injury that troubled him earlier in the year. Thus, for the first time since 2001, neither Nadal nor Federer would be present at the year-end championships. At the ATP World Tour Finals, Murray beat Djokovic 6–3 6–4, claiming the title and the No. 1 spot at the end of the year and ending 2016 on a 24-match winning streak, the longest of his career. He became the second player after Andre Agassi to win a Grand Slam singles tournament, ATP Finals, Olympic and Masters titles, and the first to do so in the same calendar year. 2016 marked the first year since 2003 that neither Federer, Nadal or Djokovic finished the year as world number 1. Despite his struggles with form throughout the second half of the year, Djokovic still ended 2016 as world number two. Having suffered from injury-plagued seasons, Nadal and Federer ended the year at number nine and 16 respectively. For Nadal, it was his lowest end-of-year ranking since 2004, while Federer's fall in the rankings meant that November 2016 marked his first time outside the top ten since October 2002.

2017–2018 French Open: Return and dominance of the Big TwoEdit

At the Australian Open, Djokovic and Murray both suffered defeats prior the quarter-finals. Nadal and Federer, meanwhile, both reached another Australian Open final. For Nadal, it was the first time he had reached this stage since winning the 2014 French Open. Both came through tough five-set semi-final matches to make the final. In the Australian Open final, a second consecutive five-set match for both players, Federer triumphed over Nadal, winning his 18th Grand Slam title. Federer went on to win a record-equalling fifth Indian Wells title, gaining another victory over Nadal in the fourth round. Federer and Nadal once again met in the 2017 Miami Open final, where Federer defeated Nadal, completing a sweep of Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Miami Open titles.

As the 2017 clay court swing commenced, Federer skipped the entire clay season to rest and focus on the grass and hard-court seasons, as well as to prolong his career. Nadal claimed the Monte-Carlo Masters title, which saw him historically become the first male player to win a single tournament ten times and simultaneously establish a new record for most clay-court titles at 50, surpassing Guillermo Vilas' 49. Nadal also won in Madrid with Djokovic falling to Alexander Zverev in the Rome final. Nadal breezed through to the French Open final without dropping a set for the third time, defeating Wawrinka in the final. This win also ended a three-year drought of slam titles for the Spaniard, his last title coming at the French Open in 2014. Following the win, Nadal returned to world No. 2, his highest ranking since October 2014. Djokovic, who lost in the quarter-finals, fell to world No. 4, his lowest ranking since October 2009 and his first time outside the top two of the rankings since March 2011.

At Wimbledon, the Big Four were the top four seeds at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 2014.[129] Nadal, Murray and Djokovic all lost before the semi-finals. Federer, however, won the title without dropping a set by beating Marin Čilić in the final. Federer's victory was a record-breaking eleventh Wimbledon final and eighth title win. This led to the Big Four being the ATP top four again.[130] Djokovic announced in late July that he would be skipping the rest of the 2017 season to recover from his elbow injury,[131] and Murray would not play another tournament in 2017 as well due to a hip injury.[132] Federer reached the final of the Montreal Masters but sustained a severe back injury in the final, which essentially took him out of contention for the US Open and the No. 1 ranking. Although Nadal did not reach the semi-finals of either North American Masters events, he managed to reach No. 1 over the inactive Murray. Nadal then defeated Kevin Anderson in the US Open final. This was the fourth time that Nadal and Federer had won all four slams in the same year, following their sweeps in 2006, 2007, and 2010. Additionally, on 11 September 2017, Nadal and Federer were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, which was the first time since 20 March 2011 that they held the top two spots in the ATP rankings.

Federer returned to Shanghai, and won his second title there, defeating Nadal in straight sets in the final. This was his fourth win out of four meetings with Nadal in 2017, as well as his fifth consecutive. In 2017, Nadal had his best year since 2013, winning two majors and four other titles. Federer finished the year at world No. 2 behind Nadal and overall had his best year since 2007, having his highest number of titles won since that year, winning two majors for the first time since 2009, and ending the year with a winning percentage of 91%, his highest since 2006. Djokovic and Murray both finished with their lowest year-end rankings since 2006, at No. 12 and 16 respectively.

At the start of 2018, Murray underwent hip surgery for the injury that had kept him off the Tour since the previous summer. Djokovic and Nadal lost early at the Australian Open. Federer, however, went on to win the tournament in a five-set final against Čilić, and by doing so equaling Djokovic and Roy Emerson's record of six Australian Open titles, and becoming the first man to win 20 major titles. Soon after, by reaching the semi-finals in Rotterdam, Federer overtook Nadal to return to world No. 1. By doing this, he became the oldest ATP No. 1 ranked player (since 1973).

Federer then reached the final of Indian Wells, losing to Juan Martin del Potro. Federer's early loss in Miami resulted in the loss of the No. 1 ranking with Nadal overtaking him by 100 points. Federer announced that he would again skip the entire clay-court season. Nadal won his eleventh title in Monte Carlo, repeating the feat a week later for an 11th Barcelona title, winning both without dropping a set.[133] Nadal's loss to Dominic Thiem in the Madrid quarter-final handed the No.1 ranking back to Federer for one week until Nadal won the title in Rome.

Following Djokovic's early exit from the Australian Open, the Serb underwent surgery for the wrist injury that had been causing him issues through the previous year. He returned to the Tour at Indian Wells, and initially struggled much with form, failing to reach the quarter-finals of any of first five tournaments since his return to the tour. He showed promising signs by reaching the semi-finals of Rome where he was highly competitive in a match against Nadal, losing in two tight sets. He then reached the quarter-finals of the French Open but lost to unseeded Marco Cecchinato. Nadal went on to win the tournament, defeating Dominic Thiem in the final to claim a record-extending 11th French Open title and his 17th major overall.

Federer returned to the Tour for Stuttgart and won the title there which saw him return to the #1 ranking for a record 310th week.

2018 Wimbledon–2019 ATP Finals: Djokovic returns, Nadal-Djokovic dominanceEdit

At Wimbledon, Federer lost to Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals after suffering a hand injury at the start of the grass season, despite holding a two-sets-to-love lead and holding a match point in the third set.[134] Djokovic and Nadal, meanwhile, made the semi-finals, where Djokovic defeated Nadal in five sets to reach his first major final in nearly two years. He then defeated Anderson in the final to win his fourth Wimbledon title, his first major title in over two years.

At the US Open, Murray competed in his first Grand Slam since the previous year's Wimbledon, losing in the second round. Both Djokovic and Nadal made the semi-finals where Nadal retired against Juan Martin Del Potro after being two sets down due to a knee injury he had been sustaining throughout the tournament. Djokovic, on the other hand, defeated Kei Nishikori in straight sets to make his eighth US Open final where he beat del Potro for his 14th Grand Slam title. He then followed this up with victory at the Shanghai Masters.

Nadal withdrew before his first match at the Paris Masters, thus yielding the No. 1 ranking to Djokovic, one day shy of exactly two years since he was dethroned. Djokovic and Federer set up a clash in the semi-finals where the Serb won a three-set encounter that lasted three hours. Djokovic was defeated by Karen Khachanov in straight sets in the final. Nadal then announced his withdrawal from the ATP Finals in order to undergo surgery for an ankle injury, as well as recovering from the abdominal injury that caused him to withdraw from Paris. At the ATP Finals, Federer and Djokovic were both defeated by champion Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals and final, respectively. The year ended with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer occupying the top-three positions in the rankings, while Murray's long periods of absence from the Tour led him to finish the year at world number 260.

At the start of 2019, Djokovic made a run to the semi-finals of Doha before being stopped by Roberto Bautista Agut who went on to win the tournament.

Murray, who was making his comeback in Brisbane, lost to Daniil Medvedev in the second round. Before the start of the Australian Open, Djokovic comfortably beat Murray in a practice match. In a press conference the next day, Murray announced his retirement from professional tennis stating that he hopes to be able to play his last event at Wimbledon that year,[135][136] but added that he could already retire following the conclusion of the Australian Open should his injury prove to be too painful to continue playing.[137] Murray lost in the first round to Bautista Agut; however, he exceeded expectations with his performance by extending the match to five sets. Following the match, he speculated that he could possibly return to tennis following a major hip operation. However, with the speculation that this could be the last match of his career, following the match a tribute montage from fellow tennis players was broadcast, with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic being among those to laud Andy for an illustrious career. Federer was upset in the fourth round by 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in a tight four-setter. In the final, Djokovic defeated Nadal in straight sets to claim a record-winning seventh Australian Open championship and increased his Grand Slam tally to 15. By his Australian Open win, he was trailing Nadal by only two Grand Slams. In the week following the Australian Open, Murray underwent hip surgery.

Federer rebounded from his early loss at the Australian Open by winning his 100th title in Dubai. He followed this with a runner-up finish at Indian Wells and a title in Miami.

After withdrawing from Indian Wells due to injury, Nadal initially struggled, relative to his usual dominant standards, upon returning for the European clay-court season, losing in the semi-finals at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. However, he then returned to form in Rome, defeating Djokovic (who had won the title in Madrid the previous week) in the final to win his ninth crown at the Italian Masters 1000 event. The win also broke the tie he had with Djokovic as they co-held the record for most Masters 1000 titles.

At the French Open, Federer returned to play at the tournament for the first time since 2015, making it to the semi-finals where he was defeated by Nadal in straight sets. Djokovic also made it to the semi-finals, doing so without losing a set, but was beaten in five sets by Dominic Thiem in a match that was spread over two days due to rain. In the final, Nadal prevailed over Thiem for a second consecutive year, winning the tournament for a record-extending 12th time. This win would also push Nadal to 18 Grand Slam titles, just two behind Federer's record of 20.

Murray announced that he would compete in doubles at Queen's with Feliciano López. He also stated that he was hopeful of returning to singles action by the end of the year. Murray and López won the title; the first title Murray had won since Dubai in 2017 and a record sixth title (including singles and doubles) in Queen's for him. Federer, meanwhile, won a record tenth title in Halle, making him the only player in the Open Era besides Nadal to win ten titles at a single event.

At Wimbledon, Murray participated in both the men's doubles tournament with Pierre-Hugues Herbert and the mixed doubles tournament with Serena Williams, losing in the second and third rounds respectively. In singles, Nadal and Federer again faced off in the semi-finals, their first meeting at Wimbledon since the 2008 final which Nadal won. Federer defeated Nadal in four sets. He and Djokovic advanced to the final, where Djokovic defeated Federer in the longest Wimbledon men's final in history. For the second consecutive year, Djokovic would go home with multiple Grand Slams and brought his tally to 16, only trailing Federer's 20 and Nadal's 18.

Nadal returned to action in Montreal where he defended his 2018 Canadian Open title, defending a title on a surface other than clay for the first time in his career. Additionally, this would be Nadal's fifth Canada Masters title, which is just one shy of Lendl's record of six. It was also Nadal's tenth Masters 1000 title on hard courts, along with his three at Indian Wells, and one each at Cincinnati and Madrid (indoors). Following his victory, he decided not to play in Cincinnati once again. Murray, meanwhile, continued his comeback to tennis through doubles, playing with his brother Jamie in Washington and with Feliciano López, with whom he won the title in Queen's, in Montreal. In both tournaments, he and his partner failed to advance beyond the quarter-finals. However, he decided he was ready to return to singles in Cincinnati where Murray lost in the first round to Richard Gasquet in straight sets, Federer was upset in the third round by Qualifier Andrey Rublev in straight sets, and Djokovic was upset in the semi-finals by the eventual champion Daniil Medvedev in three sets.

Murray was the only one out of the Big Four not to participate in the 2019 US Open. He instead participated in Challenger Mancor, Es, where he lost to Mateo Viola in three sets during the round of 16. At the US Open, Djokovic retired against Wawrinka in the fourth round due to a shoulder injury, and Federer was upset by Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals. Nadal advanced to his fifth US Open final while dropping just one set to 2014 US Open champion, Marin Čilić, in the fourth round. In the final, he met Daniil Medvedev, whom he had defeated in the Canada Masters final just two weeks prior. However, after going up two sets to none, Medvedev found another gear or two and forced the match to a fifth set. Nadal would go on to defeat Medvedev 6–4 in the fifth set, thereby notching his fourth US Open title and 19th Grand Slam singles title, leaving him just one behind Federer's record.

Nadal ended 2019 being ranked No. 1 for the fifth time, despite not making it to the semi-finals of 2019 ATP Finals.[138] In the 2019 Davis Cup, Spain won their sixth title (their first since 2011), defeating Canada in the final 2–0. Nadal received the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for his performance in the tournament after he won all eight matches in which he participated.[139] This was Nadal's fifth Davis Cup title.[140]

2020: Federer injuries, dominance challengedEdit

At the 2020 Australian Open, Djokovic won his eighth title (a record for men's singles) and his 17th Grand Slam title overall by a narrow victory over Dominic Thiem in the final. He became the first man in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title in three decades.[141]

The 2020 season was heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Four of the five Masters 1000 tournaments typically held between the Australian and the French Open were cancelled, with the Italian Open being the only one to be postponed. The French Open itself was postponed to late September-early October while the Wimbledon Championships were cancelled. The first Masters 1000 to be held after the resumption was the Cincinnati Masters, from which Djokovic emerged victorious. Nadal opted to miss the US Open, preferring to focus on the upcoming clay-court season, while Federer was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury. Both Murray and Djokovic entered the US Open, but Djokovic was disqualified during his fourth-round match, against Pablo Carreño-Busta, after inadvertently hitting a ball against a line judge after he had conceded a break. Meanwhile, Murray was eliminated in the second round by Canadian Felix Auger-Alliasime. This ultimately allowed Dominic Thiem to become the first player from outside the Big Four to win a Grand Slam singles title since Stan Wawrinka had won the tournament in 2016.

Djokovic rebounded to win a record 36th Masters 1000 title in the Italian Open two weeks later. Federer was the only one not entering the 2020 French Open, still being sidelined by the knee injury that had prevented him from participating at the US Open. Murray lost in the first round against Stan Wawrinka in straight sets while Nadal successfully defended his title against Djokovic in straight sets. With the win, Nadal equalled Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles and extended his own record to 13 titles from the same Grand Slam.

Overall dominanceEdit

Grand Slam tournaments and the OlympicsEdit

 
Andy Murray won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2012, defeating Roger Federer in the final.

Since the 2005 Australian Open the Big Four have won all three Olympic Games singles tournaments, all but six majors[142] and all but four Tennis Masters Cups/ATP World Tour Finals/ATP Finals.

The dominance does not just consist of winning the events either, with all four members regularly making it to the latter stages of the tournament. Out of 61 majors between the 2005 French Open and 2020 US Open, the only finals not to include any member of the Big Four were those of 2014 and 2020 US Open. They occupied ten consecutive major finals (winner and runner-up) from the 2010 US Open to the 2013 Australian Open. Since 2008, they have occupied all four semi-final spots on four occasions, at the 2008 US Open, 2011 French Open, 2011 US Open and 2012 Australian Open, as well as taking three of the four spaces on nine other separate occasions. In 2011, they occupied 14 out of a possible 16 Grand Slam semi-final slots. In the same period, only twice have two or more not made the semi-final stage (2009 and 2010 French Open), while in 2012 they took 13 out 16 Grand Slam semi-final slots. At the Olympics, members of the Big Four took five of the nine available singles medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and also including doubles have a total of five golds, two silvers and a bronze from these Games.[143][144][145] Murray has three Olympic medals, whilst Nadal and Federer have won two Olympic medals each. Murray is the only one to have won two medals at the same tournament, taking both the singles gold medal and the mixed doubles silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. He is also the only player of either gender to win two gold medals in the singles event. Djokovic is the only member not to have won a gold medal in any event so far, although he did win the singles bronze medal in 2008.

The Big Four, along with Rod Laver, Tony Roche and Ivan Lendl, are the only men in Open Era history to reach the semi-finals at all four Majors in a single calendar year.[146][147] Federer has achieved this a record five times in his career so far and Djokovic four times. However, this feat was accomplished many more times in the pre-Open Era.[citation needed] Similarly, the Big Four make up four of the seven players (along with Andre Agassi, Ken Rosewall and Ivan Lendl) to have made the semi-finals three or more times at each of the four Majors.[148] Additionally, the Big Four make up four of the ten players to have reached the final at each of the four Majors. Finally, prior to 2009, no man had made 20 Grand Slam singles finals, with Ivan Lendl leading the way with 19. However, since then, Federer (31), Nadal (28) and Djokovic (27) have each surpassed this mark.

Combined Grand Slam tournament singles performance timeline (best result)Edit

Grand Slam 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 SR
Australian Open Q1F 3RF 3RF 4RF 4RF WF SFF WF WF WD WN WF WD WD WD FN WD WD WF WF WD WD 15 / 21
French Open 1RF 4RF QFF 1RF 1RF 3RF WN WN WN WN WF WN WN WN WN WN FD WD WN WN WN WN 15 / 22
Wimbledon 1RF 1RF QFF 1RF WF WF WF WF WF WN WF WN WD WF WM WD WD WM WF WD WD NH 17 / 21
US Open Q2F 3RF 4RF 4RF 4RF WF WF WF WF WF FF WN WD WM WN SFDF WD FD WN WD WN 4RD 13 / 20

Combined Olympic Games singles performance timeline (best result)Edit

Olympic Games 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016 2021 SR
Summer Olympics 4thF 2RF GN GM GM 3 / 5

Big Four Head-to-Head Grand Slam finals: 33Edit

No. Year Championship Surface Winner Runner-up Score
1. 2006 French Open Clay   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 1–6, 6–1, 6–4, 7–6(7–4)
2. 2006 Wimbledon Grass   Roger Federer   Rafael Nadal 6–0, 7–6(7–5), 6–7(2–7), 6–3
3. 2007 French Open Clay   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 6–3, 4–6, 6–3, 6–4
4. 2007 Wimbledon Grass   Roger Federer   Rafael Nadal 7–6(9–7), 4–6, 7–6(7–3), 2–6, 6–2
5. 2007 US Open Hard   Roger Federer   Novak Djokovic 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–2), 6–4
6. 2008 French Open Clay   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 6–1, 6–3, 6–0
7. 2008 Wimbledon Grass   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5–7), 6–7(8–10), 9–7
8. 2008 US Open Hard   Roger Federer   Andy Murray 6–2, 7–5, 6–2
9. 2009 Australian Open Hard   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 7–5, 3–6, 7–6(7–3), 3–6, 6–2
10. 2010 Australian Open Hard   Roger Federer   Andy Murray 6–3, 6–4, 7–6(13–11)
11. 2010 US Open Hard   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, 6–2
12. 2011 Australian Open Hard   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 6–4, 6–2, 6–3
13. 2011 French Open Clay   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 7–5, 7–6(7–3), 5–7, 6–1
14. 2011 Wimbledon Grass   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 6–4, 6–1, 1–6, 6–3
15. 2011 US Open Hard   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 6–2, 6–4, 6–7(3–7), 6–1
16. 2012 Australian Open Hard   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7(5–7), 7–5
17. 2012 French Open Clay   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 6–4, 6–3, 2–6, 7–5
18. 2012 Wimbledon Grass   Roger Federer   Andy Murray 4–6, 7–5, 6–3, 6–4
19. 2012 US Open Hard   Andy Murray   Novak Djokovic 7–6(12–10), 7–5, 2–6, 3–6, 6–2
20. 2013 Australian Open Hard   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 6–7(2–7), 7–6(7–3), 6–3, 6–2
21. 2013 Wimbledon Grass   Andy Murray   Novak Djokovic 6–4, 7–5, 6–4
22. 2013 US Open Hard   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 6–2, 3–6, 6–4, 6–1
23. 2014 French Open Clay   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 3–6, 7–5, 6–2, 6–4
24. 2014 Wimbledon Grass   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 6–7(7–9), 6–4, 7–6(7–4), 5–7, 6–4
25. 2015 Australian Open Hard   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 7–6(7–5), 6–7(4–7), 6–3, 6–0
26. 2015 Wimbledon Grass   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 7–6(7–1), 6–7(10–12), 6–4, 6–3
27. 2015 US Open Hard   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, 6–4
28. 2016 Australian Open Hard   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 6–1, 7–5, 7–6(7–3)
29. 2016 French Open Clay   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 3–6, 6–1, 6–2, 6–4
30. 2017 Australian Open Hard   Roger Federer   Rafael Nadal 6–4, 3–6, 6–1, 3–6, 6–3
31. 2019 Australian Open Hard   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 6–3, 6–2, 6–3
32. 2019 Wimbledon Grass   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 7–6(7–5), 1–6, 7–6(7–4), 4–6, 13–12(7–3)
33. 2020 French Open Clay   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 6–0, 6–2, 7–5

Big Four Olympic finalEdit

Year Games Surface Winner Runner-up Score
2008 Beijing Deco Turf II   Rafael Nadal   Fernando Gonzales 6–3, 7–6, 6–3
2012 London Grass   Andy Murray   Roger Federer 6–2, 6–1, 6–4

ATP FinalsEdit

Combined performance timeline (best result)Edit

Big Two Big Three Big Four Big Three
Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 SR
ATP Finals Did Not Qualify SFF WF WF FF WF WF WD SFF WF WF WD WD WD WD WM SFF FD SFF 12 / 18

Big Four ATP Finals finals: 6Edit

Year Location Surface Winner Runner-up Score
2010 London Hard (i)   Roger Federer   Rafael Nadal 6–3, 3–6, 6–1
2012 London Hard (i)   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 7–6(8–6), 7–5
2013 London Hard (i)   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 6–3, 6–4
2014 London Hard (i)   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer Walkover
2015 London Hard (i)   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 6–3, 6–4
2016 London Hard (i)   Andy Murray   Novak Djokovic 6–3, 6–4

ATP Masters tournamentsEdit

Similarly, ATP Masters/ATP Masters 1000 events have been dominated by the Big Four. Djokovic lead with 36 titles, followed by Nadal (35), Federer (28) and Murray (14). They have won a combined 113 titles (being represented in 128 finals). Between the 2005 Indian Wells Masters and 2017 Madrid Masters they collectively won 96 out of 112 events (85%), however their most dominant period was from the 2011 Indian Wells Masters to the 2017 Madrid Masters where they won 54 out of 58 (93%). This includes all 9 in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Moreover, from the 2014 Cincinnati Masters to the 2016 Canada Masters, they won 18 consecutive ATP Masters 1000 events. From the beginning of 2013 through the first six events of 2017, they had a streak of 42 consecutive Masters 1000 events where at least one of the four reached the final, winning a combined 37 titles. Strangely, only three times (2009, 2011 & 2012) did all four win at least one event during the same calendar year. Since 2003 no other player has won more than 3 titles. Nadal (386), Federer (381) and Djokovic (365) have won more matches than any other player (Jimmy Connors is a distant fourth with 261). Murray (215) stands seventh.

Combined Masters performance timeline (best result)Edit

Big Two Big Three Big Four Big Three
Tournament 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 SR
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Indian Wells Masters A Q1 1RF 3RF 2RF WF WF WF WN WD WN SFN WD WF WN WD WD WD WF FF FF NH 13 / 19
Miami Open 1RF 2RF QFF FF QFF 4RN WF WF WD FN WM SFN WD WD WM WD WD WD WF 2RDF WF NH 12 / 21
Monte-Carlo Masters 1RF 1RF QFF 2RF 3RN A WN WN WN WN WN WN WN WN WD FF WD WN WN WN SFN NH 13 / 20
Madrid Open1 A 1RF 1RF WF 3RNF WF WF 2RMD WF WN WF WN WD WF WN WN WM WD WN QFN WD NH 15 / 20
Italian Open A 1RF 3RF 1RF FF 2RF WN WN WN WD WN WN WD WN WN WD WD WM FD WN WN WD 15 / 21
Canadian Open A 1RF A 1RF SFF WF WN WF WD WN WM WM WD WD WN FF WM WD FF WN WN NH 14 / 19
Cincinnati Masters A 1RF A 1RF 2RF 1RFN WF QFNM WF WM WF WF WM WF WN WF WF FM QFN WD SFD WD 12 / 20
Shanghai Masters2 A 2RF 2RF QFF SFF 2RN WN WF FF WM FN WM WM WD WD WF WD WM WF WD QFDF NH 12 / 20
Paris Masters A 1RF 2RF QFF QFF A 3RD 3RM FN QFNFM WD SFF WF 3RM WD WD WD WM QFN FD WD 7 / 19

1Held as Hamburg Masters until 2008, Madrid Masters (clay) 2009–present.
2Held as Stuttgart Masters until 2001, Madrid Masters (hard-court) from 2002–08, and Shanghai Masters 2009–present.

Big Four Masters 1000 finals: 47Edit

The four have met one another at least twice in Masters 1000 finals. Their head to head records are: Federer 5–7 Nadal; Federer 3–5 Djokovic; Federer 0–2 Murray; Nadal 6–7 Djokovic; Nadal 1–1 Murray; Djokovic 5–5 Murray.

No. Year Surface Tournament Winner Runner-up Score
1. 2005 Hard Miami   Roger Federer   Rafael Nadal 2–6, 6–7(4–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–3, 6–1
2. 2006 Clay Monte Carlo   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 6–2, 6–7(2–7), 6–3, 7–6(7–5)
3. 2006 Clay Rome   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 6–7(0–7), 7–6(7–5), 6–4, 2–6, 7–6(7–5)
4. 2007 Hard Indian Wells   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 6–2, 7–5
5. 2007 Clay Monte Carlo   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 6–4, 6–4
6. 2007 Clay Hamburg   Roger Federer   Rafael Nadal 2–6, 6–2, 6–0
7. 2007 Hard Canada   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 7–6(7–2), 2–6, 7–6(7–2)
8. 2008 Clay Monte Carlo   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 7–5, 7–5
9. 2008 Clay Hamburg   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 7–5, 6–7(3–7), 6–3
10. 2008 Hard Cincinnati   Andy Murray   Novak Djokovic 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–5)
11. 2009 Hard Indian Wells   Rafael Nadal   Andy Murray 6–1, 6–2
12. 2009 Hard Miami   Andy Murray   Novak Djokovic 6–2, 7–5
13. 2009 Clay Monte Carlo   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 6–3, 2–6, 6–1
14. 2009 Clay Rome   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 7–6(7–2), 6–2
15. 2009 Clay Madrid   Roger Federer   Rafael Nadal 6–4, 6–4
16. 2009 Hard Cincinnati   Roger Federer   Novak Djokovic 6–1, 7–5
17. 2010 Clay Madrid   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 6–4, 7–6(7–5)
18. 2010 Hard Canada   Andy Murray   Roger Federer 7–5, 7–5
19. 2010 Hard Shanghai   Andy Murray   Roger Federer 6–3, 6–2
20. 2011 Hard Indian Wells   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 4–6, 6–3, 6–2
21. 2011 Hard Miami   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 4–6, 6–3, 7–6(7–4)
22. 2011 Clay Madrid   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 7–5, 6–4
23. 2011 Clay Rome   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 6–4, 6–4
24. 2011 Hard Cincinnati   Andy Murray   Novak Djokovic 6–4, 3–0 ret.
25. 2012 Hard Miami   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 6–1, 7–6(7–4)
26. 2012 Clay Monte Carlo   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 6–3, 6–1
27. 2012 Clay Rome   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 7–5, 6–3
28. 2012 Hard Cincinnati   Roger Federer   Novak Djokovic 6–0, 7–6(9–7)
29. 2012 Hard Shanghai   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 5–7, 7–6(13–11), 6–3
30. 2013 Clay Monte Carlo   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 6–2, 7–6(7–1)
31. 2013 Clay Rome   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 6–1, 6–3
32. 2014 Hard Indian Wells   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 3–6, 6–3, 7–6(7–3)
33. 2014 Hard Miami   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 6–3, 6–3
34. 2014 Clay Rome   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 4–6, 6–3, 6–3
35. 2015 Hard Indian Wells   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 6–3, 6–7(5–7), 6–2
36. 2015 Hard Miami   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 7–6(7–3), 4–6, 6–0
37. 2015 Clay Madrid   Andy Murray   Rafael Nadal 6–3, 6–2
38. 2015 Clay Rome   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 6–4, 6–3
39. 2015 Hard Canada   Andy Murray   Novak Djokovic 6–4, 4–6, 6–3
40. 2015 Hard Cincinnati   Roger Federer   Novak Djokovic 7–6(7–1), 6–3
41. 2015 Hard (i) Paris   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 6–2, 6–4
42. 2016 Clay Madrid   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 6–2, 3–6, 6–3
43. 2016 Clay Rome   Andy Murray   Novak Djokovic 6–3, 6–3
44. 2017 Hard Miami   Roger Federer   Rafael Nadal 6–3, 6–4
45. 2017 Hard Shanghai   Roger Federer   Rafael Nadal 6–4, 6–3
46. 2018 Hard Cincinnati   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 6–4, 6–4
47. 2019 Clay Rome   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 6–0, 4–6, 6–1

Other Big Four finals: 15Edit

No. Year Surface Tournament Winner Runner-up Score
1. 2005 Hard (i) Bangkok   Roger Federer   Andy Murray 6–3, 7–5
2. 2006 Hard Dubai   Rafael Nadal   Roger Federer 2–6, 6–4, 6–4
3. 2008 Grass Queen's Club   Rafael Nadal   Novak Djokovic 7–6(8–6), 7–5
4. 2009 Hard (i) Rotterdam   Andy Murray   Rafael Nadal 6–3, 4–6, 6–0
5. 2009 Hard (i) Basel   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 6–4, 4–6, 6–2
6. 2010 Hard (i) Basel   Roger Federer   Novak Djokovic 6–4, 3–6, 6–1
7. 2011 Hard Dubai   Novak Djokovic   Roger Federer 6–3, 6–3
8. 2011 Hard Tokyo   Andy Murray   Rafael Nadal 3–6, 6–2, 6–0
9. 2012 Hard Dubai   Roger Federer   Andy Murray 7–5, 6–4
10. 2013 Hard Beijing   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 6–3, 6–4
11. 2015 Hard Dubai   Roger Federer   Novak Djokovic 6–3, 7–5
12. 2015 Hard Beijing   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 6–2, 6–2
13. 2015 Hard (i) Basel   Roger Federer   Rafael Nadal 6–3, 5–7, 6–3
14. 2016 Hard Doha   Novak Djokovic   Rafael Nadal 6–1, 6–2
15. 2017 Hard Doha   Novak Djokovic   Andy Murray 6–3, 5–7, 6–4

Top-level tournament recordsEdit

The four Grand Slams, the ATP Finals, nine ATP Masters 1000s and the Summer Olympics, make up the 15 most coveted tournaments in men's tennis. Although no player has won each of these 15 events in men's singles, Djokovic is the closest to achieve all 15 tournaments, missing only the Olympic title. Murray is only the second player in the Open Era after Agassi to have won a Major, Masters title, Tour Finals, Davis Cup and Olympic Gold.

Federer and Nadal are two behind Djokovic. Nadal has also achieved a Career Grand Slam and a Career Golden Slam, but has thus far fallen short of winning the Tour Finals, the Miami Open and Paris Masters. Federer has also achieved a Career Grand Slam, but is missing the Olympic Gold in singles, the Monte-Carlo Masters and Italian Open. Murray has won 11 of the 15 events.

Federer and Nadal have reached the final of each of the 15 elite tournaments. Djokovic has reached the final of all of them except the Olympics. Murray has yet to play in the final at Monte Carlo.

^ This table is current as of 2020 French Open.[149]

Player Grand Slams ATP Finals ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Olympics SR W–L (%) Total[150]
AO RG WIM USO IW MIA MON MAD1 ROM CAN CIN SHA2 PAR
  Novak Djokovic W (8)* W (1) W (5) W (3) W (5) W (5)* W (6)* W (2) W (3) W (5) W (4) W (2) W (4)* W (5)* B (1) 14 / 15 706–142 (83.3%) 58 / 193 = 30.1%
  Rafael Nadal W (1) W (13)* W (2) W (4) F (2) W (3) F (5) W (11)* W (5) W (9)* W (5) W (1) W (1) F (1) G (1) 12 / 15 696–135 (82.9%) 56 / 190 = 29.5%
  Roger Federer W (6) W (1) W (8)* W (5)* W (6)* W (5)* W (4) F (4) W (6)* F (4) W (2) W (7)* W (3) W (1) S (1) 12 / 15 815–189 (81.2%) 54 / 238 = 22.7%
  Andy Murray F (5) F (1) W (2) W (1) W (1) F (1) W (2) SF (3) W (1) W (1) W (3) W (2) W (4)* W (1) G (2)* 11 / 15 433–143 (75.2%) 20 / 161 = 12.4%

1Held as Hamburg Masters until 2008, Madrid Masters (clay) 2009–present.
2Held as Stuttgart Masters until 2001, Madrid Masters (hard-court) from 2002–08, and Shanghai Masters 2009–present. Djokovic holds the Open-era record of 4 wins, while Murray also won the tournament in 2008 when it was held as the Madrid Masters.
*Denotes open-era tournament record.

Grand Slam performancesEdit

This table is current as of 2020 French Open[151]

Player AO RG WIM USO
Titles Finals Match wins Titles Finals Match wins Titles Finals Match wins Titles Finals Match wins
  Roger Federer 6 7 102 1 5 70 8 12 101 5 7 89
  Rafael Nadal 1 5 65 13 13 100 2 5 53 4 5 64
  Novak Djokovic 8 8 75 1 5 74 5 6 72 3 8 75
  Andy Murray 0 5 48 0 1 39 2 3 57 1 2 46

Top Tier singles tournament standings since 1990Edit

Rank Player Grand
Slams
WTF/YEC Masters
1000
Olympic
Gold
Career
Slam
Tier 1
Total
Point Value
Equivalents
1   Novak Djokovic 17 5 36 0 2016 58 77,100
2   Rafael Nadal 20 0 35 1 2010 56 75,750
3   Roger Federer 20 6 28 0 2009 54 75,800
4   Pete Sampras 14 5 11 0 30 45,500
5   Andre Agassi 8 1 17 1 1999 27 36,300
6   Andy Murray 3 1 14 2 20 25,500
7   Jim Courier 4 0 5 0 9 13,000
  Gustavo Kuerten 3 1 5 0 9 12,300
  Thomas Muster 1 0 8 0 9 10,000

The biggest tournaments since the reorganization of the ATP World Tour in 1990 are the four Majors, ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, WTF/YEC and the Olympics. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are the only players to have won 50+ tier 1 tournaments. There have been 102 Big Four Top Tier finals. Boldface indicates an Open era record.

Big Four vs the rest of the fieldEdit

The Big Four have collectively won 60 Major titles (with Federer and Nadal a record 20, Djokovic 17, and Murray 3). The only other active players who have a Major title to their name are Juan Martín del Potro (2009 US Open), Stan Wawrinka (2014 Australian Open, 2015 French Open, 2016 US Open), Marin Čilić (2014 US Open), and Dominic Thiem (2020 US Open). Starting with the 2005 Wimbledon Championships, their combined record at Grand Slam tournaments against everyone else is 707–62.[152] Moreover, only six times has a player outside the group beaten two of them in the same Grand Slam (Safin at the 2005 Australian Open, Tsonga at the 2008 Australian Open, del Potro at the 2009 US Open, Berdych at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships and Wawrinka at the 2014 Australian Open and the 2015 French Open). Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomáš Berdych are the only players to have beaten each member of the Big Four at a Grand Slam event.

Wins over each member of the Big Four at a Grand Slam event

  • Stan Wawrinka, 10 wins (defeated Murray at the 2010 and 2013 US Open and 2017 and 2020 French Open; Nadal at the 2014 Australian Open; Federer at the 2015 French Open; and Djokovic at the 2014 Australian Open, 2015 French Open and 2016 and 2019 US Open).
  • Tomas Berdych, 6 wins (def. Murray at the 2010 French Open; Federer at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships and 2012 US Open; Djokovic at the 2010 and 2017 Wimbledon Championships; and Nadal at the 2015 Australian Open)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 5 wins (defeated Murray and Nadal at the 2008 Australian Open; Djokovic at the 2010 Australian Open; and Federer at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships and at the 2013 French Open)

Wins over three members of the Big Four at a Grand Slam event

  • Fernando Verdasco, 4 wins (def. Djokovic at the 2005 US Open; Murray at the 2009 Australian Open and 2018 US Open; and Nadal at the 2016 Australian Open)
  • Andy Roddick, 3 wins (defeated Nadal at the 2004 US Open; Djokovic at the 2009 Australian Open; and Murray at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships)
  • Marin Čilić, 3 wins (defeated Murray at the 2009 US Open; Federer at the 2014 US Open; and Nadal at the 2018 Australian Open)

Only four players have defeated 3 of the Big Four at the same tournament. Two of these players are members of the Big Four: Nadal who defeated Murray in the round of 16, Djokovic in the semi-finals, and Federer in the final to win the 2008 Hamburg Masters; and Federer who defeated Murray in the round robin round, Djokovic in the semi-finals, and Nadal in the finals to win the 2010 ATP World Tour Finals. The only two other players to have achieved this trifecta are:

  • David Nalbandian (defeated Nadal in the quarter-finals, Djokovic in the semi-finals, and Federer in the finals to win the 2007 Madrid Masters)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (defeated Djokovic in the round of 16, Murray in the quarter-finals, and Federer in the finals to win the 2014 Canada Masters)

Only two players have beaten a member of the Big Four in a major final. The first to do so was Juan Martin del Potro when he defeated Federer in the 2009 US Open final. Wawrinka defeated Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open final, and Djokovic in the 2015 Roland Garros final and the 2016 US Open final. In all four cases, they defeated the world No. 1 in the process.

The Big Four have played in 100 tournaments where all four have competed. Collectively they have won 88 of these 100 tournaments (88%). Of the 12 tournaments they failed to win, they were runner-up in six of them, and five of these 12 tournaments occurred prior to them first being seeded as the top four players (post-US Open 2008). Since this time in 2008, the Big Four have won 59 of 66 tournaments (89%). And starting with the 2010 Rome Masters, they had won 31 consecutive tournaments where all four were present, until the 2014 Australian Open.[153]

Only seven players have managed to win a tournament where all four of the Big Four have competed:

The Big Four's dominance ratio is also high when only three of the Big Four have competed in the same tournament. Of the 49 events where this has occurred, they have won 43 of them (88%). Since 2008, they have won 32 of 37 tournaments (86%).

Only 14 players have recorded at least one victory over each member of the Big Four.[hth] Of these players, eight have recorded ten or more victories in total, one has a positive record against two members (both are 2–1 win-loss records), and none have a positive record against all four combined.

Top-Level tournament records 2005–present

Player Grand Slam Tournaments ATP World Tour Masters 1000 ATP Finals Olympic
Games
Total
Big Four 55 / 61 109 / 137 10 / 15 3 / 3 177 / 216 = 81.94%
Rest of the field 6 / 61 28 / 137 5 / 15 0 / 3 39 / 216 = 18.06%

^ As of 2020 Rome Masters.

Grand Slam tournament performance comparisonEdit

Before 2005, Murray and Djokovic had not competed in a Grand Slam tournament. Nadal had made four appearances during 2003 and 2004, reaching the third round at 2003 Wimbledon and 2004 Australian Open. Federer had been competing in Grand Slam tournaments since 1999, and had won Wimbledon in 2003 and 2004, as well as the 2004 Australian Open and 2004 US Open. The last time a Grand Slam semi-final did not feature Federer, Nadal or Djokovic was the 2004 French Open. Only two Grand Slam finals since the 2005 Australian Open have been contested without any of the big three, the 2014 US Open and the 2016 Wimbledon.

2003–2008Edit

Tournament Federer Big Two Big Three
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US
  Roger Federer 4R 1R W 4R W 3R W W SF SFN W W W FN WN W WD FN WN WD SFD FN FN WDM
  Rafael Nadal A A 3R 2R 3R A A 2R 4R WF 2R 3R A WDF FF QF QFM WDF FDF 4R SF WDF WF SFM
  Novak Djokovic A A A A A A A A 1R 2R 3R 3R 1R QFN 4R 3R 4RF SFN SFN FF WF SFN 2R SFF
  Andy Murray A A A A A A A A A A 3R 2R 1R 1R 4R 4R 4RN A A 3R 1R 3R QFN FNF

2009–2014Edit

Tournament Big Four
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US
  Roger Federer FN W W FD WM QF QF SFD SFD FDN QF SFD SFN SFD WDM QF SFM QF 2R 4R SFMN 4R FD SF
  Rafael Nadal WF 4R A SF QFM W WM WD QF WMF FMD FMD FFD WD 2R A A WD 1R WD FF WMD 4R A
  Novak Djokovic QF 3R QF SFF QF QF SF FFN WFM SFF WN WFN WMN FFN SFF FM WM SFN FM FN QF FN WF SFM
  Andy Murray 4R QF SF 4R FNF 4R SFN 3R FD SFN SFN SFN SFD QF FF WD FFD A WD QF QFF SFN QF QFD

2015–2020Edit

Tournament Big Four Big Three
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS FRE WIM US AUS WIM US FREP
  Roger Federer 3R QF FMD FD SFD A SF A WN A W QF W A QF 4R 4R SFN FND QF SFD NH A A
  Rafael Nadal QF QFD 2R 3R 1R 3R A 4R FF W 4R W QF W SFD SF FD WF SFF W QF NH A WD
  Novak Djokovic WM FNM WF WF WFM WM 3R F 2R QF QF A 4R QF WN W WN SF WF 4R WF NH 4R FN
  Andy Murray FD SFD SFF 4R FD FD W QF 4R SF QF A A A A 2R 1R A A A A NH 2R 1R

D indicates the player met Novak Djokovic at that tournament.
F indicates the player met Roger Federer at that tournament.
M indicates the player met Andy Murray at that tournament.
N indicates the player met Rafael Nadal at that tournament.
P indicates the tournament was rescheduled to September 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Grand Slam tournament performance comparison by ageEdit

17–22Edit

Tournament 17 18 19 20 21 22
1998, 2003, 2004 1999, 2004, 2005 2000, 2005, 2006 2001, 2006, 2007 2002, 2007, 2008 2003, 2008, 2009
AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US
  Roger Federer A A A A A 1R 1R A 3R 4R 1R 3R 3R QF QF 4R 4R 1R 1R 4R 4R 1R W 4R
  Rafael Nadal A A 3R 2R 3R A A 2R 4R WF 2R 3R A WDF FF QF QFM WDF FDF 4R SF WDF WF SFM
  Novak Djokovic A A A A 1R 2R 3R 3R 1R QFN 4R 3R 4RF SFN SFN FF WF SFN 2R SFF QF 3R QF SFF
  Andy Murray A A A A A A 3R 2R 1R 1R 4R 4R 4RN A A 3R 1R 3R QFN FNF 4R QF SF 4R

23–28Edit

Tournament 23 24 25 26 27 28
2004, 2009, 2010 2005, 2010, 2011 2006, 2011, 2012 2007, 2012, 2013 2008, 2013, 2014 2009, 2014, 2015
AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US
  Roger Federer W 3R W W SF SFN W W W FN WN W WD FN WN WD SFD FN FN WDM FN W W FD
  Rafael Nadal WF 4R A SF QFM W WM WD QF WMF FMD FMD FFD WD 2R A A WD 1R WD FF WMD 4R A
  Novak Djokovic QF QF SF FFN WFM SFF WN WFN WMN FFN SFF FM WM SFN FM FN QF FN WF SFM WM FNM WF WF
  Andy Murray FNF 4R SFN 3R FD SFN SFN SFN SFD QF FF WD FFD A WD QF QFF SFN QF QFD FD SFD SFF 4R

29–34Edit

Tournament 29 30 31 32 33 34
2010, 2015, 2016 2011, 2016, 2017 2012, 2017, 2018 2013, 2018, 2019 2014, 2019, 2020 2015, 2020, 2021
AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US
  Roger Federer WM QF QF SFD SFD FDN QF SFD SFN SFD WDM QF SFM QF 2R 4R SFMN 4R FD SF 3R QF FMD FD
  Rafael Nadal QF QFD 2R 3R 1R 3R A 4R FF W 4R W QF W SFD SF FD WF SFF W QF WD NH A
  Novak Djokovic WFM WM 3R F 2R QF QF A 4R QF WN W WN SF WF 4R WF FN NH 4R
  Andy Murray FD FD W QF 4R SF QF A A A A 2R 1R A A A A 1R NH 2R

35–40Edit

Tournament 35 36 37 38 39
2016, 2021, 2022 2017, 2022, 2023 2018, 2023, 2024 2019, 2024, 2025 2020, 2025, 2026
AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US AUS RG WIM US
  Roger Federer SFD A SF A WN A W QF W A QF 4R 4R SFN FND QF SFD A NH A
  Rafael Nadal
  Novak Djokovic
  Andy Murray

D indicates the player met Novak Djokovic at that tournament.
F indicates the player met Roger Federer at that tournament.
M indicates the player met Andy Murray at that tournament.
N indicates the player met Rafael Nadal at that tournament.

RankingsEdit

Between 8 September 2008 and 28 January 2013, the top four positions in the ATP Rankings were occupied by all members of the Big Four for all but 16 weeks. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic were consistently in the top four for this period, with Andy Murray dropping to no. 5 during all 16 of those weeks. The only two other players who entered the top four in this period were Juan Martín del Potro (3 weeks) and Robin Söderling (13 weeks). This run was ended when David Ferrer replaced Nadal in the top four following a period of injury for Nadal, and retained his place in the top four for much of 2013 as Roger Federer dropped down the rankings due to his own back injury problems.[b]

All four have been world number one. Federer first reached number one in 2004 after winning his first Australian Open, whereas Nadal did in 2008 following his Olympics victory after three straight years of ending the year ranked world No. 2, behind Federer.[162] Similarly, Djokovic achieved world No. 1 status following his Wimbledon victory in 2011, after four consecutive years at No. 3, in a season which is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of the sport.[163][164][165] Murray reached the number one position after the Paris Masters on 7 November 2016, towards the end of a season in which he had made three Grand Slam tournament finals (winning one, Wimbledon), as well as winning the Olympic Games and three Masters tournaments.[166]

They have held:

  • The first two places in the ATP Rankings continuously since 25 July 2005 (exclusively by Federer and Nadal from July 2005 to August 2009). As of 3 February 2020, this represents 759 weeks.
  • The first three places in the ATP Rankings continuously from 13 August 2007 to 7 July 2013.
  • The top four places in the ATP Rankings for all but 16 weeks from 8 September 2008 to 28 January 2013.

ATP Year-end ranking timeline by yearEdit

Federer Big Two Big Three Big Four Big Three
Year End Ranking 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
  Roger Federer 301 64 29 13 6 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 3 2 6 2 3 16 2 3 3
  Rafael Nadal 811 200 49 51 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 4 1 3 5 9 1 2 1
  Novak Djokovic 679 186 78 16 3 3 3 3 1 1 2 1 1 2 12 1 2
  Andy Murray 540 411 63 17 11 4 4 4 4 3 4 6 2 1 16 240 125

ATP Year-end ranking timeline by age at end of seasonEdit

Year End Ranking 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
  Roger Federer 301 64 29 13 6 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 3 2 6 2 3 16 2 3 3
  Rafael Nadal 49 51 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 4 1 3 5 9 1 2 1
  Novak Djokovic 186 78 16 3 3 3 3 1 1 2 1 1 2 12 1 2
  Andy Murray 411 63 17 11 4 4 4 4 3 4 6 2 1 16 240 125

Current rankingsEdit

†Change since previous week's rankings

Big Four ATP world No. 1 eraEdit

* All statistics correct as of 12 October 2020.
Player Start date End date Weeks Total
  Roger Federer 2 February 2004 17 August 2008 237  237
  Rafael Nadal 18 August 2008 5 July 2009 46 46
  Roger Federer (2) 6 July 2009 6 June 2010 48 285
  Rafael Nadal (2) 7 June 2010 3 July 2011 56 102
  Novak Djokovic 4 July 2011 8 July 2012 53 53
  Roger Federer (3) 9 July 2012 4 November 2012 17 302
  Novak Djokovic (2) 5 November 2012 6 October 2013 48 101
  Rafael Nadal (3) 7 October 2013 6 July 2014 39 141
  Novak Djokovic (3) 7 July 2014 6 November 2016 122 223
  Andy Murray 7 November 2016 20 August 2017 41 41
  Rafael Nadal (4) 21 August 2017 18 February 2018 26 167
  Roger Federer (4) 19 February 2018 1 April 2018 6 308
  Rafael Nadal (5) 2 April 2018 13 May 2018 6 173
  Roger Federer (5) 14 May 2018 20 May 2018 1 309
  Rafael Nadal (6) 21 May 2018 17 June 2018 4 177
  Roger Federer (6) 18 June 2018 24 June 2018 1 310 
  Rafael Nadal (7) 25 June 2018 4 November 2018 19 196
  Novak Djokovic (4) 5 November 2018 3 November 2019 52 275
  Rafael Nadal (8) 4 November 2019 2 February 2020 13 209
  Novak Djokovic (5) 3 February 2020 23 March 2020 7 282
ATP Ranking is frozen
23 March 2020 23 August 2020 22 22
  Novak Djokovic (5) 24 August 2020 Present 8 290
Total Weeks 2 February 2004 Present 850

 Represents ATP rankings record.

Top 4 time spansEdit

* All statistics correct as of 12 October 2020.
Top 1Edit

Time span Big 4 held the top 1 ATP Ranking position.

Start date End date Weeks
2 February 2004 Present 850

After Federer became number 1 on 2 February 2004, the Big 4 member holding the no. 1 ranking changed 19 times.

Top 2Edit

Time spans Big 4 held the top 2 ATP Ranking positions.

Start date End date Weeks
25 July 2005 Present 773

Spans per pair :

Pair Start date End date Weeks Total Weeks
Federer-Nadal 25 July 2005 16 August 2009 212 212
Federer-Murray 17 August 2009 13 September 2009 4 4
Federer-Nadal 14 September 2009 31 January 2010 20 232
Djokovic-Federer 1 February 2010 16 May 2010 15 15
Federer-Nadal 17 May 2010 4 July 2010 7 239
Djokovic-Nadal 5 July 2010 15 August 2010 6 6
Federer-Nadal 16 August 2010 12 September 2010 4 243
Djokovic-Nadal 13 September 2010 17 October 2010 5 11
Federer-Nadal 18 October 2010 20 March 2011 22 265
Djokovic-Nadal 21 March 2011 13 May 2012 60 71
Djokovic-Federer 14 May 2012 20 May 2012 1 16
Djokovic-Nadal 21 May 2012 8 July 2012 7 78
Djokovic-Federer 9 July 2012 31 March 2013 38 54
Djokovic-Murray 1 April 2013 21 April 2013 3 3
Djokovic-Federer 22 April 2013 12 May 2013 3 57
Djokovic-Murray 13 May 2013 18 August 2013 14 17
Djokovic-Nadal 19 August 2013 12 October 2014 60 138
Djokovic-Federer 13 October 2014 16 August 2015 44 101
Djokovic-Murray 17 August 2015 23 August 2015 1 18
Djokovic-Federer 24 August 2015 11 October 2015 7 108
Djokovic-Murray 12 October 2015 1 November 2015 3 21
Djokovic-Federer 2 November 2015 8 November 2015 1 109
Djokovic-Murray 9 November 2015 8 May 2016 26 47
Djokovic-Federer 9 May 2016 15 May 2016 1 110
Djokovic-Murray 16 May 2016 11 June 2017 56 103
Murray-Nadal 12 June 2017 10 September 2017 13 13
Federer-Nadal 11 September 2017 14 October 2018 57 322
Djokovic-Nadal 15 October 2018 Present 83 221
Top 3Edit

Time spans Big 4 held the top 3 ATP Ranking positions.

Start date End date Weeks
9 July 2007 30 July 2007 4
13 August 2007 24 June 2013 308
12 August 2013 7 October 2013 9
7 July 2014 15 August 2016 111
17 July 2017 30 October 2017 16
10 September 2018 14 January 2019 19
6 May 2019 2 March 2020 44
Total 511
Top 4Edit

Time spans Big 4 held the top 4 ATP Ranking positions.

Start date End date Weeks
8 September 2008 4 January 2010 70
18 January 2010 12 April 2010 13
3 May 2010 8 November 2010 28
29 November 2010 3 January 2011 6
4 April 2011 14 January 2013 95
18 March 2013 18 March 2013 2
20 May 2013 27 May 2013 3
2 February 2015 23 February 2015 4
9 March 2015 23 March 2015 4
20 April 2015 4 May 2015 3
6 June 2016 25 July 2016 8
17 July 2017 24 July 2017 2
Total 238

Weeks in Top 4Edit

Player\Ranking 1 2 3 4 Total
Roger Federer 3101 218 2243 49 801
Rafael Nadal 209 3472 57 54 667
Novak Djokovic 290 144 148 32 614
Andy Murray 41 79 106 1814 407

No other contemporary player comes close to these stats. The closest is Stan Wawrinka:

Player\Ranking 1 2 3 4 Total
Stan Wawrinka 0 0 60 96 156

1 Most weeks at No. 1 record
2 Most weeks at No. 2 record
3 Most weeks at No. 3 record
4 Most weeks at No. 4 record

Career Grand Slam tournament 1st seedingsEdit

Federer and Djokovic has been seeded 1st in 24 Grand Slam tournaments, followed by Nadal (15) and Murray (3).

Year   Australian Open   French Open   Wimbledon   US Open
2004 (Roddick)   Federer (1)   Federer (2)   Federer (3)
2005   Federer (4)   Federer (5)   Federer (6)   Federer (7)
2006   Federer (8)   Federer (9)   Federer (10)   Federer (11)
2007   Federer (12)   Federer (13)   Federer (14)   Federer (15)
2008   Federer (16)   Federer (17)   Federer (18)   Nadal (1)
2009   Nadal (2)   Nadal (3)   Nadal (4)1   Federer (19)
2010   Federer (20)   Federer (21)   Federer (22)2   Nadal (5)
2011   Nadal (6)   Nadal (7)   Nadal (8)   Djokovic (1)
2012   Djokovic (2)   Djokovic (3)   Djokovic (4)   Federer (23)
2013   Djokovic (5)   Djokovic (6)   Djokovic (7)   Djokovic (8)
2014   Nadal (9)   Nadal (10)   Djokovic (9)2   Djokovic (10)
2015   Djokovic (11)   Djokovic (12)   Djokovic (13)   Djokovic (14)
2016   Djokovic (15)   Djokovic (16)   Djokovic (17)   Djokovic (18)
2017   Murray (1)   Murray (2)   Murray (3)   Nadal (11)
2018   Nadal (12)   Nadal (13)   Federer (24)2   Nadal (14)
2019   Djokovic (19)   Djokovic (20)   Djokovic (21)   Djokovic (22)
2020   Nadal (15)   Djokovic (24) Tournament cancelled*   Djokovic (23)
2021

1 Nadal was seeded #1 but withdrew from the tournament after the draw was released.
2 Seeded first ahead of Nadal despite their world rankings being reversed, this was due to Wimbledon's grass seedings formula.
* Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Wimbledon Championships of the tournament was cancelled..
Bolded name indicates that the tournament was won by the top seed.

Main international tennis and sports awardsEdit

Award 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
ATP World Tour Awards
Player of the Year F F F F N F N D D N D D M N D N
Sportsmanship Award F F F F F F N F F F F F F F N N
Fan Favorite F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F F
Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year F N D F M
ITF World Champions
Men's Singles F F F F N F N D D D D D M N D N
ESPY Award 1
Best International Athlete F
Best Male Tennis Player F F F F F F N D D N D D D F F F
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Sports Personality of the Year M M M
Overseas Sports Personality of the Year F F F N D F
L'Équipe Champion of Champions
International F F F N N F / N N
La Gazzetta dello Sport
World Sportsman of the Year F F F F
Laureus World Sports Awards1
Sportsman of the Year F F F F N D D D F D
Breakthrough of the Year N M
Comeback of the Year N F
Flag bearer at the Summer Olympics
Opening ceremony F Not held F Not held D Not held M, N Not held

1Award shown in the year it honored, not the year it was presented.

Combined achievementsEdit

All fourEdit

  1. Won 56 of 62 last Grand Slam events (as of the 2020 French Open), this is 90.3% of majors won since the French Open in 2005.
  2. Represented in the final of 60 of the last 62 Grand Slam events (2005 French Open–2020 French Open).
  3. Won every Wimbledon since 2003 (17 consecutive titles), furthermore 9 out of the last 14 Wimbledon finals have been contested by two of the Big 4, as of 2019. During this period Federer has won an Open Era record 8 titles, Djokovic 5, Nadal and Murray 2 apiece.
  4. Won 13 out of the last 16 US Opens as of 2019.
  5. 8 of the 9 Australian Open finals from 2009 to 2017 (all except 2014) have been contested by two of the Big Four.
  6. 32 Grand Slam tournament finals featured two from the Big Four, the most of any four players.
  7. Occupied at least 7 out of 8 Grand Slam finalist slots in 6 seasons (2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015), including all 20 from the 2010 US Open until the 2013 French Open.
  8. Occupied all four semi-final slots on 4 Grand Slam tournament occasions (2008 US Open, 2011 French Open, 2011 US Open and 2012 Australian Open).
  9. Along with Stefan Edberg, they are the only players to reach 5 or more Australian Open finals in the Open Era.
  10. Consecutively held the world No. 1 ranking since February 2004.
  11. Occupied the world No. 1 and 2 rankings since July 2005.
  12. Won 105 of the last 131 Masters 1000 tournaments as of Shanghai 2017. (Represented in 109 finals)
  13. Won 18 consecutive Masters 1000 tournaments from the 2014 Cincinnati Open – 2016 Canadian Open.
  14. All 9 Masters 1000 tournaments won in 2011, 2013, and 2015.
  15. Won every Grand Slam, Masters 1000 tournaments and the ATP World Tour Finals in 2011 and 2013.
  16. Won at least 6 of the 9 Masters 1000 tournaments for eleven consecutive years. (2005–2016)
  17. Occupied top four places in the rankings for 5 years, all consecutive. (2008–2012)
  18. Won BBC Sports Personality (or Overseas Personality) of the year and ATP Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year.
  19. Reached 11+ consecutive Grand Slam tournament quarter-finals.
  20. Reached the semi-finals of every ATP Finals since 2002.
  21. The only four players to have reached the semi-finals or better at all nine ATP Masters series events at least once.[169]
  22. Were ranked in the year-end top 6 every year at age 21 through 29.
  23. Top four prize money leaders of all time.

Three of the fourEdit

Djokovic, Federer and NadalEdit

  1. The top three players of all time in terms of Grand Slam titles won.
  2. The only three players in history to win 8 or more titles at a single Grand Slam event.
  3. Won 53 of the last 62 Majors as of the 2020 French Open, which is 85.5% of majors won since the French Open in 2005.
  4. Won 29 out of 30 Grand Slam events from the 2005 French Open up to and including Wimbledon 2012 which is 97% of majors won.
  5. Represented in 59 of 62 Major finals from the 2005 French Open up to and including the 2020 French Open.
  6. Won 14 of the last 15 Australian Open titles (represented in all 15 finals), as of 2020.
  7. Only three players in history to play 20 or more Major finals. Federer has reached 31 finals, Nadal has 28 finals and Djokovic 27.
  8. Only three players in history to play 32 or more Major semi-finals.
  9. Only three players in the Open Era to have reached the final of every Grand Slam tournament at least five times.
  10. Only three players in the Open Era to have played 5 or more consecutive Grand Slam tournament finals.
  11. Consecutively held the world No. 1 ranking from February 2004 to November 2016 (13 years).
  12. Occupied the top 3 places in the year-end rankings for 8 years, 5 consecutively (2007–2011, 2014, 2018-2019).
  13. The only era in men's tennis where three players have won double digit majors and the career Grand Slam while playing in the same time period (2003–present).
  14. Set or tied the Open Era record for most titles won in all four Grand Slam events – Djokovic with 8 Australian Open titles, Federer with 8 Wimbledon titles and 5 US Open titles (tied), and Nadal with 13 French Open titles.
  15. Only three players in tennis history to simultaneously hold Major titles on grass, hard court, and clay. Nadal achieved this feat twice from 2008–2009 and in 2010, Federer in 2008/2009, and Djokovic from 2015–2016.
  16. All won ATP Player of the Year, ITF Men's Singles Champion, Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year and ESPY Award for Best Male Tennis player.
  17. Hold the all-time top 3 for match wins at the Australian Open/Australian Championships and the French Open/French Championships.
  18. Hold the Open Era top 3 for number of semi-finals and quarter-finals reached at the French Open.
  19. Won 8 out of 9 Masters 1000 tournaments in 2012.
  20. Won 7 out of 9 Masters 1000 tournaments in 2007 and 2014 and were represented in every final both years.
  21. Hold the top three for match wins against top 10 ranked opponents.
  22. Hold the top 11 spots for winning top 10 ranked opponents wins in single season.
  23. Top three earliest to clinch year-end No. 1 leaders since the ATP Rankings started in 1973.
  24. Held the Year-End Number 1 ranking for 12 consecutive years (2004–2015). No other three players have held the year end number 1 ranking for 12 consecutive years.
  25. All three have simultaneously appeared in 13 Major semi-finals (Australian Open 2008, 2012; Roland Garros 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2019; Wimbledon 2007, 2019; US Open 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).

Djokovic, Murray and NadalEdit

  1. Won every Grand Slam tournament, Masters 1000 tournament and the ATP World Tour Finals in 2013.
  2. Won a combined 12 consecutive Rome Masters titles from 2005 to 2016. During this period Nadal has won 7, Djokovic 4 and Murray 1.

Djokovic, Federer and MurrayEdit

  1. Won every Masters 1000 tournament and ATP World Tour Finals in 2015.
  2. Won the ATP World Tour Finals at least once from 2010 – 2016, a record 7 consecutive titles. During this period Djokovic won 4, Federer won 2 and Murray won 1.

Legacy and recognitionEdit

Current and former professionalsEdit

Fellow top players, including David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Roddick have all spoken about the dominance of the Big Four and the challenge they face in matching them.[170][171] While the question of breaking through the dominance of the Big Four is a constant question the rest of the tour are constantly asked, many former top professionals have also spoken about the topic, including Björn Borg, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic.[6][172][173][174][175]

David Ferrer declared in 2013:

I think the top four, they are better. It's my opinion. But I am trying to win every match. The results, are there, no? I'm not making something up. It's very difficult for me to win a Grand Slam because there are the top four. At this time they are better than the other players.[176]

MediaEdit

Since 2010, when the Big Four increasingly began to dominate the tour as a group, most articles and reports concentrate solely on the members of the Big Four and their chances in upcoming tournaments or how the previous one has affected them, with smaller sections on the rest of the players.[177][178][179][180][181]

The presence of the Big Four is generally seen to have had a positive impact on tennis, making the sport more exciting and in turn attracting more attention. However, with all four members being from European countries, this may have had a potentially negative effect on interest in North America.[182][183] It has also been argued that the dominance of the Big Four has made the game predictable[184] or even boring.[185][186]

Alternative concepts and proposalsEdit

"Big Three"Edit

Some tennis commentators, including Murray himself,[187] have spoken of a "Big Three" or "Trivalry",[188] with Murray behind the other three players.[189][190] Statistician Nate Silver, in 2014, even labelled the group the 'Big Three and a Half'.[191] Andy Murray's overall record against the other three members of the Big Four is (as of year end 2018) 29–56. Murray also briefly fell outside the top ten in the rankings in 2014, at the time the only member of the Big Four to have done so since 2006, following a drop in form after back surgery at the end of 2013.[192] However, Murray features in the top ten on a number of Open Era records, including in quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals reached at the Majors, and is to date the only person in history to have won two Gold Medals in singles at the Olympic Games, and only the second player of the Open Era (after Andre Agassi), and the only member of the big four, to have won a Grand Slam, a Davis Cup, an Olympic singles gold, an ATP Final, and an ATP 1000 tournament, as well as reach world No. 1. In the ATP rankings. He was the last of the Big Four to reach world No. 1,[193] though he had by that time spent 76 weeks as No. 2.[194] Murray's three Majors, two Olympic Games victories, ATP final and Davis Cup victories and his success in reaching the world no. 1 ranking, all since 2012, have seen him listed more comfortably alongside the other three members during the mid-2010s.[64][195][196] His rise to reach the world No. 1 ranking in November 2016 and keep it to finish the year at the top position has further helped arguments about him belonging in the Big Four, although the debate is ongoing.[197][198][199]

"Big Five" suggestionsEdit

Separately, it has been claimed that the current era in tennis should be seen as having a "Big Five", with Juan Martín del Potro,[200] Marin Čilić,[201] and Stan Wawrinka[202][203][204][205] suggested as expansions to the Big Four. Wawrinka is the only active player outside the Big Four to have won more than one Slam title, having won three (the same number as Murray), defeating Djokovic and Nadal on the way to the 2014 Australian Open title, Federer and Djokovic to win the 2015 French Open, and Djokovic again to win the 2016 US Open. He also holds a positive win-loss record in Grand Slam finals, winning three of four (the loss being to Nadal in the final of the 2017 French Open), as opposed to Murray who has won only three from eleven (a 27.27% strike rate). However, Wawrinka has reached seven fewer Grand Slam singles finals, has won 13 fewer Masters titles than Murray, and has peaked at only number 3 in the world rankings. Wawrinka has downplayed the suggestion that he be included in an expanded "Big Five", describing Murray as "well ahead" of him.[206][207]

Golden eraEdit

Some, including Steffi Graf and John McEnroe, believe the presence of the Big Four has coincided with that of a new "Golden Era" in men's tennis since 2008, wherein depth, athleticism and quality have never been better.[citation needed] The era has been compared to that of Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Roy Emerson and John Newcombe throughout the 1960s and that of Björn Borg and Jimmy Connors, and John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl during the late 1970s and early 1980s.[208][209][210][211]

While Novak Djokovic himself recognises it as a golden era,[212] Roger Federer remains skeptical:

I'd say no, but I don't know. Just because you look back maybe 15 years, then you have Sampras, Edberg, Becker, and Agassi, I don't know who else. Those guys weren't good or what? You look back, a further back, 20 years, and you have the Connors and the Lendls. Those weren't good either? I mean, I don't know. So for me I think that's respectful.

It's just different times and definitely more athletic, there's no doubt about that. But then again we don't play doubles. We don't play mixed. Maybe we play less matches today because it's more taxing, but we do play less best of five set tennis than they used to play.

You can't compare really, but we have somewhat of a golden era right now. I feel that truly. It's nice to see Andy making his move at the Olympics, nice to see Novak having an absolutely ridiculous year last year, and then Rafa and myself still being around. It's definitely good times. Past that you still have great champions as well. It's very interesting at the top right now, and the depth I think has never been greater than right now. But then best ever? The four of us? That's a really difficult call.[213]

Prize moneyEdit

Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray make up the top four prize money leaders of all time (not adjusted for inflation).[214]

Additionally, they have collectively owned the 10 biggest single season payouts ranging from $13.06 million to $21.15 million.

Career Prize money Ending
1.   Novak Djokovic $145,147,979 2020
2.   Roger Federer $129,946,683 2020
3.   Rafael Nadal $122,905,214 2020
4.   Andy Murray $61,793,368 2020
5.   Pete Sampras $43,280,489 2002
6.   Stan Wawrinka $34,512,907 2020
7.   David Ferrer $31,483,911 2019
8.   Andre Agassi $31,152,975 2006
9.   Tomáš Berdych $29,491,328 2019
10.   Marin Čilić $28,203,475 2020
Single season Prize money Year
1.   Novak Djokovic $21,146,145 2015
2.   Andy Murray $16,349,701 2016
3.   Rafael Nadal $16,349,586 2019
4.   Novak Djokovic $15,967,184 2018
5.   Rafael Nadal $15,864,000 2017
6.   Rafael Nadal $14,570,935 2013
7.   Novak Djokovic $14,250,527 2014
8.   Novak Djokovic $14,138,824 2016
9.   Novak Djokovic $13,372,355 2019
10.   Roger Federer $13,054,856 2017

^ as of 19 October 2020.
^ Active players in bold.

RivalriesEdit

The respective rivalries between the Big Four are considered to be some of the greatest of all time.[215][216][217][218][219] Amongst the four of them they have played 217 matches against each other, 65 of which were at Grand Slam events. This includes 30 Grand Slam tournament finals, as well as 26 Grand Slam semi-final meetings, more than any other group of four players. Currently, Djokovic leads the head-to-head record against all members of the Big Four.[220] Djokovic has also won 20+ matches against all three of his peers, while Nadal has won 20+ matches against two of his peers. The Djokovic-Nadal and Djokovic-Federer rivalries are the only two in the Open Era to reach 50 matches.

Head-to-head recordsEdit

Player   Djokovic   Nadal   Federer   Murray Overall Win %
  Novak Djokovic 29–27 27–23 25–11 81–61 57%
  Rafael Nadal 27–29 24–16 17–7 68–52 56.7%
  Roger Federer 23–27 16–24 14–11 53-62 46.1%
  Andy Murray 11–25 7–17 11–14 29–56 34.1%

Of the 67 Grand Slam tournament matches that the Big Four have played thus far, 49 of them have been en route to winning the title for one of the Big Four.

Nadal has had to defeat one of the other three members 24 times in order to win his 20 titles. This includes ten wins over Djokovic (five finals, four semi-finals, and one quarter-final), ten wins over Federer (six finals, four semi-finals), and four wins over Murray (three semi-finals, one quarter-final). Furthermore, in order to win six of his 20 titles, he has had to defeat two of the Big Four in the same tournament. On three occasions, he has had to defeat Federer and Djokovic, on two occasions he has had to defeat Federer and Murray, and on one occasion he has had to defeat Djokovic and Murray.

Djokovic has had to defeat one of the other three members 20 times in order to win his 17 titles. This includes eight wins over Federer (four finals and semi-finals each), six wins over Murray (five finals, one semi-final), and five wins over Nadal (four finals, one semi-final). Furthermore, in order to win four of his 17 titles, he has had to defeat two of the Big Four in the same tournament. On two occasions, he has had to defeat Federer and Murray, on one occasion he has had to defeat Nadal and Federer, and on another, he has had to defeat Nadal and Murray.

Federer has had to defeat one of the other three members ten times in order to win his 20 titles. This includes four wins over Djokovic (one final, two semi-finals, one round-of-16), three wins over Murray (all finals), and three wins over Nadal (all finals). Furthermore, in order to win two of his 20 titles, he has had to defeat two of the Big Four in the same tournament. On both occasions, he had to defeat Djokovic and Murray. Federer has handed out bagels (6-0) to all other three members.

Murray has had to defeat one of the other three members twice in order to win his three titles. On both occasions, he defeated Djokovic in the final. In winning the first of his Olympic gold medals, Murray defeated Djokovic and Federer in back-to-back matches, with Federer his final opponent.

Djokovic vs. NadalEdit

Djokovic and Nadal have the most head-to-head meetings in Open Era history with 56 meetings, which Djokovic leads 29–27.[221] Prior to the Big Four, no Open Era men's rivalry had reached 40 matches, with Lendl vs. McEnroe meeting 37 times. Nadal leads on clay 18–7, while Djokovic leads on hard courts 20–7, and they are tied on grass 2–2. They have met 16 times in Grand Slam tournaments with Nadal leading 5–4 in finals, and 10–6 overall. The rivalry is listed as the third-greatest rivalry on the 2000s by ATPworldtour.com and is widely considered to be the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport.[222] Djokovic is the first player to have at least ten match wins against Nadal and the only person to defeat Nadal seven times consecutively, which he did twice. He is also only the second player to have defeated Nadal in more than one Grand Slam tournament final (the other being Federer) and the first to beat Nadal in a final on a surface other than grass. Their 2012 Australian Open encounter is considered by many to be the greatest hard-court match ever played and their 2013 French Open semi-final is considered the best clay-court match ever played.

Between 2011–12, they met in four consecutive Grand Slam tournament finals, just the second time in tennis history this has happened. In doing so, they also became the second pair in history, after Venus and Serena Williams, to meet in the finals of each of the four Grand Slam events. Djokovic defeated Nadal in the first three (from Wimbledon to the Australian Open), making Nadal the first player in history to lose three consecutive Grand Slam finals. However, Nadal defeated Djokovic in the French Open final, denying him a Career Grand Slam and the opportunity to become the first man since Rod Laver to hold all four Majors at once.[223] The two also share the record for the longest Australian Open and Grand Slam tournament final match ever played (five hours and fifty-three minutes), at the 2012 Australian Open final.[224] This and the 2013 French Open semi-final are considered two of the greatest matches of all time.[225] At ATP Masters 1000 level, they have met 26 times, 12 of which were in the final (a record), including the 2013 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where Djokovic ended Nadal's 46-match win streak and eight-year title streak at the event.

Djokovic vs. FedererEdit

 
Federer and Djokovic in the 2015 Cincinnati Masters final.

Djokovic and Federer have played each other 50 times with Djokovic leading 27–23. Djokovic leads on grass 3–1, 20–18 on hard courts and they are tied at 4–4 on clay.[226] In terms of number of matches played, it ranks as the second-largest rivalry in the Open Era. This rivalry is only the second Open Era rivalry to meet 40+ and 45+ times, trailing only the Djokovic-Nadal rivalry, which reached both milestones the previous year. The rivalry is the largest in Grand Slam tournament history with 17 matches played, having won against each other matches at each of the four Majors. Djokovic leads this category 11–6 (they are tied 3–3 at the US Open, 1–1 at Roland Garros, and Djokovic leads 4–1 in Australia and 3–1 in Wimbledon). They have played in four Grand Slam tournament finals, the 2007 US Open, which Federer won in straight sets and at Wimbledon in 2014 and 2015 and the 2015 US Open, won by Djokovic.[227] They have also met in a record ten semi-finals. The rivalry between Federer and Djokovic is considered one of the best in the Open Era.[228][229][230]

Djokovic is the only player besides Nadal to defeat Federer in consecutive Grand Slam tournaments (2010 US Open and 2011 Australian Open), and the only player besides Nadal and Murray who has double-figure career wins over Federer. Djokovic is one of four players currently on Tour to have defeated Federer in straight sets at a Major and the only player to do it three times. Between 2007–2011, they played a record five times at the US Open (tied with Lendl–McEnroe and Connors–Lendl), with Federer winning the first three and Djokovic the last two. This includes the 2010 and 2011 semi-finals they contested, in which Djokovic saved two match points before going on to win the match.[231][232] In contrast, Federer is the only player beside Nadal to have achieved 20 career wins against Djokovic and ended Djokovic's 43-match winning streak and 41–0 start to the 2011 season by defeating him in the French Open semi-finals.[233] These three matches have been classified among the greatest in tennis history by the ATP.[234][235][236]

At the ATP Masters 1000 level, they have met 20 times, with Djokovic leads 11–9 overall and 4–3 in finals. The pair have also contested five matches at the ATP World Tour Finals, of which Djokovic won three, including both finals.[237] The pair met four times in 2014, in the semi-final of the Dubai Tennis Championships, with Federer recording his first victory over Djokovic since 2012 and first deciding-set victory over another member of the Big Four since 2010, in the final of Indian Wells the following week, with this time Djokovic coming out on top,[238][239] Monte-Carlo semi-final with Federer winning in straight sets, and at Wimbledon, with Djokovic winning in five sets. They met eight times in 2015, with Djokovic winning five.

Federer vs. NadalEdit

 
Federer and Nadal at the 2008 Wimbledon final.

Federer and Nadal have been playing each other since 2004 and their rivalry is a significant part of both men's careers.[240][241] It is also considered one of the greatest in history.[242][243][244][245] They have played 40 times (third-highest in Open Era history), most recently in the semi-final of the 2019 Wimbledon tournament, and Nadal leads their fourteen-year-old rivalry 24–16.[246]

They held the top two rankings on the ATP Tour from July 2005 until 14 September 2009, when Nadal fell to world No. 3 (Andy Murray became the new No. 2),[247] and again since 11 September 2017. They are the only pair of men to have ever finished four consecutive calendar years at the top, eventually with six years from 2005 to 2010. Federer was ranked world No. 1 for a record 237 consecutive weeks beginning in February 2004. Nadal, who is five years younger, ascended to No. 2 in July 2005 and held this spot for a record 160 consecutive weeks before surpassing Federer in August 2008.[248]

Sixteen of their 40 matches have been on clay which is statistically Nadal's best surface and Federer's worst, with 13 being in finals.[249] Nadal has a winning record on outdoor hard courts (8–6) and clay (14–2), while Federer leads on grass (3–1) and indoor hard courts (5–1).[250] Because tournament seedings are based on rankings, 24 of their matches have been in tournament finals which have included an all-time record 9 Grand Slam tournament finals.[251] From 2006 to 2008, they played in every French Open and Wimbledon final. Nadal won six of the nine, losing the first two Wimbledon finals. Four of these finals were five set-matches (2007 and 2008 Wimbledon, 2009 and 2017 Australian Open), with the 2008 Wimbledon final being lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts.[252][253][254][255] Thirteen of their 40 meetings have reached a deciding set. They have also played in 12 Masters Series finals, including their lone five-hour match at the 2006 Rome Masters which Nadal won in a fifth-set tie-break having saved two match points and at the 2005 Miami Masters where Federer came back from two sets down to win in nearly four hours. They also contested the final of the ATP World Tour Finals in 2010 with Federer winning in three sets.

Djokovic vs. MurrayEdit

 
Murray and Djokovic after the 2013 Wimbledon final

Djokovic and Murray have met 36 times with Djokovic leading 25–11.[256][257] Djokovic leads 5–1 on clay, 20–8 on hard courts, and Murray leads 2–0 on grass. The two are almost the same age, with Murray being a week older than Djokovic. The pair have met in seven Grand Slam tournament finals: the 2011 Australian Open, 2012 US Open, 2013 Australian Open, 2013 Wimbledon Championships, 2015 Australian Open, 2016 Australian Open and 2016 French Open. Djokovic won in Australia four times and once in France, and Murray emerged as the victor at the US Open and Wimbledon.[64][67][76] Between 2012–13, the pair met nine times, including three Major finals, and were ranked as the two highest-ranked players in the world between May and August 2013. During this time, the rivalry rose in prominence as the emerging rivalry in tennis.[258] Since then, Djokovic has dominated the rivalry, winning eight matches in a row, before Murray stopped his winning streak in the final of the 2015 Rogers Cup.

The US Open final they contested equaled the record as the longest US Open final in history, as well as the second-longest major final in Open Era history, behind the 2012 Australian Open final. It also featured the longest ever tie-break in a US Open final, with a 12–10 final score in the first set. Other notable matches include the 2012 Australian Open semi-final which lasted four hours and fifty minutes with Djokovic outlasting Murray 7–5 in the fifth set and the semi-final meeting at the 2012 Olympic Games, with Murray winning in straight sets.[259][260] At the ATP Masters 1000 level, they have met 20 times, with Djokovic leading 14–6. Ten of these came in finals, and they are tied at 5–5. Their most notable match in this category was in the final of the 2012 Shanghai Masters, where Djokovic saved five championship points to win the title, ending Murray's perfect 12–0 record at the event.[261] This, and the three-set match they played in Rome in 2011, were voted the ATP World Tour Match of the Year, for each respective season.[262][263]

Federer vs. MurrayEdit

 
Federer and Murray in 2010

Federer and Murray have met 25 times, with Federer leading 14–11. Federer leads 12–10 on hard courts and 2–1 on grass, and they have never met on clay including French Open.[264] Overall, Federer leads Murray 5–1 in Grand Slam events, three of which were finals, once each at the US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon Championships, all of which Federer won.[265][266][267] However, Murray leads their head-to-head 9–8 in three-set tennis, leading 6–3 at the ATP Masters 1000 level (2–0 in finals) with Federer ahead 3–1 in the matches they have contested at the ATP Finals, with Murray winning in Shanghai in 2008 and Federer coming out victorious in London in 2009, 2010 and in 2012.[268] In 2012, exactly four weeks after the two met in the Wimbledon final, they met again on Centre Court for the final of the Olympic Games. Murray defeated Federer this time by winning in straight sets for the loss of just seven games, claiming the gold medal and at the same time denying Federer a Career Golden Slam.[269]

Murray is one of only three players to have recorded ten or more victories against Federer, the other two being Nadal and Djokovic. The pair have only met five times since 2013, after Murray recorded his first victory over Federer at Grand Slam event level with a five-set victory in the semi-finals of the 2013 Australian Open, with Federer winning all five matches losing just one set to Murray.[270][271] Federer won their last meeting at the 2015 Cincinnati Masters semi-final in straight sets which followed a hugely impressive performance in beating Murray in the Wimbledon Championships.[272]

Murray vs. NadalEdit

Murray and Nadal have met on 24 occasions, on all surfaces and at every Grand Slam tournament, with Nadal leading 17–7. Nadal leads 7–2 on clay, 3–0 on grass and 7–5 on hard courts.[273] The pair regularly meet at Grand Slam tournaments, with nine of their meetings coming at this level, with Nadal leading 7–2 (3–0 at Wimbledon, 2–0 at the French Open and 1–1 at both the Australian and US Open). The pair are the only match-up within that of the Big Four that have not contested a Grand Slam tournament final, despite one of them occupying a finalist spot in every final between the 2009 US Open and 2014 Wimbledon Championships.[274] However, they have met in six semi-finals and two quarter-finals, making the rivalry an important part of both men's careers. In 2011, the pair met in three consecutive Grand Slam tournament semi-finals from the French Open to the US Open, with Nadal defeating Murray every time.[275] Murray leads 3–1 in ATP finals, with Nadal winning Indian Wells in 2009 and Murray winning the two ATP 500 finals they have contested in Rotterdam the same year and Tokyo in 2011, as well as Madrid in 2015.[276][277][278]

The pair did not meet in 2012 or 2013, partly because both players suffered from injury. However, they renewed their rivalry in 2014 with a quarter-final meeting at the Rome Masters, with Nadal winning in three tight sets.[279] The pair met again in the semi-finals of French Open two weeks later, with Nadal winning comfortably in straight sets on his way to winning his ninth French Open title.[280]

Career evolutionEdit

This table lists end-of-season statistics for each member of the Big Four, allowing for comparison at the same age.

  • () = active record (updated Monday 12 October 2020).

Bold = age leader in completed years.

Current or former record of the Open Era
Age (end of season) 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
  Federer's season 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
  Nadal's season 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
  Djokovic/  Murray's season 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026
Grand Slam titles Federer 0 0 0 0 1 4 6 9 12 13 15 16 16 17 17 17 17 17 19 20 20 20
Nadal 0 1 2 3 5 6 9 10 11 13 14 14 14 16 17 19 20
Djokovic 0 0 0 1 1 1 4 5 6 7 10 12 12 14 16 17
Murray 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3
Grand Slam match wins Federer 0 7 20 26 39 61 85 112 138 162 188 208 228 247 260 279 297 307 325 339 357 362
Nadal 6 19 36 56 80 95 120 143 157 171 187 198 203 226 247 271 282
Djokovic 5 14 33 51 66 85 110 134 158 180 207 228 237 258 280 296
Murray 3 9 14 26 41 57 78 100 117 134 153 176 188 189 189 (190)
Masters 1000 titles Federer 0 0 0 1 1 4 8 12 14 14 16 17 18 21 21 23 24 24 27 27 28 28
Nadal 0 4 6 9 12 15 18 19 21 26 27 27 28 30 33 35 (35)
Djokovic 0 0 2 4 5 5 10 13 16 20 26 30 30 32 34 (36)
Murray 0 0 0 2 4 6 8 8 9 9 11 14 14 14 14 (14)
All titles Federer 0 0 1 4 11 22 33 45 53 57 61 66 70 76 77 82 88 88 95 99 103 103
Nadal 1 12 17 23 31 36 43 46 50 60 64 67 69 75 80 84 (86)
Djokovic 0 2 7 11 16 18 28 34 41 48 59 66 68 72 77 (81)
Murray 0 1 3 8 14 16 21 24 28 31 35 44 45 45 46 (46)
Matches played Federer 35 101 171 251 346 426 511 608 685 766 839 917 993 1076 1138 1223 1297 1325 1384 1444 1507 1513
Nadal 74 163 234 319 412 492 573 657 705 787 846 927 980 1060 1109 1174 (1200)
Djokovic 27 85 172 253 350 429 505 592 675 744 832 906 946 1012 1080 (1119)
Murray 24 89 146 220 297 361 430 502 553 632 717 804 839 851 869 (875)
Match wins Federer 15 51 100 158 236 310 391 483 551 617 678 743 807 878 923 996 1059 1080 1134 1184 1237 1242
Nadal 45 124 183 253 335 401 472 541 583 658 706 767 806 874 919 977 (999)
Djokovic 13 53 121 185 263 324 394 469 543 604 686 751 783 836 893 (930)
Murray 14 54 97 155 221 267 323 379 422 481 552 630 655 662 672 (676)
Win percentage Federer 42.86 50.50 58.48 62.95 68.21 72.77 76.52 79.44 80.44 80.55 80.81 81.03 81.27 81.60 81.11 81.44 81.65 81.51 81.94 81.99 82.08 82.09
Nadal 60.81 76.07 78.21 79.31 81.31 81.50 82.37 82.34 82.70 83.61 83.45 82.74 82.24 82.45 82.87 83.22 (83.25)
Djokovic 48.15 62.35 70.35 73.12 75.14 75.52 78.02 79.22 80.44 81.18 82.45 82.89 82.77 82.61 82.68 (83.11)
Murray 58.33 60.67 66.44 70.45 74.41 73.96 75.12 75.50 76.31 76.11 76.99 78.36 78.07 77.79 77.44 (77.26)
Top 10 wins Federer 1 4 9 19 28 46 61 80 97 104 119 135 145 161 165 182 197 198 212 216 224 224
Nadal 4 9 19 30 47 61 72 88 99 123 129 136 140 152 162 171 (172)
Djokovic 1 3 9 20 35 39 60 84 108 127 158 179 181 196 205 (213)
Murray 0 4 9 21 35 42 49 61 66 71 83 99 101 101 101 (102)
Ranking Federer 64 29 13 6 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 3 2 6 2 3 16 2 3 3 (4)
Nadal 51 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 4 1 3 5 9 1 2 1 (2)
Djokovic 78 16 3 3 3 3 1 1 2 1 1 2 12 1 2 (1)
Murray 63 17 11 4 4 4 4 3 4 6 2 1 16 240 125 (110)
Weeks at number 1 Federer 0 0 0 0 0 48 100 152 204 237 262 285 285 302 302 302 302 302 302 310 310 310
Nadal 0 0 0 0 19 46 76 102 102 115 141 141 141 160 196 205 (209)
Djokovic 0 0 0 0 0 0 26 62 101 127 179 223 223 232 275 (290)
Murray 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 41 41 41 (41)
Prize money ($M) Federer 0.3 0.9 1.7 3.7 7.7 14.1 20.2 28.6 38.7 44.6 53.4 61.0 67.4 76.0 79.2 88.6 97.3 98.8 111.9 120.5 (129.2) (129.9)
Nadal 0.7 4.6 8.3 14.0 20.8 27.2 37.4 45.1 50.1 64.6 71.4 75.9 78.7 91.4 103.3 119.6 (122.9)
Djokovic 0.2 0.9 4.8 10.5 16.0 20.3 32.9 45.7 58.1 72.4 94.1 107.7 109.8 125.8 139.2 (145.2)
Murray 0.2 0.9 1.8 5.5 9.9 14.0 19.1 24.9 30.3 34.2 42.4 58.7 60.8 61.0 61.5 (61.8)
Age (end of season) 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
  Federer's season 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
  Nadal's season 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
  Djokovic/  Murray's season 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026

Titles by tournaments played comparisonEdit

Another way to view their respective careers and evolution is to look at the progression of titles won by the number of tournaments played to win each of their titles at each level of competition including the four Majors, the nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (formerly ATP Masters Series), the ATP Finals (formerly Tennis Masters Cup, ATP World Tour Finals), and the Olympic Games.

(updated Monday 12 October 2020)

Singles title # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 SR
Federer won at Grand Slam # 17 19 21 22 25 26 27 29 30 31 33 34 38 40 41 43 53 69 70 72 20 / 79
Nadal 6 9 13 17 18 20 24 25 26 28 32 34 36 38 48 50 52 56 58 60 20 / 60
Djokovic 13 25 27 28 29 33 39 41 43 44 45 46 54 55 56 58 60 17 / 62
Murray 28 30 42 3 / 48
Federer won at ATP Masters 1000 # 22 35 38 39 41 42 44 45 46 47 50 52 57 59 75 77 84 94 95 97 99 112 113 119 124 125 127 133 28 / 138
Nadal 10 11 12 14 17 18 22 24 25 33 35 36 40 42 43 51 52 53 59 67 69 70 72 73 74 75 81 95 102 103 109 111 112 116 117 35 / 118
Djokovic 11 15 19 23 36 45 46 47 48 49 53 57 59 63 68 69 70 71 73 77 78 79 80 81 84 85 86 87 89 91 104 105 110 114 115 116 36 / 116
Murray 25 26 29 33 39 41 51 52 63 79 81 89 91 92 14 / 100
Federer won at ATP Tour Finals # 2 3 5 6 9 10 6 / 17
Nadal 0 / 9
Djokovic 2 6 7 8 9 5 / 12
Murray 8 1 / 8
Federer won at Olympic Games # 0 / 4
Nadal 1 1 / 2
Djokovic 0 / 3
Murray 2 3 2 / 3

Notable matchesEdit

With a combined total of 231 matches played, the Big Four have played many notable matches. The 2008 Wimbledon final and the 2012 Australian Open finals are considered by some to be the greatest matches of all time.[252][253][254][255] Novak Djokovic saved match points against Roger Federer at the 2010 and 2011 US Open semi-finals, as well as the 2019 Wimbledon final.[281][282] whereas Federer ended Djokovic's 43-match winning streak in the 2011 French Open semi-finals.[283] The four-hour-and-fifty-minute 2012 Australian Open semi-final between Murray and Djokovic is said to have given Murray the belief he needed to match the other members of the Big Four.[284] Moreover, every Grand Slam tournament final of 2012, all played between the Big Four, holds some historical significance. The 2012 Australian Open final was the longest Grand Slam tournament final in terms of time played. The 2012 French Open saw Rafael Nadal break the record for the most titles at the French Open, whereas Djokovic was attempting to become the first man to hold all four Majors since Rod Laver in 1969.[285] The 2012 Wimbledon final saw Federer equal the record for most Wimbledon titles when he came out victorious against Murray, who became the first British man since 1938 to appear in the final.[267] The 2012 US Open final was the equal longest final in US Open history, and Murray became the first British man since 1938 to win a Major title, and the only British man to do so in the Open Era.[286] He also became the only man to win Olympic Singles Gold and the US Open back-to-back.

2007 Wimbledon Championships finalEdit

The 2007 Wimbledon final pitted world No. 1 Federer against world No. 2 Nadal in a Major final for the fourth time. This was a rematch of the Wimbledon final from the year before and would become the defining match of the Federer–Nadal rivalry up to that point. It was a historic match as Federer was trying to equal Björn Borg's record of five consecutive Wimbledon titles, while Nadal was attempting to be the first man since Borg in 1980 to win the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back (this achievement is colloquially known as the "Channel Slam").

Federer defeated Nadal in five compelling sets in three hours and forty-five minutes, for a fifth consecutive Wimbledon championship (equalling the feat achieved by Björn Borg). Borg himself returned to Wimbledon for the first time since losing the final in 1981, saying "I just feel that this is the right time for me to come back, to hopefully watch Roger winning his fifth title in a row to match my record."[287] This match marked only the third time in the new century that a Major final had gone to five sets, and was the first time the technology Hawk-Eye was ever used in a Wimbledon final.

2008 Wimbledon Championships finalEdit

The 2008 Wimbledon final pitted Federer and Nadal, then ranked world No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, against each other in a Major final for the sixth time (out of nine), a significant part of the storied rivalry between the two players. After four hours and forty-eight minutes, Nadal defeated Federer in five sets. Several tennis critics promptly lauded it as the greatest match in tennis history.[252][253][254][255]

It was the longest Wimbledon men's singles final in history, until being surpassed by Federer and Djokovic's 2019 Wimbledon Final. The match also featured numerous rain delays which meant the match finished in near darkness at 21:15 BST, almost seven hours since the match started at 14:35 BST.[288] It was to be the last Wimbledon final to be significantly affected by rain, as a retractable roof was being installed at Centre Court and would be in place by the 2009 Wimbledon Championships.

2009 Australian Open finalEdit

The 2009 Australian Open final was contested between the world's top two players for much of the previous four years, Nadal and Federer, then world number 1 and 2 respectively. It was their seventh (out of nine) Grand Slam tournament final meeting, and it was the same final match up as had been previously at both 2008 Wimbledon final and 2008 French Open final, both of which Nadal won. However, this was Nadal's first Major hard-court final while it was Federer's ninth and was yet to lose in a Major hard-court final.

Nadal defeated Federer in five sets in four hours and nineteen minutes, with the match finishing after midnight, to become the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open. The match was lauded as one of the greatest ever at the Australian Open,[289] and it was yet another high-quality match between two of the greatest players of all time, only six months since their epic 2008 Wimbledon final. It was a match of huge significance; had Federer won the match he would have equaled the all-time Grand Slam tournament record of 14 by Pete Sampras and the Open-Era record for most Australian Open titles of four with Andre Agassi (he would go on to achieve these in the near future). However, as a result of Nadal winning, he set his own records, holding three of the four Grand Slams at the same time for the first time in his career. Not only that, he became the first man in the Open Era to hold three Grand Slam tournament titles on three different surfaces at the same time. This victory over Federer many believed brought about a change in the tennis standings as Nadal was now clearly the No. 1 player after Federer had that title for over four and a half years consecutively with Nadal deemed the second-best for nearly three years of that. The defeat brought Federer to tears as he came to terms with his loss.[290]

The match statistics followed a similar pattern to those at the 2008 Wimbledon Final, with Federer having a lower first serve percentage against Nadal (51% vs 64%) and he again could not be as clinical on break point opportunities with only 31% break points converted for Federer whereas Nadal converted 43% of his break points. However, the total points by each player proved even closer than that at that Wimbledon final, as Federer won one more point than Nadal (174 vs 173) yet still lost this final.[291]

2011 French Open semi-finalEdit

The 2011 French Open semi-final between world No. 2 Djokovic and world No. 3 Federer was a historic encounter that brought about the end of the longest winning streak in almost 30 years. Djokovic entered the match undefeated for the first five months of the year, having gone 41–0 with a total winning streak of 43 matches (his last loss had come against Federer at the World Tour Finals). It was the first Grand Slam tournament in which Djokovic had ever been seeded higher than Federer. Djokovic had defeated Federer in their three previous meetings in 2011, however, Federer took out the first two sets. Djokovic won the third set, and as the fourth set went on, the light began to fade, and it was clear that if the match went to a fifth set, it would have to be continued the next day. Djokovic served for the fourth set at 5–4 but was broken, and Federer closed out the match in a tiebreaker.

2012 Australian Open finalEdit

The 2012 Australian Open final pitted the world's top two players, Djokovic and Nadal, against each other in a Grand Slam tournament final for the third consecutive time and the fourth time (out of seven). Djokovic defeated Nadal in five sets to win the match after five hours and fifty-three minutes, the longest Major final in history.[292] During the trophy ceremony, both Nadal and Djokovic required chairs, as they were both so exhausted that they could barely stand.

It was lauded as one of the greatest matches ever by former players, legends, and analysts of the sport. John McEnroe claimed it surpassed the 2008 Wimbledon final as the best tennis match of all time, while legends Pete Sampras, Mats Wilander, and Björn Borg said it was the best match they saw in their lifetime. After the 2012 Australian Open, Rod Laver came out with his greatest in the amateur and Open Era lists, and Djokovic was ranked sixth and Nadal fifth on the Open Era list. Laver said the 2012 Australian Open final was the main reason for including both players. Nadal called it the toughest loss of his career but the best match he ever played. Djokovic said it was the finest win in his career and also commented on the high level of tennis played. Not only was this the longest Grand Slam tournament final, but according to Tennis Channel and the Australian Open TV networks, this was one of the most-watched finals, despite ending late into the night locally. Soon after the conclusion of the 2012 Australian Open, there were sources claiming that Djokovic sealed his spot as a tennis great and in the Tennis Hall of Fame.

2012 French Open finalEdit

The 2012 French Open final pitted the world's top two players, Djokovic and Nadal, against each other in a Grand Slam tournament final for the fourth consecutive time and the fifth time overall. This match had historical proportions as Djokovic would have become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Majors simultaneously, whereas Nadal was looking to break Björn Borg's record of six French Open titles and equal Chris Evert's record of seven French Open titles held by a man or woman.[293]

Nadal defeated Djokovic in a two-day final in four sets, to ultimately achieve his seventh French Open title and deny Djokovic a Career Grand Slam.[294][295] With Nadal leading by two sets to one, and Djokovic leading 2–1 on serve in the fourth set, the match was suspended due to rain;[296] it was initially thought that Djokovic had gained the momentum, having won eight consecutive games prior to the suspension of the match. However, Nadal was able to regroup and take the fourth set, and ultimately the match, after Djokovic double-faulted on championship point down.

2012 Wimbledon Championships finalEdit

The 2012 Wimbledon final pitted world No. 3 Federer against world No. 4 Andy Murray in a Major final for a third time. This final snapped a streak of four consecutive Major finals reached by Djokovic and Nadal. Nadal was ousted in the second round while Federer defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals. In what was the most historic Major final of the year, Federer sought to win a record-breaking seventeenth Major title and a record-tying seventh Wimbledon to match Pete Sampras. Both records are amongst the most prestigious in all of tennis. Murray, on the other hand, had become the first British man since Bunny Austin in 1938 to reach the Wimbledon final and was attempting to become the first Brit to win any Major title since Fred Perry in 1936.

Federer defeated Murray in four sets in three hours and twenty-four minutes, to capture a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon, and a record-breaking seventeenth Major title. The victory was also historic as it caused Federer to depose Djokovic as world No. 1 and break Sampras' record of 286 weeks at the summit of men's tennis (Federer had been just one week short when he lost the number one ranking in June 2010).[297] At the beginning of the third set, the play was halted by rain, and the roof which had been installed in 2009 was closed for the first time during the Wimbledon final.

2012 US Open finalEdit

The 2012 US Open final pitted world No. 3 Andy Murray against world No. 2 and defending champion Djokovic in a Grand Slam tournament final for the second time. Murray defeated Djokovic in five sets to win the match. It was the equal-longest US Open men's final in history, lasting four hours and fifty-four minutes (equalling the 1988 US Open final played by Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander), and the equal second-longest men's final in the Open era, only behind the 2012 Australian Open final. With this win, Murray became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a Grand Slam singles title, and the first British man in the Open Era to do so.[298][299] This was the most famous match in the rivalry between the two players. It also marked a milestone for Murray, as it was his 100th match win at a Major.

This match featured the longest-ever first set (and the longest ever tiebreak) in a men's championship match. The 87-minute first set, won by Murray, included four breaks of serve in the first four games of the match, a 54-shot rally in the sixth game, and the 24-minute tiebreak which lasted up until 12–10. Additionally, the tiebreak included two 30-shot rallies. Murray required six set points to win the first set and required five sets to win the match.[citation needed]

2013 French Open semi-finalEdit

The 2013 French Open Men's singles semi-final was a rematch of the prior year's final between Nadal and Djokovic. Just weeks after that victory, Nadal went on a lengthy injury hiatus of over seven months before his highly successful return, reaching the final of all eight tournaments he entered and winning six titles. However, one of those losses was to Djokovic in Monte Carlo, ending Nadal's record streak of eight consecutive titles there. Djokovic was very motivated to win this match, having said winning his first French Open title was his highest priority of 2013,[300] plus his desire to dedicate the title in honor of his recently deceased childhood tennis coach.[301]

The match was a see-saw five-setter with Nadal prevailing 9–7 in the fifth after four hours and thirty-seven minutes. Analyst Steve Tignor summed it up: "This epic was a mirror image of their last one, in the 2012 Australian Open final. That day it had been Nadal who had survived a near-death experience in the fourth set, won it in a tiebreaker, and taken a 4–2 lead in the fifth before watching Djokovic storm back for the title. Today it was Nole who broke Rafa at 3–4 in the fourth and again at 5–6, grabbed that set in a tiebreaker and led 4–2 in the fifth before watching Nadal take it all away. In each of those matches, the loser was haunted by a stunning, crucial lapse. In Australia, with a chance to go up 5–2 in the fifth, Nadal had missed the easiest of backhand passing shots. In Paris, serving at 4–3 in the final set, Djokovic gave away a point when he ran into the net after hitting what would have been a winning overhead."[302]

Numerous tennis pundits and legends including Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, Björn Borg, Boris Becker, and John McEnroe claimed this was the greatest clay-court match to ever take place in tennis history. ESPN commentator Chris Fowler and Patrick McEnroe even echoed this very remark during the broadcast of this match.

2013 Wimbledon Championships finalEdit

The 2013 Wimbledon final pitted the top two players in the world, Djokovic and Andy Murray against each other for the fourth time in a Grand Slam tournament final. After three hours and nine minutes, second-seeded Murray defeated world No. 1 Djokovic in three sets to win the match. With this win, Murray became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the Wimbledon title, the first Scottish man since Harold Mahony in 1896 to win the title, and the first British man in the Open Era to do so.[303]

2014 Wimbledon Championships finalEdit

The 2014 Wimbledon final was a significant part of the Djokovic–Federer rivalry as it pitted the two against each other in a Grand Slam tournament final for the second time. After three hours and 56 minutes, top-seeded Djokovic defeated fourth-seeded Federer 6–4 in the fifth set to win the match. By winning, Djokovic not only won for the second time but also reclaimed the world number one ranking from Nadal after the tournament.[304] He also stopped a losing run in Grand Slam tournament finals, having lost his last three and five of his last six. Meanwhile, with his run to the final and showing in the final that he is still a major contender even at the age of 32, Federer returned to the top three ranking positions after a lengthy period in the 5–8 range. Federer had been going for his 80th career tour title, 18th Major victory and his 8th Wimbledon title.

2016 French Open finalEdit

The 2016 French Open final was the first time in nearly two decades that number one played number two and neither had won the French Open previously. Andy Murray had a career resurgence on clay, making deep runs in the Masters tournaments prior to the French Open, finishing runner-up to Djokovic in Madrid before defeating him in Rome. Rain had affected the tournament schedule, and in Djokovic's case, he had to play four matches in five days. Murray was playing to become the first Brit since 1937 to win, while Djokovic had multiple historical records on the line, most notably joining the elite group of men who have won a career Grand Slam and joining Rod Laver and Don Budge as the only men to hold all four major titles at the same time. After Murray took the first set, Djokovic rallied to win the match prevailing in four sets.

2016 ATP World Tour Finals championship matchEdit

Djokovic and Murray met for the first time since the aforementioned French Open final in the championship match of the season-concluding ATP World Tour Finals in London in November. Of the five meetings (all in championship matches) that took place between the pair in 2016, this one had added significance, as for the first time in tournament history, the winner of the match would become the year-end number one.[305][306] The stakes were high in Djokovic's case, as a win would have seen him win his fifth consecutive year-end title, and sixth overall (matching the record held by Federer). Murray, on the other hand, was shooting for his first year-end title, having qualified for the championship match for the first time.[307] Ultimately, Murray won in straight sets, ensuring he ended the year ranked world number one, and also becoming the first man other than Djokovic, Federer or Nadal to finish the year at the top of the rankings since Andy Roddick in 2003.[308]

2017 Australian Open finalEdit

Federer and Nadal met in a major final for the first time since the French Open in 2011. The match between the perennial but aging archrivals was anticipated due to speculation of this possibly being their last contest in a major final, the potential tennis history made from either victory and subsequent implications on their respective legacies, and the match's relevance towards discussing either man as being 'the greatest tennis player of all time'.[309][310][311][312][313][314] Federer triumphed in five sets despite being a break down early in the deciding fifth set. This was the first time Federer won a major since Wimbledon in 2012, the first time he defeated Nadal at a major since the Wimbledon final of 2007, and the first time that Federer defeated Nadal in a Grand Slam tournament match outside the grass courts of Wimbledon. With this win, Federer increased his all-time record to 18 major titles, became the oldest man to win a Grand Slam, at age 35, since Ken Rosewall at the Australian Open in 1972, and became the first-ever man to win at least five singles titles in three different Grand Slam tournaments each.

2018 Wimbledon Championships semi-finalEdit

Nadal and Djokovic met in the semi-finals of 2018 Wimbledon, their first meeting at a Grand Slam singles tournament in three years. This match was significant as Djokovic had the opportunity to reach his first major final since 2016, after having struggled with form and an elbow injury for the past two years, while Nadal was looking to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2011, having not even passed the fourth round at Wimbledon since that year. Due to the six-and-half-hour long first semi-final between John Isner and Kevin Anderson, the match did not start until after 8:00 pm local time and was played over two days as a result of an 11:00 pm curfew in force at Wimbledon. After five hours and fifteen minutes, the second-longest Wimbledon semi-final in history after the aforementioned Isner-Anderson match, Djokovic prevailed 10–8 in the fifth set.

2019 Wimbledon Championships finalEdit

At Wimbledon 2019, Djokovic and Federer contested the final. This was the third final between the pair after Djokovic won in 2014 and 2015. Djokovic defeated Federer in four hours and fifty-seven minutes; overtaking the 2008 final as the longest Wimbledon final in history. It was also the second-longest major final in history after the 2012 Australian Open final and was the first Wimbledon final to be decided by a fifth set tiebreak at 12 games all. Notably, Federer held two match points when serving at 8–7 in the final set but could not convert them.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

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