Novak Djokovic Says The Reign of Tennis’ Big Four Is Not Ending Anytime Soon

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Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic of Serbia opens a bottle of sparkling wine as he poses for the media on the banks of the Yarra River in Melbourne, February 2, 2015, a day after he defeated Andy Murray of Britain in their men's singles final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne. REUTERS/Thomas Peter REUTERS/Thomas Peter

The 2015 Australian Open finals saw two of the top four men in tennis, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, battle for the title. Djokovic claimed his fifth Australian Open after beating Murray, 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 6-0, in a four-set match on Feb. 1. According to the Serbian athlete who currently sits atop the world rankings, he doesn’t see the reign of tennis’ big four ending anytime soon.

In an article by The West Australian, Djokovic said that the era of the big four -- him, Murray, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal -- is not yet over. He believes that there is still a gap between the big four and the young guns in tennis. Although Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic managed to break the stronghold on the grand slam events held by the big four, Djokovic reckons that young tennis players need to work hard to be able to end the dominance of the top four players.

“The gap is narrowed, but it’s still a long way for the new wave of tennis stars with the likes of Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori to make that step and break the domination of the top four guys,” Djokovic said. “They are close and they are challenging and they are knocking on the door but still, if you see the winners of the grand slams, it is still the top four guys.”

Breakout Stars of the ATP World Tour 2014 Season

Nishikori, Raonic, and Dimitrov all surged into the spotlight in the 2014 tennis season. The athletes stormed their way up the world rankings. Nishikori, Raonic and Dimitrov currently rank fifth, sixth, and 11th, respectively.

In 2014, Raonic battled an injury in Australia that cut short the early part of his season, but he restored his health and made a remarkable comeback. Last year, Raonic made it in the French Open quarterfinals and the Wimbledon semifinals. He won one title, beating fellow compatriot Vasek Pospisil in straight sets, 6-1 6-4, in the ATP 500 event in Washington, D.C.

Raonic started his 2015 campaign strongly. He made it in the Brisbane finals before losing 4-6 7-6(2) 4-6 to Roger Federer. At the Australian Open, Raonic clinched a quarterfinal place against Djokovic, but the Serbian proved to be a tough task for the Canadian.

Like Raonic, the 2014 season had been a great year for Nishikori, who became the first Japanese player to break into the top 10 of the world rankings. Nishikori may have failed to do well in three of grand slam events of the tennis calendar, but he displayed a spectacular performance against Wawrinka and Djokovic and made it in the finals of the US Open.

Nishikori was 54-14 and claimed four titles last season. He also qualified for the season-ending men’s tournament at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

At the 2015 Australian Open, Nishikori cruised past Nicolas Almagro, Ivan Dodig, Steve Johnson and David Ferrer to book his quarterfinal berth. He lost 6-3 5-(7) 6-7 7-6(5) 4-6 to Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.

Lastly, Dimitrov also accomplished great feats in 2014. It was last year when Dimitrov broke into the top 10 of world rankings. He also became the first player to win titles in three different court surfaces. In 2014, Dimitrov made it in the Australian Open quarterfinals and Wimbledon semifinals.

Dimitrov kicked off his 2015 season in Brisbane, where he reached the last four. He lost 2-6, 2-6 to ensuing winner Federer in the semifinals.

At the 2015 Australian Open, Dimitrov was ousted by Andy Murray in Round 16. Dimitrov has a 5-2 win-loss record this season.

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