Rafael Nadal is the year-end No 1(Image: GETTY)
Despite the incredibly high standards they have set, the stranglehold over men’s tennis by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic remains a remarkable achievement.
This week, Nadal was crowned year-end No 1 for the fifth time in his career after a season-long battle with Djokovic.
It is the 15th time in 16 years that one member of ‘Big Three’ has been No 1. The only player to break into the party was Andy Murray in 2016.
And in eight of the last 13 years, the trio has finished in the top three of the year-end race.
2007: 1. Federer 2. Nadal 3. Djokovic
2008: 1. Nadal 2. Federer 3. Djokovic
2009: 1. Federer 2. Nadal 3. Djokovic
2010: 1. Nadal 2. Federer 3. Djokovic
2011: 1. Djokovic 2. Nadal 3. Federer
2014: 1. Djokovic 2. Federer 3. Nadal
2018: 1. Djokovic 2. Nadal 3. Federer
2019: 1. Nadal 2. Djokovic 3. Federer
The only sequence that has yet to happen is Federer, Djokovic and Nadal.
At 38-years-old, Federer is unlikely to ever be No 1 again but you can never write off the Swiss.
For Nadal, finishing the year as the best in the world eleven years after he first achieved the ranking and despite a host of injuries is a tribute to his phenomenal resilience.
Rafael Nadal is the year-end No 1 for the fifth time(Image: GETTY)
He said: “After all the things that I went through in my career in terms of injuries, I never thought at the age of 33 and a half that I will have this trophy in my hands again.
“So, it’s something really, really emotional for me.
“A lot of work on the shadows to be where we are today and without all my team and family that is here with me, this thing would be impossible.
“So I can just say thank you very much everybody for the support.
“Have been some bad moments and you have been always there, honestly, like this year for example, after Monte Carlo after the support of all these people who are here to my left, things will be much different for me this year.
“They encouraged me to keep going and I can’t thank them enough.”
Future generations will have to go a very long way to surpass the achievements of this era of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.
And that is why fans must cherish every moment left of this legendary trio.