Sub-par for what? The way I see it there are a few general things the 'sub-par' could refer to:-
- Quality of tennis played. This is the obvious one. Seemingly though, it is not what a lot of people immediately think when confronted with the thought. There is no necessary connection between the distribution of success in men's tennis and the quality of tennis. It takes a further step beyond just stating, "the top three dominate etc...", to also state that this is in some sense constitutes a poor quality of tennis. The two are separate claims and must be treated as such. Nor does the deviation of style of play from a fans preferred style constitute poor quality. It simply means there is evolution of tennis (in a value-neutral sense, evolution need be neither good nor bad, but it's existence is pretty undeniable) from one style having success to another. Whilst judgements can be made about quality of tennis played, arguments which infer from distribution of success to a conclusion about quality of tennis are flawed because within any distribution of success, the quality of tennis may fluctuate, this is demonstrable.
- Quality of Drama/Distribution of Success. I have grouped these two together because they seem to be deeply connected for fans. Both those who enjoy this era of top heavy distribution (which creates 'mega-matches' between players with 5+ slams each) and those who hate it's lack of surprises conflate the two. However, although having ones preferred distribution of power may be nice, there is no real way to link it to being above or below par. This is a subjective preference, not a label of quality.
- Other/Intangible Qualities. Well, there is little to be argued for or against on this count. If posters wish to argue that there is some other way by which to measure quality, or some intangible factor which is lacked by the current crop, they can specify it or be subject to scepticism. I personally don't feel there is much else it could come down to which hasn't been mentioned but I am open to new suggestions. In lieu of that though, I hope the above is a reasonable guide as to the uselessness of attempting to draw a conclusion which is in any way legitimate, from states of affairs relating to distribution of success, which seems to the most common argument being bandied around in this thread.
Best post I have read in a while, flawless reasoning. Thread doesnt need any more inputs after this one.