Since 2008, when Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open the domination of the Big 3 truly started. Twelve years on the 3 greats have won 40 of the 48 Slams played. Such has been their stronghold on the major tournaments that only 4 other players have managed to become Grand Slam champions in these 12 years. We look at those 4 players and the Slams they won.
In 2009 US Open Argentina’s Jaun Martin del Potro, just 21 years of age stunned the tennis world by lifting his 1st Grand Slam title. The great Argentina affectionately called as Tower of Tandil did it the heroic way. He defeated Marin Čilić in the quarter-final before dominating the then World Number 2 Rafa Nadal in a 3 set victory.
In the final, del Potro was up against the 5 time defending champion Roger Federer. The Argentine however brought the best out of himself downing the World Number 1 in 5 thrilling sets. This has been del Potro’s only slam success yet mainly due to him persistent injury problems.
3. Marin Čilić
This was one of the most surprising Slam finals in the Open Era. Marin Čilić of Croatia who was seeded 14th came out to lift the trophy defeating Japan’s Kei Nishikori. Čilić had earlier defeated Federer in the semi-final while Nishikori had beaten the then World Number 1 and tournament favorite Novak Djokovic in the other semi-final match.
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This was the 1st Grand Slam final for both the players and Čilić won it in straight sets. The Croat has since then not been able to taste similar success. He did make to two more Slam finals in Wimbledon 2017 and Australian Open 2018 but on both the occasions finished runner-up to Roger Federer.
Stan Wawrinka’s 3 Grand Slam titles have come on 3 different tournaments but all against a member of the Big 3 and the then World Number 1. The Stanimal as he is famously called won his 1st Grand Slam in 2014 Australian Open defeating Rafa Nadal, who was an overwhelming favorite in the finals.
In 2015 Roland Garros he would then deny the then World Number 1 Novak Djokovic a Career Grand Slam that year by pulling of a great upset in 4 sets. Wawrinka had already defeated his co-patriot Roger Federer in the quarter-final.
More glory for Wawrinka flew in the 2016 US Open when he displayed his hitting power to against down Novak Djokovic in the final and lift a 3rd Grand Slam trophy.
1. Andy Murray
If any player has been able to stand closest to the Big 3 last last 15 years, it is Britain’s Andy Murray. He is the only player to have become World Number except the Big 3 in last 15 years. Murray has won 3 Grand Slams and lost in 8 finals to either member of the Big 3.
Murray’s 1st Slam success came in New York in the 2012 US Open, few months after his heartbreaking defeat to Federer in 2012 Wimbledon Championships. Murray defeated the then World Number 1 Novak Djokovic in the US Open final in a 5 set classic.
Success would follow in 2013 at his home turf on the lawns of Wimbledon where he was left teary-eyed 12 months ago. Murray defeated Novak Djokovic again, this time in 3 straight sets. Murray repeated his Wimbledon heroics in 2016 against Canada’s Milos Raonic in the final. In addition to the 3 Grand Slam titles, Murray also has 2 Olympics singles Gold Medals to his name.