Sep 11, 2014

Is the Big 4's dominance in ATP finally over?


After nearly one decade of Grand Slam finals involving long time nemeses Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, Croatian Marin Cilic's victory over Kei Nishikori at the US Open finally gave new hope to the other tennis players that they do not have to wait for too long to be succeed.

Believe it or not, the discussion in the next major tournament, would be on whether someone else besides the Big 4 will win the championship. Whatever happened in the past two weeks could determine the future of the Australian Open and the subsequent majors in 2015. However, to check the current tennis market, you may go to William Hill online betting.

Since the 2005 French Open, all 38 consecutive Grand Slam finals have been dominated by at least one of Federer, Nadal or Djokovic. There were four exceptions in nearly 10 years with Juan Martin del Potro's victory over Federer at the US Open in 2009, Murray's wins against Djokovic at the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon last year, and Stanislas Wawrinka's defeat of Nadal at the Australian Open early this January.

''That they are great champions, and it's going to take so much to break them and to break (into) the finals of a Grand Slam or to be able to win it,'' Marin Cilic the newly crowned US Open champion told the journalists between TV appearances in Manhattan.

''Last several years, it almost felt like you have to play incredible tennis in order to achieve that,'' Cilic said.

''And I would say I was also a little bit lucky here. There was no Rafa. And I had a good draw. I didn't play Novak or Andy or those guys,'' he added.

The Croatian's unbelievable win in New York included a straight-set domination of Federer in the semifinals, raising questions yet again about whether, at 33, the 17-time major champion will ever add to his trophies again.

Nadal missed the opportunity to defend his title due to his right wrist injury, while Djokovic was humbled by Kei Nishikori who emerged as a finalist but eventually lost his bid to become the first Asian to win a Grand Slam title. Meanwhile, Murray who is one of the 'Big 4' is not quite up to the standards he was setting before a back surgery a year ago.

Perhaps Wawrinka's triumph in Melbourne has given hope to some including Cilic that things were going to be different from then on. Just look at the results of the Grand Slam semifinal debuts by Ernests Gulbis at the French Open in June, and by Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic at Wimbledon the following month.

''They are coming. They are there. This is good for tennis,'' said Cilic's coach, 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic.

''This is a new, fresh breath of air for tennis, and tennis needed this.''

However Cilic remained humble and not ready to write off the 'Big 4' yet. He shouldn't be.

''I mean, the guys are going to still be there,'' Cilic said looking ahead to next season.

It's just going to get more exciting from here. The upcoming Asian swing and indoor hardcourt season will give us a better clue on what will happen next year.


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