Novak Djokovic

20 Years of Big 3: Visualized

Michael Data & Graphics, Photo editing March 12, 2021
How the Big Three dominated the men’s tennis field starting in 2004; each dot represents a week at world #1 on the ATP Rankings; to be updated…

If you follow men’s tennis, you know by now that the first GOAT, the universally beloved Roger Federer, has just ceded his most weeks (310) as world #1 record to one of his arch rivals, Novak Djokovic, who is also chasing the most grand slams among the big 3. Read on

I’d put myself in the category of “Big 3 fan,” thus I took a crack at visualizing the dominance of these three guys in men’s tennis for nearly 20 years. This chart will be updated regularly, until the end of this unprecedented dynasty.

  • Among the last 68 Major finals (since 2004),
  • 23 match-ups were among the Big 3;
  • combined, they took 57 of these titles.
  • Watch match points below:
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Djokovic v. Federer Wimbledon 2019: Narrow Margin

Michael Video March 11, 2021
Federer’s almost-ace that could’ve won him the 2019 Wimbledon title

Watch below (just a few seconds), probably one of the most watched and analyzed cliff-hangers in men’s singles tennis. In the fifth set of the 2019 Wimbledon final, Roger Federer broke Novak Djokovic finally and led 8-7, then serving for his ninth title there. And soon he chalked up two championship points at 40-15. Djokovic guess Federer was going for the wide, as he made his move a slit second before the ball came his way. But Federer aimed for the T. Djokovic got lucky that the ball scraped the net and didn’t make it across. The second serve was indeed wide and Djokovic returned nicely to invite an enforced error from Federer, who then lost 7 points in a row. The rest is history. (Feel free to indulge yourself for the whole 4:57 full match:)

Also fun to listen to Andy Roddick’s comments on the tiniest margins in epic matches like this one, when the king of Wimbledon outplayed Djokovic 95% of the time (double winners, etc.) yet lost the match toward the end with double-digit errors versus Djokovic’s zero.