Where Were You on Nov 3, 2003?

Posted on November 27 2018

Time waits for no one unless of course, you’re a member of tennis’ big four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray. Incredibly, one of these men has occupied the ATP number 1 spot every single week since November the 3rd 2003!


Tennis Ball Collector Time Line

A lot has happened since then, so we thought we’d take a look at what life was like back in 2003 and it turns out it was pretty different!

Many of you probably got to this page via Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter. Turns out that only those of you from Linkedin would have made it had we been posting in 2003! Facebook wasn’t launched until February 2004 and Twitter, a distant 2006!

Just as social media had its doubters at the beginning, there are many commentators who have, from time to time, suggested that the Big 4’s rain was coming to an end. But, just like social media, they just come back even stronger.

This year saw Federer claim his 20th Grand Slam title at the ripe old age of 36, Rafael Nadal win his 11th French Open, and Novak Djokovic win Wimbledon and the US Open whilst storming through the rankings to reclaim the number 1 spot.

With the form Djokovic showed in the second half of the year, you can’t see anyone getting near, let alone taking the number 1 spot off him any time soon. So it is likely that this incredible run the Big 4 have going will just keep on going.

Of course, individually, all of the Big 4 have shown signs of creaking. This year was virtually a complete write-off for Andy Murray, 31, as injuries kept him out of the majority of the season. Federer had a similar year in 2016 and Djokovic a very poor 2017 and early 2018, but there’s always one of them out there at any given time, sticking it to the rest of the field.

There are signs that at least one player could be ready to spoil the party, with Alexander Zverev beating Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic on the way to claiming the ATP Tour Finals title. Zverev had a very consistent year in 2018, hovering around the 3,4,5 mark in the rankings throughout the year.

Reaching number 1 in the world is another massive step though, and he will have to greatly improve his performances in the Grand Slam events, where there are a ton of rankings points available. Zverev has only made the one Grand Slam quarterfinal at this year’s French Open a record which won’t see him troubling the Big 4 for the number one spot.

Zverev is improving all the time, and it would seem likely that he will one day be world number 1. However, I don’t see him or anyone else accomplishing it next year. I would be very surprised if I’m not sat here again at the end of the 2019 season, writing the same article!

It is incredible to think that no other male singles player has managed to oust the Big Four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray from the number one spot in 15 years.

Luckily for the sport, we couldn’t have asked for four more engaging and charismatic men to be ambassadors for our game.

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