Will 2020 see a first time Grand Slam Champion?


Friday, November 29, 2019 9:21 AM UTC

Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 9:21 AM UTC

In one of the most dominant tennis eras in history, the "Big Four" era, can a new challenger rise to the occasion and capture their first Grand Slam title?


<p><i>The Majors, or "Grand Slams" as they are called, are seen the finest titles a tennis player can win. Only the illustrious few manage this feat throughout their career &amp; even fewer capture several trophies. In one of the most dominant tennis eras in history, the "Big Four" era, can a new challenger rise to the occasion and capture their first Grand Slam title?</i></p><div><h2><b>The Grand Slams</b></h2><p>The term "Grand Slam" which is usually referencing just one of these four Majors, is actually the term defining winning all four in one calendar year. A total of four tournaments are played yearly, that hold much greater importance than the rest for both players, fans and most people involved with tennis. Not only is there near insurmountable amounts of prestige on the line, the tournaments also offer the most ranking points one can achieve(2000) along with lofty prize money and enormous media attention. Showing up and peaking at these gigantic occasions is what separates the wheat from the chaff, and played over the BO5 sets format on the Men´s side just adds to the tension &amp; drama surrounding these classic events.<br /><br />Those are the Majors, which are played in four different countries, on three different continents and on three different surfaces. Every Major year starts in January with the Australian Open in Melbourne on outdoor hard court, with Roland Garros in May on Parisian clay to follow. Over the summer clay becomes grass and the oldest Major in Wimbledon takes place in London in July. Lastly, US Open on outdoor hard takes place in New York as late August comes around, and wraps up the year for the four colossals.</p><h2><b>Four too many</b></h2><p>As far as Women´s tennis is concerned, who emerges on top in the Majors is truly a difficult thing to predict these days, as the elite is quite evenly matched. In the last three years, the 12 Majors have had 12 different women emerging victorious, truly showcasing the depth at the highest level, and perhaps lack of a true dominating Queen. On the Men´s side however, there have been a handful of players crowned kings, and we´re currently amidst one of the most dominant eras in ATP tennis. Known as the "Big Four", the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have been near unstoppable, nearing a subscription status on both the top spots in the rankings - along with Major title glory. Though the latter has battled with injury as of late and fallen off the peak, the Big Three remain.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;The big 3 have become inseparable in the tennis world. Whenever one achieves something others are also being talked about. &lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Nadal has won the &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/USOpen?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#USOpen&lt;/a&gt; and Federer and Djokovic are also trending.. 🔥🔥 &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/USOpenFinals?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#USOpenFinals&lt;/a&gt; Medvedev&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Roger -20, Rafa-19 ❤💪, Novak - 16&lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/mondaythoughts?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#mondaythoughts&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/y2R1XqZeZd\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/y2R1XqZeZd&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Dr sunny (@sunnynoons) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/sunnynoons/status/1170894066529103872?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;September 9, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><p>Since Nadal burst onto the scene with a Roland Garros title in 2005, the Big Four have completely dominated proceedings. In the 58 Majors following that maiden triumph, only <b>five</b> have been won by a non-Big four member, and only three have been first time triumphs. For the last three years, <b>all twelve </b>Major titles have been won by a Big Three member. As for the first time triumphs, most have come at the US Open, where Juan Martin Del Potro won a maiden title in 2009, along with Marin Cilic winning the title in 2014. Stanislas Wawrinka captured the Australian Open title as his maiden in 2014, and followed it up with Roland Garros a year later, with a US Open title in 2016. The inability for any outsider to break down these legends of the game over Best of Five sets speaks volumes to their dominant reign. However, Federer is 38 years old and slowly but surely declining. 32-year old Djokovic can have spells of indifference and has struggled as of late with elbow injuries. Nadal is no young gun himself, 33 years of age and also quite injury prone. So all hope is not lost for those trying to take over.</p><h2><b>The prime candidates</b></h2><p>Currently, there are three players that distinguish themselves as the prime candidates outside of the Big Three(or even Big Four if Murray´s miraculous comeback trail takes him back to the peak) to score an illustrious Major title in 2020:<br /><br /><i><u>Dominic Thiem(4)</u></i><br /><br />Dubbed as "The Prince of Clay", Thiem is the oldest and most established player outside of the Big Three, and has two consecutive runner-up appearances in Roland Garros in his locker. Adding unprecedented success off the dirt, such as defeating Roger Federer to clinch Indian Wells, along with two more titles on hard court - his game has truly reached the next level. Upsetting both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on indoor hard court at the ATP Finals, the 26-year old Austrian will be a threat in all four Majors next year.<br /><br /><i><u>Daniil Medvedev(5)</u></i><br /><br />One that made his massive breakthrough this season was Daniil Medvedev. Entering the Top-10, the 23-year old Russian put together a scintillating 59-21 win/loss record. His summer surge will be what was remembered from the 2019 season, where Medvedev during a 2.5 month period reached <b>six consecutive finals</b>, which gave him three titles. Two of those were Masters 1000, and the lanky big hitter has showcased the ability to win in multiple ways, often opting to grind down his opponents. Reaching the 2019 US Open Final, the Russian came as close as anyone has in recent years to dethrone a Big Three member, coming back from two sets down to hold 3 break points for a 2-1 lead on Rafael Nadal in the deciding set.<br /><br /><i><u>Stefanos Tsitsipas(6)</u></i><br /><br />The fierce rival of the Russian just mentioned has had an equally scintillating year. Breaking into the Top-10 and reaching his 2019 goal of a Major semifinal at the first attempt at the Australian Open, Stefanos Tsitsipas has made this year a special one. While titles above the two he earned at 250 level had eluded the 21-year old Greek for large parts of the season, he made three finals. A competitor who loves the big occasion, Tsitsipas saved his very best for last, compiling an incredible run at his first visit to the ATP Finals. Coming back from a set down to defeat Rafael Nadal along with a second triumph over Roger Federer would go a long way towards hoisting the trophy after defeating Dominic Thiem after an epic battle the final.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;The Next Gen Are Coming! Big wins by these boys in 2019 &amp;amp; alot of high expectations for 2020. Will any of these guys achieve Grand Slam glory next season? 🔥🎾🏆 &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/NextGen?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#NextGen&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/Meddy?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#Meddy&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/Domi?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#Domi&lt;/a&gt; #Stef#DaniilMedvedev &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/StefanosTsitsipas?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#StefanosTsitsipas&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/DominicThiem?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#DominicThiem&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/ATPWorldTour?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#ATPWorldTour&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tennis?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#Tennis&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/AustralianOpen?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#AustralianOpen&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/KFdE5JeqAO\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/KFdE5JeqAO&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— TSH Tennis (@TSH_Tennis) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/TSH_Tennis/status/1199043764666454018?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;November 25, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><h2><b>An inevitability</b></h2><p>Apart from the three biggest contenders mentioned, there are also young stars such as Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini and Next Gen talents such as Denis Shapovalov and Jannik Sinner who will want to have their say. So, will someone dethrone the Big Three in 2020? I don´t think so. Novak Djokovic usually saves his very best tennis for the Majors, whilst Rafael Nadal is lethal on every surface, and especially dangerous after a year of mostly full fitness. While Roger Federer is slowly declining, the Swiss Maestro has shown his class when needed to, and still packs a punch too heavy for most, especially on grass. Looking at the 2020 schedule, it´s tough to look past Djokovic for Australian Open, Nadal to pick up a 13th Roland Garros title, Federer to take his perhaps last chance to better his 8 trophies at Wimbledon - and Djokovic or Nadal to reign supreme at the Us Open. However, the reign of Big Three dominance is slowly but surely coming to an end, and many young guns will throw themselves at them with all their might in order to reign supreme. While perhaps not next year, it´s only a matter of time that we see a new man crowned a Grand Slam Champion.</p></div>
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