20 years, 60 titles, 3 players, 1 current leader
When you have three tennis players, playing in the same era, who have 60 Grand Slam titles between them, comparisons are inevitable. The debate as to who is the greatest of all times (GOAT) shall have to be tackled elsewhere, but what does a break-up of the past 21 years show about the standing of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic?
In the first phase, between 2001 and 2005 (both years included), the trio were just beginning to make their mark, and won a mere seven (Federer — six; Nadal – one) of the 20 Grand Slam titles on offer. Djokovic only started playing Grand Slams in 2005. Federer won his first title in 2003, and Nadal in 2005. But it can be said that the former was dominant because no one else won as many titles.
In the second phase, between 2006 and 2010, Federer and Nadal dominated, winning 18 of 20 titles. Of this, Federer won 10 and Nadal, eight. Djokovic won only one (his first), in 2008.
In the third phase, between 2011 and 2015, it was Djokovic and Nadal’s turn; they won 14 of the 20 titles on offer. Of this, Djokovic was dominant, winning nine to Nadal’s five. Federer won only one title.
And in the fourth phase, the six years starting 2016, of the 22 titles on offer (there was no Wimbledon last year, and the US Open will be held later this year), the three have won 19 titles, with Djokovic winning 10, Nadal, six, and Federer, three.
So, Federer dominated the first five years; he and Nadal completely dominated the second five; then it was the turn of Nadal and Djokovic; and finally, over the past six years, it has been Djokovic largely, although neither Nadal nor Federer have done too badly. Interestingly, over the last four years, of the 14 titles on offer, Djokovic has won eight, Nadal, four, and Federer, one — numbers that speak for themselves. Since 2011, there has been a clear leader in this race of three greats.
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