Tale of the Tape of 21st Century Four Musketeers
by Beeyong Sison, June 19, 2012:
Voila', my 21st century version of the 'Four Musketeers' is on hand: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, all Europeans, have a total 32 Grand Slam singles titles between them within the last decade. They have also dominated Wimbledon for the past nine years. The fourth member playing the role of Monsieur d'Artagnan is Britain’s Andy Murray who has career wins over all three but has yet to win a Grand Slam title. All four are ranked at the top of the men’s ATP list.
The original Four Musketeers of tennis, based on a popular 1920s film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' classic*, were Jean Borotra (1898–1994), Jacques Brugnon (1895–1978), Henri Cochet (1901–1987), René Lacoste (1904–1996), all French tennis players who dominated the game in the second half of the 1920s and early 1930s. Between them, they won 20 Grand Slam titles and 23 Grand Slam doubles while leading their country to six straight Davis Cup wins from 1927 through 1932, At its creation in 1927, Tournoi de Roland-Garros trophy was named the ‘Coupe des Mousquetaires’ in honor of the quartet. At the end of the last century, U.S Tennis had its own "Fab Four" of Sampras, Agassi, Courier, and Chang.**
I don’t see anyone else winning Wimbledon and Olympics this year other than the four netters Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, and Murray. All four are on top of their games that it would be difficult for the rest of the field to unseat any one of them from their respective final four (semis) slots.
Battle for top-spot
This year’s Wimbledon is gearing up for an exciting top-notch showdown for the world no.1 ranking with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all in contention to hold top spot after the tennis “fortnight”.
Federer can regain the No.1 ranking this year if he wins Wimbledon and if Djokovic loses in the semi-finals. Federer last held the top spot in 2009 in Roland Garros. Nadal, who gave up the No. 1 ranking to Djokovic when he lost the Wimbledon final last year, can earn the top spot again if he wins Wimbledon for a third time and Djokovic does not go beyond quarterfinals. Djokovic, who has held the No. 1 ATP Ranking since July 4, 2011 after winning his first Wimbledon title, must reach the final to guarantee that he remains ahead of his rivals. Let’s take a quick look at the Four Musketeers’ humble resume’ since 2003.
Roger Federer: Wimbledon winner: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
The Swiss Meister has won a men’s record 16 Grand Slam singles titles. He is one of seven players to capture the career Grand Slam and one of three (with Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal) to do so on three different surfaces (clay, grass, and hard courts). He is the only male player in tennis history to have reached the title match of each Grand Slam tournament at least five times. He enjoyed a 48-week run at World No. 1 the last time, taking the top ranking back from Nadal following his 2009 Wimbledon triumph. He first ascended to No. 1 on February 2004 and held the position for a record 237 consecutive weeks. Federer has held the No. 1 ranking for 285 weeks during his career, just one week shy of Pete Sampras’ all-time record of 286 weeks.
Federer has appeared in an unprecedented 23 career Grand Slam tournament finals, including a men's record ten in a row, and reached 18 of 19 finals from the 2005 Wimbledon Championships through to the 2010 Australian Open, with the exception being the 2008 Australian Open. He holds the record of reaching the semifinals or better of 23 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments over five and a half years, from the 2004 Wimbledon Championships through the 2010 Australian Open. At the 2012 French Open, he reached a record 31st Grand Slam semifinal (tied with Jimmy Connors) and a record 32nd consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal. He also holds the record for most match wins, at 237, in Grand Slam tournaments. Many sports analysts, tennis critics, and former and current players consider Federer to be the greatest tennis player of all time.
Rafael Nadal: Wimbledon winner in 2008 and 2010
Rafa has won eleven Grand Slam singles titles, including a record seven French Open titles, the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles, a record 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments. He was also a member of the Spain Davis Cup team that won the finals in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
He completed the Career Grand Slam by winning the 2010 US Open –only the seventh player in history, and the youngest in the Open Era - to achieve it. He is the second male player to complete the Career Golden Slam (winner of the four Grand Slams and the Olympic gold medal) after Andre Agassi.
Novak Djokovic : Defending Champion, Wimbledon winner 2011
Djokovic has been ranked World No. 1 since July 4 2011. He has won five Grand Slam singles titles: the 2008, 2011 and 2012 Australian Open, the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, and the 2011 US Open. By winning three Majors in 2011, Djokovic became the sixth male player in the open era to win three Majors in a calendar year.
Andy Murray with 5 consecutive semi-finals in Grand Slam event
Andy Murray has been runner-up in three Grand Slam finals: the 2008 US Open, the 2010 Australian Open and the 2011 Australian Open, losing the first two to Roger Federer and the third to Novak Djokovic. In 2011, Murray became only the seventh player in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals of all four Grand Slam tournaments in one year.
*Three Musketeers is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, first serialized in March–July 1844. Set in the 17th century, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris to join the Musketeers of the Guard. D'Artagnan is not one of the musketeers, they are his friends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, inseparable friends who live by the motto "all for one, one for all”.
**The quartet of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, all US players born in 1970-71, won a total of 27 Grand Slam singles titles between 1989 and 2003 - best in US tennis
history. Sampras won 14, Agassi 8, Courier 4, Chang 1.