Image: Wikimedia Commons / Tatiana
Image: Wikimedia Commons / Tatiana

The Big Three: who will win the most Grand Slams

When a young Roger Federer took the crown for most Grand Slam titles off Pete Sampras in 2009, not even the most clued-up tennis fans could have imagined that we would find ourselves in a position where three world class players would be in such tight contention for the title. Now Djokovic has just won the Australian Open, the title race is heating up once again.

This most recent victory took 33-year-old Djokovic to 18 Grand Slams. He is now only two titles behind Federer and Nadal, who both sit at an impressive 20 Grand Slam titles each. Having been described by some as ‘cementing himself as one of the greatest players’ of recent times, this victory could help Djokovic clinch the title in the not-too-distant future.

In the match, Djokovic produced a seemingly comfortable, but brilliant example of how to play in a grand slam final. His quick start to break Medvedev’s serve demonstrated his prowess and how, currently, his performance is far from crumbling under the pressure which the title race ensues.

So, despite being two grand slam titles behind Federer and Nadal, Djokovic’s six-year age advantage over the Swiss, and 11 months over the Spaniard, certainly seem to suggest that Djokovic could take the lead if he is still playing at top form throughout the next six years.

At 33, the same age Djokovic is now, Federer sat comfortably ahead in the race with 17 titles in comparison to Nadal’s 14 in 2015 and Djokovic’s 10. But at this point Federer had been winning Grand Slams since the early 2000’s whereas Djokovic only started to break onto the scene in 2007.

He does look set to pass the Swiss’ long-standing record

This stark gap between the two players has been closed incredibly quickly. The rate at which Federer has won Grand Slams has significantly slowed, only winning one in the last three years. Whereas Djokovic’s play over the past three years has seen him take an impressive six titles. He does look set to pass the Swiss’ long-standing record.

However, Nadal still poses a threat to the title as it looks very likely that he and Djokovic will win countless more titles each. Rightfully named the ‘King of Clay’, Nadal arguably has the upper hand to reach the coveted 21 titles before Djokovic. Djokovic has not got the same sort of dominance on a particular type of court in terms of the stats, but has developed a formidable history at the Australian Open.

Former Swedish tennis player, Mats Wilander, has described how each player has developed their own historical dominance at each Grand Slam venue:  ‘It’s amazing how Novak Djokovic has claimed the Australian Open as his home Slam, Rafa has Roland-Garros as his home Slam, and Roger Federer has his home. So, it’s amazing how they all dominate in their own ‘living rooms’.

Due to this dominance each player enjoys at a certain slam, it seems that longevity will be the deciding factor of the Grand Slam race.

It is impossible to predict which player will be the least injury prone. However, if Djokovic and Nadal are both able to play at top levels until they are at least the age Federer is now, it looks almost certain that both players will reach 21 titles and if not take this even further.

So, with constant speculations of retirement and despite his incredibly rare and sensational talents on the courts, it may be that soon Federer is overtaken in the Grand Slam race. But, with the other two players in such good form and such close age, it is very difficult to say who will definitively take the crown.

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