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Tennis' big four

Posted 09-12-2012 at 03:49 PM by Philip Oliver
We are, indeed, lucky to be in the era of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. Not only because they are all so jaw-droppingly good, which of course they are, but also because there are precisely four of them.

If there were just three dominating the scene, it would be perhaps just half as exciting – three match-up combination possibilities instead of six. Only two slugging out Slam after Slam would become pretty boring pretty quickly and just one man winning everything would be a real drag, however good he was.

On the other hand, too many in the mix can be wearisome, too. Look at the women’s game. We have had five first-time winners of women’s Grand Slams in the past two years and not many people, outside the die-hard tennis fans, could tell you that Anastasia Myskina, Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova have been ranked world number one in recent times. Apart from when Serena Williams is on song, women’s tennis never sets the pulses racing the way the men’s game does.

No, four is just right and it’s good for punters, too, with bookies going about 3-1 the field in the Slams.

Eventually, of course, this quadropoly (for want of a real world) will run its course and others will join the party. The likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer and Juan Martin del Potro (the last man outside of the Big Four to win a Slam back in 2009) have so far been unable to break the door down, but there is a new wave of exciting young players emerging, headed by the 21-year-old Canadian powerhouse, Milos Raonic, who has bulleted up the world rankings in the past 18 months from outside the top 150 to inside the top 16.

His turn will surely come. But in the meantime, just sit back and enjoy.

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