The case for the BIG 4

clayqueen

Talk Tennis Guru


They regularly held the top four places in the year-end rankings between 2008 and 2013 and were ranked year-end world top four consecutively from 2008 to 2012 which is the longest span of dominance for any quartet of players in tennis history. Since 2007, the year-end top three rankings have been held by members of the Big Four. The years they did not (2013, 2016 and 2017) was mainly due to injuries to two of the members during those seasons.

They have held the top two spots continuously since 25 July 2005, as well as the top-ranking since 2 February 2004, meaning that no player outside the Big Four has ranked world No. 1 in more than 16 or even No. 2 in 14 and a half years.

All four have reached a career-high No. 1; Federer has been world No. 1 for a record 310 weeks, Djokovic, the current No. 1, for 282 weeks (third since the inception of the ATP Rankings in 1973), Nadal for 209 weeks (6th since 1973), and Murray for 41 weeks. Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have all been year-end No. 1 on five different occasions, only interrupted by Murray in 2016.

 
Last edited:

clayqueen

Talk Tennis Guru
There is no doubt that the Big 3 are definitely another level from the Big 4 but a I've seen lots of forums where fans argue whether Murray should be in the Big 4 and some try to put him on the same level as Stan. Murray totally deserves his place in the Big 4, without question. Stan shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence as Murray.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
You can really only say truly there was a big 4 in 2012 and even then Nadal missed half the year. Murray wasn't really a serious contender from 2008-2011, Djokovic wasn't consistently there in 09-10 too obviously. In 2013, Nadal wasn't a factor in 2 majors, Murray was done after Wimby, Fed was basically done after AO.

I know the big 4 is supposed to refer to consistency of the top 4 guys and in that sense, yeah they were the top 4 from 2008-2012, but Murray was losing to multiple other people at majors every year from 08-10 and in 2011 he was totally useless against djokovic and nadal at majors.
 
Anyone who denies the existence of the Big 4 doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. It's comical that it's a debated topic these days.

Doesn't mean that Big 3 doesn't exist. They are 2 different things that can co-exist.
Big 5 exists as well given that Wawrinka strongly separated himself from del Potro (a potentially big what-if barring injuries, but that's the way it is), Cilic, Tsonga, Berdych etc. Only difference is, it was a relevant concept for 3.5 years while Big 4 was relevant for about 9 years.
 

clayqueen

Talk Tennis Guru
You can really only say truly there was a big 4 in 2012 and even then Nadal missed half the year. Murray wasn't really a serious contender from 2008-2011, Djokovic wasn't consistently there in 09-10 too obviously. In 2013, Nadal wasn't a factor in 2 majors, Murray was done after Wimby, Fed was basically done after AO.

I know the big 4 is supposed to refer to consistency of the top 4 guys and in that sense, yeah they were the top 4 from 2008-2012, but Murray was losing to multiple other people at majors every year from 08-10 and in 2011 he was totally useless against djokovic and nadal at majors.
Nadal played 3 Majors in 2013 and won 2 of them. He also ended the year as #1. Tennis isn't only about slams.
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
Big 5 exists as well given that Wawrinka strongly separated himself from del Potro (a potentially big what-if barring injuries, but that's the way it is), Cilic, Tsonga, Berdych etc. Only difference is, it was a relevant concept for 3.5 years while Big 4 was relevant for about 9 years.
You know how we know Big 5 exists?

You didn't need to specify Wawrinka. We all know Big 5 = Big 4 + Stan. However brief, it was an established term that got used for a few years there. Whether you disagree about them being lumped together or not, you still know what Big 5 means. Same goes for the Big 4 deniers.
 

octogon

Hall of Fame
There is no doubt that the Big 3 are definitely another level from the Big 4 but a I've seen lots of forums where fans argue whether Murray should be in the Big 4 and some try to put him on the same level as Stan. Murray totally deserves his place in the Big 4, without question. Stan shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence as Murray.

For me, Murray deserves his own space, full stop. He's simply not got the numbers to be part of the Big 3. But aside from slams, he's way ahead of Stan in every single metric.

But at the end of the day, Murray is closer to Stan than he is the Big 3. It is what it is.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
The gap between Big3 and Murray is >>>>> the gap between Murray and Wawrinka.
Not really. Stan didn't do anything apart from the 3 Slams. Murray did loads of other things that only the Big 3 have done (and sometimes not even them) which is why he is part of a Big 4.
 

BeatlesFan

Bionic Poster
I've never had a problem with the term "the big 4" because I like Andy and respect his work ethic tremendously (as well as his heart and desire). But when you have this slam distribution, one can see why others would have an issue with the term:

20
19
17



3

Having said that, Andy Murray is still 10 times the player any current pro is under the age of 30.
 
Last edited:

mike danny

Bionic Poster
I've never had a problem with the term "the big 4" because I like Andy and respect his work ethic tremendously (as well as his heart and desire). But when you have this slam distribution, one can see why others would have an issue with the term:

20
19
17



3

Having said that, Andy Murray is till 10 times the player any current pro is under the age of 30.
These Next Gen's and Thiem are definitely not on Murray's level.

I may be too crytical towards Murray, but the fact is he did win majors against the Big 3 and a plethora of other titles, so all this talk about the Big 3 being too strong and that's why the Next Gen and Thiem can't beat them is just hogwash.
 
Not really. Stan didn't do anything apart from the 3 Slams. Murray did loads of other things that only the Big 3 have done (and sometimes not even them) which is why he is part of a Big 4.
Are you crazy? Wawrinka and Murray have the same number of slams, whereas the Big3 lead Murray by 14, 16 and 17 slams! In other words, the career of Sampras separates the lowest of the Big3 from Murray and you have the nerve to say the gap between Murray and Stan is bigger? You'd really have to be completely insane to push that argument.
 

Crazy Finn

Semi-Pro
Big 4 with Murray, whatever. I've done that already, I'm Murray'ed out. But, a Big 5 with Roddick? As Mac would say "You cannot be serious!"
 

RaulRamirez

Hall of Fame
This seems to be a never-ending debate here.
Obviously, Murray's accomplishments don't rate with The Big 3, but I think Murray did enough - for years - to distinguish himself from everybody else.

Although I'm not "Beatles Fan", I'm a huge Beatles fan.
I've always analogized that if there's a Big 4, then Andy's Ringo.
Now, Fed as John, Rafa as Paul, and Novak as George doesn't work perfectly, but...
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Are you crazy? Wawrinka and Murray have the same number of slams, whereas the Big3 lead Murray by 14, 16 and 17 slams! In other words, the career of Sampras separates the lowest of the Big3 from Murray and you have the nerve to say the gap between Murray and Stan is bigger? You'd really have to be completely insane to push that argument.
Did you even bother to read my post properly? I said, apart from the 3 Slams, Murray has accomplished all kinds of things that Wawrinka hasn't eg. #1 ranking, WTF, double digit Masters, multiple OSGs. Only the Big 3 have also accomplished these type of things (except for the multiple OSGs). Get your head out of the clouds and read what the OG said which is what this thread is about!
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
This is why there is no BIG 5. Some people try to sneak Stan to the top table but he doesn't qualify. Not even close.
Well, I submit that Stan forms part of a legitimate Big 5 grouping as a member of the set of all current players who have won multiple Slams. This does not negate the validity of the Big 3 or Big 4 as none of these groups are mutually exclusive although obviously each grouping becomes less important than the one before or what is known as the law of diminishing returns.
 

clayqueen

Talk Tennis Guru
Well, I submit that Stan forms part of a legitimate Big 5 grouping as a member of the set of all current players who have won multiple Slams. This does not negate the validity of the Big 3 or Big 4 as none of these groups are mutually exclusive although obviously each grouping becomes less important than the one before or what is known as the law of diminishing returns.
I disagree. What Rafa, Roger, Novak and Andy have achieved has never, ever happened before for that length of time as detailed in Wiki. There was no Big 4 before them. They are unique. Andy doesn't only have 3 slams, he's got 14 Masters titles compared to zero for Stan, Andy maintained his place in the top four for many years at a time. I keep stressing that tennis is about a lot more than slams. Slams are not even ATP tournaments.

How can the ITF tournaments run by independent organisers making their own rules and awarding wild cards and seedings as they see fit, not always going along with the ATP Rule Book, be the only tournaments that count?
 
Last edited:
As it stands right now, I would say that there are the "3 GOATs", the "big 4" (2008-2016), the "'big' 5" (the only 5 players which win multiple majors since federers first slam) and if you want "the competent 7" (all active slam winners with del potro and cilic).
 

clayqueen

Talk Tennis Guru
As it stands right now, I would say that there are the "3 GOATs", the "big 4" (2008-2016), the "'big' 5" (the only 5 players which win multiple majors since federers first slam) and if you want "the competent 7" (all active slam winners with del potro and cilic).
So only 4 tournaments of the year count?
 
So only 4 tournaments of the year count?
These are the 4 most significant tournaments, a slam is worth more than a couple of masters and a WTF. Which other players achieved anything really significant in the last 15 years? Especially for long periods of time? Davydenko is worth mentioning, Nalbandian, Safin(was done before nadal became a top player) and roddick(a serious competitor in the 2000's). But they did not(in my opinion) achieve as much as lets say del potro since 2005, and not to mention wawrinka who I personally rank above roddick overall.
 

blablavla

Legend
These are the 4 most significant tournaments, a slam is worth more than a couple of masters and a WTF. Which other players achieved anything really significant in the last 15 years? Especially for long periods of time? Davydenko is worth mentioning, Nalbandian, Safin(was done before nadal became a top player) and roddick(a serious competitor in the 2000's). But they did not(in my opinion) achieve as much as lets say del potro since 2005, and not to mention wawrinka who I personally rank above roddick overall.
I would argue about WTF.
a format where you face only 8 top players of the season, play 5 matches and need to win at least 4 matches.
 

ledwix

Hall of Fame
This is why there is no BIG 5. Some people try to sneak Stan to the top table but he doesn't qualify. Not even close.
Wawrinka: 4-4 vs Djokovic in slams
Murray: 2-8 vs Djokovic.

3 = 3 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< 17 < 19 < 20.

I'd say Wawrinka and Murray are pretty close compared to their distance to the big 3.
 

Wurm

Semi-Pro
I've never had a problem with the term "the big 4" because I like Andy and respect his work ethic tremendously (as well as his heart and desire). But when you have this slam distribution, one can see why others would have an issue with the term:

20
19
17

3
Yet there was a point where Federer had 16 slams to Novak's 1. The Big Four wasn't about achievements at the time the term came into use, it was about Federer's earlier dominance and there being players coming through who were good enough to genuinely rival him (and thus one another) over a sustained period.

I suspect the significance of the term The Big Four outwith tennis probably gave the media some satisfaction to be able to re-purpose.
 
I would argue about WTF.
a format where you face only 8 top players of the season, play 5 matches and need to win at least 4 matches.
That is true, the WTF is a significant tournament, very difficult to win, but bare in my that its the 8 most consistent players that make it, and in many cases some of these players are the "pigeons" of the top players, while the less consistent players which dont make it to the finale, sometimes are more dangerous, like djokovic will struggle much more agsinst kyrgios than against nishikori.
So, in my opinion: grand slams>>>>>>olympics>WTF>>>masters 1000
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
For me, Murray deserves his own space, full stop. He's simply not got the numbers to be part of the Big 3. But aside from slams, he's way ahead of Stan in every single metric.

But at the end of the day, Murray is closer to Stan than he is the Big 3. It is what it is.
TRUE! Level 1- Roger, Novak, Nadal
1.5- Murray
2- Stan
 

40L0VE

Semi-Pro
Commentator : The Big 3 have to be favourites for the title and lets not forget Murray. He's always there or thereabouts with a shout.

It's best if commentators said that, Murray's not comparable to any of the top 3 but much better than the rest.
 

clayqueen

Talk Tennis Guru
For me, Murray deserves his own space, full stop. He's simply not got the numbers to be part of the Big 3. But aside from slams, he's way ahead of Stan in every single metric.

But at the end of the day, Murray is closer to Stan than he is the Big 3. It is what it is.
Are you simply thinking about slams?
 
Last edited:

clayqueen

Talk Tennis Guru
Head to head against the Big 3

Murray
Rafa -: 7 - 17
Novak -: 11 - 25
Roger -: 11 - 14

Total-: 29 - 56

Stan

Rafa -: 3 - 19
Novak -: 6 - 19
Roger -: 3 - 23

Total-: 12 - 61

Stan is not in Murray's league.
 
Did you even bother to read my post properly? I said, apart from the 3 Slams, Murray has accomplished all kinds of things that Wawrinka hasn't eg. #1 ranking, WTF, double digit Masters, multiple OSGs. Only the Big 3 have also accomplished these type of things (except for the multiple OSGs). Get your head out of the clouds and read what the OG said which is what this thread is about!
Then you didn't read my post. I wasn't talking about the non slam gap between Murray and Wawa, I was talking about the overall gap. The overall gap includes slams. And with that the gap between Murray and Wawa is much smaller than the gap between Murray and any one of the BIg3. Please don't be so insane to continue arguing that point.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Then you didn't read my post. I wasn't talking about the non slam gap between Murray and Wawa, I was talking about the overall gap. The overall gap includes slams. And with that the gap between Murray and Wawa is much smaller than the gap between Murray and any one of the BIg3. Please don't be so insane to continue arguing that point.
Please don't be insane as to keep denying that Murray's overall achievements are much greater than Wawrinka's given the overall gap includes the very things you keep trying to deny.

In any case, why are you only replying to my posts? Why aren't you replying to the OP or are you just out to attack me personally (in which case you will quickly join my IL).
 

King No1e

G.O.A.T.
Anyone who denies the existence of the Big 4 doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. It's comical that it's a debated topic these days.

Doesn't mean that Big 3 doesn't exist. They are 2 different things that can co-exist.
This pretty much sums it up. The Big 4 were a thing. Not in the GOAT race (Mury is too far above the other 3) but in being the 4 best players in of the late 2000's/early 2010's.
 
Please don't be insane as to keep denying that Murray's overall achievements are much greater than Wawrinka's given the overall gap includes the very things you keep trying to deny.

In any case, why are you only replying to my posts? Why aren't you replying to the OP or are you just out to attack me personally (in which case you will quickly join my IL).
I didn't deny Murray anything. Yes he's ahead of Wawrinka, but the distance between him and Stan is much less than the distance between him and any of the big3.
 
Top