The Big Four
World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic has just completed an incredible year in 2015 where he won 3 of the 4 Grand Slam championships. He missed out on a Grand Slam by losing in the French Open final. This was his 10th career Grand Slam title in 18 finals so his record is 10–8 in the finals.
Everyone has described this era’s best players as the Big Four which includes Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. After you see the statistics I’m about to unveil I think you will agree with me that it’s really a misnomer because it’s really more like the Big 3 1/2.
Grand Slam Records
Let’s begin with the simple overall record for each player in the Big Four Grand Slam tournaments:
As you can see, Federer leads the pack with 17 titles and 10 losses.
Nadal has 14 titles in 20 tries and Djokovic just reached double digits with 10th title against 8 defeats.
Murray has 2 titles with 6 losses in the finals.
Nadal has the best win percentage in the finals with 70% but if we were to look at recent performances then Djokovic is clearly ahead of them all. Federer has not won a title since Wimbledon 2012 vs Murray, Nadal has not won since French Open 2014 and Murray nothing since Wimbledon 2013. Djokovic has won 9 of the last 20 Grand Slams and played in 15 of the 20 finals!
Head to Head
Once again Nadal has the clear lead in head-to-head matchups. He is the only one with a winning record against everyone else. However, the gap between him and Novak has been narrowing more and more over the years. For example, Djokovic has beaten Nadal 6 of the last 7 times they’ve faced each other.
Bringing up the rear, once again, is Murray with an abysmal record versus the other three at 35% (26–48 record).
Number One Ranking Comparisons
Let’s look at each player’s dominance of the sport by examining their number of weeks at the top. This is a good indicator of each player’s excellence versus their contemporaries.
Federer 302 weeks (Number 1 of all-time)
Djokovic 164 weeks and counting
Nadal 141 weeks
Murray 0 weeks (He reached number 2 in 2009)
Let’s begin with Andy Murray because, well, he’s never actually reached the number one ranking. The closest he has ever come is number two in 2009 and he’s currently ranked number 3 behind Federer at 2 and Djokovic at number one. Nadal is currently 8.
Roger Federer clearly has the lead in the category because he is the all-time leader in number of weeks at the summit with an amazing 302 weeks. He also has the record for the longest streak of consecutive weeks at the top with 237! I think it’s safe to say Nadal won’t ever catch Roger but Djokovic very well could if he continues to play like he’s playing now.
Here’s a look at all of the number one players in history
Here’s a list of the longest streaks at the top.
Here’s a breakdown of each player’s statistics in all of the Grand Slams starting with the best right now:
Rafael Nadal (Nadal won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics)
Andy Murray (Won Gold Medal at 2012 Olympics vs Federer)
It’s too early to judge who’s the greatest player of this era but Djokovic clearly has the best chance of finishing on top of this group when all is said and done. Personally, my favorite is Nadal by far. I am still hoping that he will regain his championship form and win a few more titles but I am worried that it might be the end for him. There has been too many injuries due to the punishing style of play that he has always demonstrated. He also does not dedicate himself to the same level of diet and physical fitness as Novak does (who could?). Federer continues to amaze everyone at his age by making the finals of Majors but he has not won a title since 2012. As for Andy Murray, he has achieved his lifelong dream of winning Wimbledon and added the Gold Medal (vs Federer) at the Olympics held in his own country in 2012 only a month after losing in the finals to Federer in Wimbledon. I don’t see Murray winning anymore Majors.
On a side note, Stan Wawrinka has won as many Grand Slam titles as Murray with 2. He defeated Nadal at the Australian and Djokovic at the French. He’s 30 so he really can’t win too many titles and join the big three.