With three of the four Grand Slams of the year in the books, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, who were so incredibly dominant in 2016, have passed the torch back to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have been so incredibly dominant so far in 2017.
Federer and Nadal have swept those first three majors, after all - Federer edged Nadal for the Australian Open title, Nadal stormed to the French Open title without losing a set, then Federer did the same thing at Wimbledon, storming to the title at the All-England Club without losing a set.
But beyond their individual successes, they’ve done something bigger picture - they’ve maintained the Big Four’s dominance of the tour, after an almost seamless hand-off at the beginning of 2017.
The Big Four has now won 45 of the last 50 Grand Slams. That stretch dates back to the 2005 French Open - since then, Federer has won 15 (of his 19) majors, Nadal has won 15 majors, Djokovic has won 12 majors and Murray has won three majors. Only three players have broken through the Big Four’s Grand Slam-winning wall - Juan Martin del Potro (2009 US Open), Marin Cilic (2014 US Open) and Stan Wawrinka (2014 Australian Open, 2015 French Open and 2016 US Open).
And only one of the last 50 major finals didn’t have a member of the Big Four - the 2014 US Open:
The Big Four’s dominance of the Grand Slams isn’t their only dominant streak on the tour, either.
The Big Four has won 24 of the last 26 Masters 1000 tournaments. Since Cincinnati in 2014, just under three years ago, the only two times someone outside the Big Four has won a Masters 1000 tournament have been Cincinnati in 2016 (Cilic) and Rome earlier this year (Alexander Zverev).
The Big Four has held No.1 for more than 13 years. This week will be the 703rd week in a row someone in the Big Four has been No.1, a streak that began when Federer first rose to No.1 on February 2, 2004. Murray is currently spending his 37th straight week as the No.1 player in the world.
The Big Four hasn’t even let anyone else in the Top 2 in more than 12 years. The last player outside the Big Four to be in the Top 2 was Lleyton Hewitt, who was No.2 the week of July 18, 2005 - ever since Nadal joined Federer in the Top 2 on July 25, 2005, it’s been all Big Four in the Top 2.
Just to really feel how long ago it was that someone outside the Big Four was ranked in the Top 2 players in the world, here’s the No.1 song from when Hewitt spent his last week in the Top 2: