With the start of a tennis grand slam, (in this case, Wimbledon), comes the predictions and articles about the supposed big four of men’s tennis. The “big four” includes all-time gland slam winner, (17), Roger Federer. Twelve time slam winner, Rafael Nadal. Six time slam winner, and the man who has finished the last two seasons ranked number one, Novak Djokavic. And one time slam champion, Andy Murray. Humm. What is wrong with this picture?
It would seem to me that one member of this quartet’s accomplishments is significantly less than the others.
In baseball, we do not compare a relief pitcher with one great season of saves to Mariano Rivera. Joe Flacco is still not being put in the class of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning because he quarterbacked his team to a Superbowl win.
Murray finally started maximizing his potential with his U.S. Open and Olympic gold last year. That hardly puts him in the class of the other three. (Mind you the big four moniker began prior to those wins for Murray, which was even more ridiculous.)
Federer for sure, and Nadal arguably, are on the Mt. Rushmore of tennis. Djokavic has potential to get there and has accomplished enough to currently be mentioned as part of a big three.
Murray is a fabulous player who you can even call great. But he has not has a stretch of dominance, either by tournament wins or number one ranking, that remotely compares to the big three. While he is clearly the best of the rest, (a group that includes David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) it is still grossly pre-mature to include Murray in the tier of the big three.
Should Murray capture a couple of slams this year and finish number one than we can have a conversation about it. Until then it is Roger, Rafa, Novac and everybody else.