Tennis

Will 2022 be the end of the big three?

Fun fact – since the 2003 Australian Open, 80% of Grand Slam titles have been won by someone named Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic. This is domination like we have never seen before. Of course, each is a true legend of the game, but is this legacy now being challenged? That’s what I’d like to take a look at right now. 

In 2020, we saw Dominic Thiem win the US Open. This was the only 2020 slam won by someone other than the big three. And in 2021, Daniil Medvedev managed to step up and win the US Open. This was the only guy to win a slam who wasn’t named Novak Djokovic in 2021! In the three years prior to 2020, 12 slams were all shared between the big three. But now that we’ve seen two new winners emerge, is this period coming to an end?

Let’s find out.

Challenges facing the big three in 2022

To create the clearest picture possible, I’m going to look at top challengers for each slam. In addition, I’m going to briefly assess their chances of winning. It’s all very interesting, so just keep reading for full details.

Djokovic

Australian Open

Amazingly, Novak Djokovic will be going for his 10th Australian Open in January 2022. That in itself would be just ridiculous. But after the 2021 US Open, he has some serious competition. There are two guys who I feel are a serious threat to his reign here – Zverev and Medvedev. Zverev beat Djokovic at the Olympics, and Medvedev beat him in the US Open final. One of them could definitely have a great day and take him down.

French Open

Although Djokovic won the 2021 French Open, this is still the home of Rafael Nadal. Nadal has been injured for most of the 2021 season, however, and he may struggle to get back up there. And if we look at the last few years, we have Dominic Thiem, an amazing clay court player. We also have guys like Tsitsipas who was actually leading Djokovic by 2-0 in sets this year. These are my top two picks to end the streak at the French.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon was previously dominated by Federer until Djokovic moved up and became the king. But to be perfectly honest, I can’t see anyone touching Djokovic on grass. There are no obvious breakthrough players for the grass-court game, unlike clay and hard court surfaces. I’d say the most dangerous here is Berrettini, but he’s not quite as consistent in terms of form as the big three.

US Open

The US Open has been the most promising slam in recent years, for those outside of the big three. The last two years have been one by Thiem and Medvedev. This shows that the big three’s grip on the US Open has already slipped. The conditions at the US Open are perfect for big hitters to shine through too. Guys like Berrettini, Medvedev, Zverev, Alcaraz, Thiem, Sinner, Rublev and many others could take the 2022 title. 

So all in all, I really do believe that 2022 will be the time where the big three era starts to fade.

About the author

Gavin Davison

Gavin is a full-time copywriter based in the United Kingdom. He has previously played NCAA college tennis in the USA and competed in many international events throughout his younger days. He still plays competitively and follows both the ATP & WTA Tours closely. His favourite player is Roger Federer.

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