Roger, Rafa and Novak - providing the stability we need in a fractious world
At the time of writing, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are set to meet in one of the two semi-finals at this year's French Open. The smart money says one of them will meet Novak Djokovic in the final. Between them, these three titans of the sport have won 52 of the 65 open titles since Federer's first major at Wimbledon in 2003. This is a kind of dominance rarely seen in sport. Man United under Fergie and Schumacher in his Ferrari come to mind but their dominance was neither so total nor so prolonged (but I will concede that Phil Taylor's 85 major darts titles is a comparable achievement).
Contrast this with women's game, where aside from Serena Williams, the most successful players since 2003 have been Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin-Hardenne with five majors each and the dominance of the men's game by Roger, Rafa and Novak appears all the more exceptional.
I know what you're thinking - three blokes winning 80% of the big events can't be good. Might even be dull. But that, I'm afraid, is where you're wrong. Their respective styles are so different and so good as to be iconic and their rivalries have sustained an interest in the men's game not seen since Connors vs McEnroe in the 80s. But more than their tennis, these three have provided stability in a rapidly changing world. At a time of seemingly relentless bad news, they have been a constant, reassuring presence. When the hurly burly is done, and the battle is lost and won we can be assured that Rafa will still be smashing forehand winners, that Roger will still be serving aces and Novak will always make his opponent hit one more shot to win a rally.
We should therefore appreciate them while they're still around because a world without these three really might start to feel a bit scary.
Rob Hamill is the host of "Nothing But Net" sports podcast.
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