We’re now into the second year of a new decade, with a mixture of established names and new stars making the biggest impression so far. Rafael Nadal has equalled Roger Federer’s tally of 20 Grand Slams, Novak Djokovic has reached 18, and Austrian Dominic Thiem disrupted the status quo with a win at Flushing Meadows last year.
It’s likely that the balance between experience and youth will endure in the years to come, as established names begin to fade, and the new generation of players begin to make a bigger impression and lift the four major trophies.
But who were the biggest stars of the ten years preceding the start of the 20s? In this article, we’ll review the decade and identify the three best male players of the era, and document the Grand Slam tournaments they won over the course of a fascinating ten years for the sport.
3. Roger Federer – 5 Grand Slams
The Swiss star had already firmly established himself as one of the greatest of all time when the 2010s arrived, and he added to his tally throughout this ten-year period. He won the first Grand Slam of the decade with a triumph in the Australian Open.
Success at Wimbledon in 2012 would follow, where he’d deny Andy Murray, but he’d have to wait another five years before adding further to his tally. Second and third AO wins of the decade would follow in 2017 and 2018, alongside another Wimbledon win in ’17.
The latter victory in Australia remains Federer’s latest Grand Slam triumph. Now 39, the 20-time Grand Slam winner remains active on the Grand Slam Circuit and is 33/1 in the latest tennis betting odds to win this year’s French Open. Unsurprisingly, Nadal is set to continue his dominance in this tournament, with Federer expected to do little in this tournament.
The rest, as they say, is history ? pic.twitter.com/pJckIeBhTq
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) March 28, 2021
2. Rafael Nadal – 13 Grand Slams
Gaining ground on Federer’s tally throughout the last decade was the irrepressible Rafael Nadal, who amassed an incredible 13 Grand Slam titles in the 2010s. The Spaniard won three of the four major tournaments in the first year of the decade, with a quarter-final defeat in the Australian Open the only blip.
Nadal would take Grand Slam titles in each of the next four years, with consecutive victories in the French Open and a 2013 triumph at Flushing Meadows adding to the haul during the first part of the decade.
Five further Grand Slams would follow between 2017 and 2019, again consisting of victories in the US and French Open tournaments. Nadal was unable to add to his 2010 success at Wimbledon, however, while there was a final defeat on four occasions in the Australian Open.
1. Novak Djokovic – 15 Grand Slams
Incredibly, Nadal’s exploits in the 2010s were exceeded by another European star. Novak Djokovic won no fewer than 15 Grand Slam titles across the same decade, dominating proceedings and earning major titles in all but two years.
2010 was a barren year for the Croat, whose best return was a final appearance at the US Open, but he put that right the following year with victory at Wimbledon, as well as in Australia and the US.
Djokovic would win six of the ten AO titles available in the 2010s and take the top prize at Wimbledon on no fewer than five occasions. And his form has continued into the new decade, with some back-to-back wins down under helping to further his love affair with the tournament.
— New York Post (@nypost) February 21, 2021
Although British fans will forever remember the 2010s as the decade that Andy Murray finally broke the UK’s Wimbledon duck, the majority of the sport’s aficionados will instead treasure their memories of Nadal and Djokovic’s incredible haul of 28 Grand Slam titles between them.