Recent Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev are the future and present of our sport. But how are they faring against the legends such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the same age?
For many, it’s a matter of when not if all four players win a Grand Slam, but although this is the case, none have done so yet.
Thiem is the oldest at 26 years of age but has made three finals in his young career, with two finals appearances at the French open in 2018 and 19 along with the first major of 2020.
The Austrian has one Masters 1000 crown at Indian Wells and two defeats both at the Madrid Open. He also made the 2019 ATP World Tour Finals where he was out lasted in three sets by Tsitsipas.
Medvedev is the other of the four players to have reached a Grand Slam after taking Nadal to a five-set thriller at the US Open in 2019.
The 23-year-old Russian has two Masters 1000 titles, one in Cincinnati where he toppled David Goffin, and one at Shanghai beating Zverev in straight sets. His sole final lost came to Nadal once again at the Canadian Open.
Zverev is the player who potentially possesses the most raw talent out of the four young superstars, but has struggled in Grand Slams up until the Australian Open this year where he reached his first long overdue semi-final.
However in other tournaments, Zverev has already made his mark winning the ATP World Tour Finals in 2018, as well as three Masters titles beating Djokovic, Federer and Thiem in the process.
He does have three defeats too, with Nadal, Isner and the above mentioned Medvedev getting the better of the German.
Tsitsipas is the youngest at the age of 21, but has already tasted success in that final against Thiem in London.
Tsitsipas’s best run in a Grand Slam came at the 2018 Australian Open where he reached the semi-finals.
His two finals defeats in Masters 1000 tournaments were to Nadal in Canada and Djokovic at the Madrid Open last year.
How does all this stack up to the big three? Well Nadal as a teenager was already a Grand Slam champion with victory at the French Open in 2005, which followed up with again in 2006, 07 and 08.
Nadal also won 9 Masters 1000 titles between the age of 19 and 22, which came over the span of the 2005, 06 and 07 seasons.
For Federer, he was Wimbledon champion at the age of 22 and dominated the sport between 2003 to 2006, winning four Wimbledon, three Us Open and three Australian Open’s by the time he was 26.
Finally, lets take a look at Djokovic. The new world N.1 won his first slam at the Australian Open, an event he has dominated with eight titles. Djokovic was 20 when he won the championship in 2008.
His next three wins all came in 2011, which was one of the better year’s a professional player has ever put together, winning Wimbledon, the Aussie and US Open’s at 23 years of age.
What can we take from this? Well although Nadal, Djokovic and Federer have the early success advantage over their younger challengers.
We must remember that only Stanislas Wawrinka, Andy Murray, Marat Safin, Juan Martin Del Potro and Marin Cilic have won a Grand Slam since 2005 not named the those three.
Their run has been astonishing, and while these four younger players are yet to unseat arguably the three best players to step foot on court, rest assured they are as close as we’ve seen for years to doing so.
Any players competing in an era with these three and no less when they have been in their prime at different stages is a monumental task.
With that said, don’t be surprised if a sixth name is added to the list of Slam winners since 05, and the betting would highly suggest one of Zverev, Tsitsipas, Medvedev or Thiem to be the one to achieve it.