After Novak Djokovic lost to Daniil Medvedev in the final of the 2021 US Open, the tennis world was in shock. Medvedev managed the unthinkable by upsetting Djokovic in straight sets and denying the Djoker his record-breaking 21st major men's singles title.
The World number two won 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to prevent the first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1969 and keep Djokovic level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the career title list. Djokovic’s loss at the US Open makes us realize that the Big four era is nearing its end.
Throughout the 2000s, the quartet of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray ruled men’s tennis. Combined the big four have won five Olympic gold medals, 63 Grand Slams and 114 ATP masters.
With nagging injuries and old age, these greats are in the twilight of their careers. In the past few years, we have seen the emergence of a few young players who are looking to take over men’s tennis.
So let’s look at four young players who could emerge as the next golden quartet in men’s tennis
The current world number two has been on an upward climb since a successful 2019 with a record of 59 wins and 21 losses. In that year, he went against Rafael Nadal in the US Open final and suffered a close loss. He made six consecutive finals and also won his maiden ATP title in 2019. Now defeating Djokovic cements his position as a modern great. Brushing past 25, the sky is the limit for Medvedev.
Alexander Zverev has emerged as a rising star in the past few years. He defeated Federer and Djokovic to win the ATP Finals. Last year he made his first Grand Slam final at the 2020 US Open against Dominic Thiem. But his biggest accomplishment in his career has been the 2020 Olympic Gold medal in Tokyo. Zverev has won 17 ATP titles combined as a singles and doubles player in his career and is touted by greats like Federer as a potential world number. He is now ranked world number three and is certainly on the right path to reach the top seed.
2021 has been a difficult year for Dominic Thiem as he had to miss tournaments like the Wimbledon, US Open, Roland Garros and the Olympics due to a wrist injury. But Thiem has been one of the best young players in the world. He won his first Grand Slam defeating Alexander Zverev at the 2020 US open and has also defeated all members of the big four. Currently ranked number eight in the world rankings Thiem will look to bounce back in 2022.
Tsitsipas is the youngest player in the new golden quartet. He has dominated junior tennis as he was a former junior world number one. He won the junior Wimbledon in men’s doubles discipline. The world number three is yet to win major tournaments at the senior tier but has come very close on several occasions. In his young career, Tsitsipas has reached three Grand Slam semi-finals and one French Open final in 2021. He has also won seven titles in his senior career with reaching ten finals.