The most dominant decade in men’s tennis

Just six men — the Big Four, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic – have won major titles since the 2010 Australian Open. Even if 2019 sees four first-time Grand Slam singles winners, this decade will have seen the fewest different champions in men’s tennis history.

Just six men — the Big Four, of course, along with Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic — have won major titles since the 2010 Australian Open.   -  AFP

 

Even if 2019 sees four first-time Grand Slam winners in men’s singles — an admittedly unlikely scenario — this decade will have seen the fewest different champions in tennis history.

Just six men — the Big Four, of course, along with Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic — have won major titles since the 2010 Australian Open. Novak Djokovic leads with 13 Slams, followed by Rafael Nadal (11), Roger Federer (5), and Andy Murray and Wawrinka with three each. Cilic has the sole Grand Slam.

If we have four new winners this year, that’ll be total of 10. That still one less than the 11 men who won singles Grand Slams in the 1920s.

 

The decades prior are not accounted for here since the Australian Open began only in 1905 and because tennis was disrupted in Europe during World War 1. The 1940s, despite seeing far less tennis being played because of World War II, still had 15 different winners.

An argument could be made that the naughties saw greater statistical dominance, when Federer stood above any other male player with 15 Grand Slam titles, and Nadal was far behind with six. But then, Andre Agassi won three, while Pete Sampras, Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin and Gustavo Kuerten won two each. Eight other players won one Slam.

Reverse for the women

For the 99 years between 1920 and 2018, every decade saw more different men win Grand Slams than women — except the current one. In fact, the 17 women who won majors between 2010 and 2018 is already a record, one more than the 1930s. With eight different women winning the last eight majors, and five of them first-time champions, that number is only expected to increase.

For the men, this has been the decade of the Big Three. But on the women’s circuit, it’s been all about Serena Williams. She’s won 12 Slams in the last nine years. No other woman has won more than three in that time.