The trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are commonly referred to as The Big Three. They have been the most successful men’s singles players for the last two decades. Among the three Rafa holds the all-time total titles record at 22. Whereas Djokovic has 21 titles, winning the most recent at the 2022 Wimbledon Open. The Swiss tennis legend has 20 titles.
Since the 2003 Australian Open, the Big Three have dominated men’s singles, winning 62 of the past 77 Grand Slam titles up to the 2022 French Open. Since 2006, only six players have defeated the Big Three to win a Grand Slam title.
Since 2006, only six men (Del Potro, Murray, Wawrinka, Cilic, Thiem and Medvedev) have won Grand Slams apart from the Big 3 😮
The GOAT era of tennis ♥️ pic.twitter.com/a7VEmBspF5
— Luigi Gatto (@gigicat7_) July 11, 2022
Pointing out this wondrous statistics, a Twitter user shared, “Since 2006, only six men (Del Potro, Murray, Wawrinka, Cilic, Thiem and Medvedev) have won Grand Slams apart from the Big 3. The GOAT era of tennis.”
British tennis player Andy Murray, Daniil Medvedev, Stan Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Marin Čilić and Juan Martín del Potro are the only other tennis players to have won a Major title other than the Big 3.
Daniil Medvedev vs Novak Djokovic – US Open final, 2021
Daniil Medvedev triumphed over Novak Djokovic in the 2021 US Open final, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to win the men’s singles tennis title. The American Grand Slam title is Medvedev’s only major title till date.
After winning the title Daniil said, “You never know if you’re going to achieve [winning a major] in your career. I was always saying if I don’t, I just want to know that I did my best to do it.”
He added, “[I feel] a lot of happiness. That’s my first Grand Slam. I don’t know how I’m going to feel if I win a second one or third one. That’s my first one, so I’m really happy. Means a lot to me.”
Djokovic was trying to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in one season and break a tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most major titles in history (20 each).
However, Medvedev played calm, patient tennis to become the 3rd Russian man to earn Slam glory, joining Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin.
Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic – US Open final, 2012
Andy Murray defeated then the defending champion Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2012 US Open, 7–6(12–10), 7–5, 2–6, 3–6, 6–2 to win the men’s singles tennis title. The win was Murray’s first major title.
After winning the title, Andy said, “I was obviously very emotional. I cried a little bit on the court. It was an incredibly tough match. Relief is probably the word I would use describe how I’m feeling just now.”
He added, “Mentally, the last three, four days have been pretty tiring. When the conditions have been like they have been, you need to focus so hard on almost every shot because the ball is very hard to control.”
The final lasted 4 hours and 54 minutes in the Arthur Ashe Court. The match equalled the record of US Open final duration in the Open Era. The Scotsman became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a major title.
Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic – Wimbledon Open final, 2013
Novak Djokovic again faced defeat at the hands of Andy Murray at a Grand Slam final in 2013 when he lost the Wimbledon Open. In the previous year he lost the US Open final to he Scotsman.
Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2013 Wimbledon Open final, 6–4, 7–5, 6–4 to win the singles tennis title at the All England Club. He became the first British man to win the English Grand Slam singles title since Fred Perry in 1936, ending a 77-year drought. He also became the first British winner in singles since Virginia Wade won the women’s event in 1977.
Juan Martín del Potro vs Roger Federer – US Open final, 2009
Juan Martín del Potro won his first Grand Slam men’s singles title at the 2009 US Open, defeating five-time defending champion Roger Federer in a five-set thriller.
The Argentinian defeated the five-time defending champion Roger Federer in the final, 3–6, 7–6(7–5), 4–6, 7–6(7–4), 6–2 to win the men’s singles tennis title. He became the first Argentine man to win the title since Guillermo Vilas in 1977.
Del Potro said, “It was so difficult to keep trying to fight. But the crowd and the fans helped me a lot until the last point.”
He added, “I just want to live this moment. Of course I will be in the history of tennis. That’s amazing for me. I have new opportunities in the other Grand Slams to win because if I did it here beating Nadal and Federer and other good players, maybe I can do it once more time.”
Stan Wawrinka vs Rafael Nadal – Australia Open final, 2014
In the 2014 Australia Open final, Stan Wawrinka defeated Rafael Nadal, 6–3, 6–2, 3–6, 6–3 to win the men’s singles tennis title. It was the Swiss’ first major title and with this win, he became the first man outside the Big Four to win a major since Juan Martín del Potro won the 2009 US Open.
Stan said, “I still think that I’m dreaming. It’s a strange feeling. I saw so many finals. I always try to watch the finals of Grand Slams because that’s where the best players are playing.”
He added, “Before today, for me it wasn’t a dream. I never expected to play a final. I never expected to win a Grand Slam. And right now I just did it.”
Attempting to become the third man to complete a double career Grand Slam, Nadal was stopped by Wawrinka.
Stan Wawrinka vs Novak Djokovic – French Open final, 2015 and US Open final, 2016
In 2015, Stan Wawrinka triumphed over Novak Djokovic to win the French Open title. He defeated Nole, 4–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4 to win the men’s singles tennis and it was Wawrinka’s second major title.
Stan said, “It’s just my career. It’s quite strange when I tell myself that I have a gold medal, a Davis Cup, and I have two Grand Slam. Something quite amazing. Never expect to be that far in my career. Never expect to be that strong.”
Wawrinka defeated the defending champion Novak Djokovic in the final, 6–7(1–7), 6–4, 7–5, 6–3 to win the men’s singles tennis title at the 2016 US Open. It was his third Grand Slam title. On all the three occasions he defeated the world No. 1 player in the final to win his major titles.
He said, “My goal is to give everything I have to be the best I can. I never had a goal to win a Grand Slam but I am trying as best I can. Match after match I was playing better.”