There are four players in men’s tennis that have been at the top for years now. Even the casual sports fan knows the names Rafael Nadal, Rodger Federer, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokavic. These players, known as the big four, are always the favorites for every major tennis tournament. In fact, we have to go back to 2014 to find a time when a Grand Slam was won by someone outside the big four.
The ATP finals champion Alexander Zverev is someone to keep your eye on. But he is perhaps not experienced enough to make it all the way through a major tournament a defeat one of the big four players who might be waiting in the finals.
A more seasoned player may have a better shot of breaking the streak held by the big four.
Juan Martin del Potro
Juan Martin is currently ranked number five in the world with a record of 47-13 in 2018. The veteran has just one Grand Slam title under his belt. This came in 2009 when he won the US Open. That was back when del Potro was just 20 years old. Nine years later, del Potro is still a fierce competitor and all the more experienced.
The Argentinian has been plagued by injury during his career and has undergone three wrist surgeries. But he has always battled back. He is now dealing with a knee injury that may prevent him from playing at the start of the new year.
Back in August, del Potro reached number three in the rankings before losing to Djokovic in the finals of the US Open. Not long after he fractured his patella and had to call it quits for the year.
But the knee injury may actually work to del Potro’s advantage. His ever-problematic wrist issues seemed to be coming back as the 2018 season wore on. But now he has had time to rest and may potentially be in much better shape in 2019 than he might have been had he kept playing through the entire year.
Anderson is currently ranked at number six in the world with a record this year of 47-19. He’s had a good year and only seems to be getting better with age. At six foot eight, his size is a huge advantage. Anderson has yet to win a major tournament in his career but that is all the more reason that he might this year. He’s won five titles now and is gunning for a Grand Slam title to add to his collection.
Anderson’s performance against Rodger Federer this year s a good sign. In the Wimbledon quarter finals, he beat Federer in overtime. This was the first time he won a match against Federer. In fact, he’d never won a set against him.
Anderson then beat John Isner and advanced to the finals where he was simply too exhausted to put up much of a fight against Djokovic. Anderson seems to be gaining speed. He may be 32 years old, but he’s really hitting his stride. He certainly has a chance to finally win his first major in 2019.