Unlike their counterparts at the WTA, for male tennis players there were not many surprises in the past 10 years. Much of this was to do with the extreme dominance of the 3 greatest players ever known as the Big 3. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic took most of the honors in the last decade win a collective total of 33 of the 40 Slams contested in last 10 years. We look back at the 6 best players of last decade. Coincidentally only these 6 players have been able to win a singles Grand Slam in Men’s tennis during the decade.
6. Marin Cilic
The tall Croat started the decade on a high by reaching his maiden Slam semi-final at the Australian Open 2010 and consequently broke into the top 10 rankings. Though lacking in consistency Cilic kept improving year after year.
Eventually the best point of his career came at the US Open in 2014 when he became a Grand Slam champion, the only 2nd player from Croatia to win a Grand Slam. On his way to the US Open title Cilic also defeated Roger Federer in the semis.
Cilic also won a Masters 1000 title at Cincinnati in 2016. In 2017 he reached the final of Wimbledon and also achieved the same feat at the 2018 Australian Open. Both the times he was defeated by Roger Federer. However this great consistency propelled Cilic to achieve a career high ranking of World Number 3 in 2018.
Cilic has been a regular feature in the top 10 rankings for most of the decade. However some injury struggles and loss of form took him outside the top 20 in 2019. He closed the decade at World Number 39 but looked creeping back to form in last months of 2019. The Croatian star would be aiming to get back to the top 10 in 2020.
Stan remained under the shadow of his great compatriot Roger Federer for most of his career. However as in this decade his career took a new turn especially after the Swiss began to reach the age of 30. Stan has won 16 ATP singles titles in his career so far, 15 of which came in the decade of 2010s.
Wawrinka also made into 4 Slam finals emerging as a winner in 3 of them. He won every Slam except Wimbledon once. In each of these wins he was able to defeat the then World Number 1. Stan defeated Novak Djokovic in US Open 2016 and French Open 2015 final. He also defeated Rafa Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open final, which was the maiden Slam final for the great Swiss.
In 2014 Stan was a part of the Swiss team that won the Davis Cup alongside his fellow Swiss great Roger Federer. Wawrinka also rose to career highest ranking of World Number 3 in 2014. Apart from Slams, Stan also won a Masters 1000 title at Monte Carlo in 2016 where he defeated Roger Federer in the final.
4. Andy Murray
Andy Murray started the decade with tears in his eyes after losing to Roger Federer in the 2010 Australian Open final. Two years later he would again cry after losing to the same opponent in the 2012 Wimbledon finals. Since then however the tennis world has seen best of this British star. He won the 2012 US Open ending Britain’s 76 year wait of a Grand Slam singles champion. Murray also won the singles Gold Medal in the London Olympics of 2012.
Murray would then win 2 more slams, the most memorable among them being the Wimbledon of 2013 when he fulfilled the 77 year long British dream of a home grown champion at the home Slam. In this decade Murray has won 32 singles titles. These include 3 Grand Slams, 10 Masters 1000 trophies, 1 ATP season end finale, 2 Olympic Gold Medals and also helped Britain to become the Davis Cup champion in the year 2015.
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Murray has of late faced injury issues and a career threatening hip surgery. He has lost his rankings and is currently outside the top 400. However there is no doubt about his tennis genius and a comeback in 2020 could see him recapture his place among the top 10 ranking, where he really belongs.
Federer may not have been as successful in this decade compared to the decade of 2000s but the Swiss maestro has been astonishing despite his age. Roger has won 42 titles this decade among which are 5 Grand Slams, 12 Masters 1000 titles and 2 ATP year end championships. In addition to this Federer also helped Switzerland to win the 2014 Davis Cup.
Federer also achieved many records this decade. He became the 1st and only male singles player to be ranked World Number 1 for 300 weeks. Federer also became the only singles player to win 20 slams and also the oldest World Number 1. In the next decade Federer who is approaching the end of his career may aim to become the player with most singles match wins as well as most title wins.
2. Rafael Nadal
The decade of 2010s was very fruitful for Rafa Nadal. The great Spaniard won 48 titles in this decade which included 13 Grand Slams and 20 Masters 1000 titles. Nadal completed the career Grand Slam in 2010 at the age of 24, becoming the youngest player to do so. Rafa also achieved the La Decima which means winning 10 titles at 3 tournaments of Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros.
At the French Open Rafa won 8 titles out of the 10 in this decade, even after being forced to retire in one of years in 2016. His record at Roland Garros reached 12 Slams, the most by any player, male or female at any Slam. Rafa also helped Spain to win 2 Davis Cup titles in this decade as well as won the Gold Medal in doubles in 2016, adding to his singles Gold in the 2008 Olympics. In the next decade the 19 time Grand Slam Champion from Mallorca will try his best to chase and may be surpass Roger Federer’s Grand Slam count of 20.
Novak Djokovic has undoubtedly been the player of the last decade. The Serb superstar won 61 titles in the past 10 years which include 15 Grand Slams, 29 Masters 1000 trophies and 4 ATP finals. Novak also finished the World Number 1 for 5 years and was the World Number 1 for 275 weeks in the last decade, the most by any male player.
Djokovic also became the only player in history to win all 9 Masters at least once famously known as the Golden Masters. He also held all 4 slams at the same time in 2015-16, the 1st player to do so since Rod Laver. The Serb also helped his national team to win the 2010 Davis Cup. In 2020 Novak will be aiming to win an Olympics Gold Medal for Serbia, an achievement that has evaded him last 3 times. He would also be hoping to add to his Grand Slam tally and aim to surpass Federer and Nadal in the coming years.