When remarkable Roger Federer won the 2003 Wimbledon title, little did we know at the time that this triumph would usher in a whole new era of men’s singles champions, as the careers of American legends like Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras began to fade. Likewise, the Swiss icon would be joined by two other phenomenal talents from Europe, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic soon rising to prominence in the Grand Slam scene. Since 2003, those three players have been the dominant force in men’s tennis. Federer has won 20 Grand Slam titles, Nadal has equalled that benchmark of 20 since his first French Open triumph in 2005, while Djokovic is on 17 with the 2008 Australian Open acting as the
springboard for his rise to fame.
According to the latest 2021 Australian Open odds, Djokovic is already the firm favourite to win his 18th career Grand Slam in Melbourne. The Serbian has won the title 8 times, Federer won 7 of his 20 Grand Slams there, while Nadal has triumphed just once at the Rod Laver Arena, back in 2009 following a titanic encounter with Federer.
Between them, this trio of magnificent players has won 57 of 71 possible Grand Slam titles since 2003. During the same period of time, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka could only manage three Grand Slam titles apiece, while other talented players were only one-hit wonders on the biggest stages in tennis, such as Juan Martín del Potro and Marin ?ili?.
Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic continued their firm grip on Grand Slam titles between 2017 and 2019, although, in 2020, that dominance was finally broken. While Djokovic won the Australian Open again, and Nadal was once more unbeatable at the French Open, the Wimbledon Championship was cancelled, and Dominic Thiem swept to victory at the US
Were it not for a certain trio of superstars being around at the same time, Thiem could well have been the dominant force on the Grand Slam scene. The 27-year-old Austrian had already reached the final of the French Open twice in 2018 and 2019, along with the final of the Australian Open in 2020, losing out to Nadal and Djokovic, respectively.
Nevertheless, Thiem is widely considered to be the player most likely to enjoy some Grand Slam dominance of his own over the next few years. His confidence will undoubtedly be high after winning the 2020 US Open, which sets him up nicely for the first Grand Slam tournament of 2021 in Melbourne, as the Rod Laver Arena awaits the very best players in the final.
Despite the fact that Djokovic is expected to dominate again in Australia, and Thiem could prove the main challenger for the Serbian star, aside from the presence of Nadal and Federer, several other talents will be aiming for glory. Keep an eye on the Russian duo of Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, along with German player Alexander Zverev, who was beaten by Thiem in the 2020 US Open final.
Other great young prospects include 22-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who has already featured in the top five ATP rankings, along with 21-year-old Denis Shapovalov, the Canadian attracting plenty of attention with his performances. Despite the sunset approaching for Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, a new era is dawning for the next generation of tennis superstars, all of whom are eager to take their steps into the Grand Slam limelight.