Interesting post.Will Medvedev end the Big Four Era tomorrow?
How'bout this: in recent hours Daniil, 3-2 ahead of Novak and on a 20-0 win streak became the slight betting favorite vs. a GOAT candidate who never lost an Aussie final. The Tennis Temple fanxpert crowd also favors Medvedev 60/40, so my question is: will tomorrow be the symbolic passing of the torch, or does the Big Four have one more stance left in them to deny the future?
Thiem winning the USO was significant but wasn't consolidated vs. one of the four in the final, and this could be the difference. Daniil is the new Novak anyway: exceptional court intelligence, superb use of angles and transitioning shots, penetrating backhand, smart stinging serves over power and rock solid resolve under pressure or a hostile environment. Literally no one except of some of us predicted Novak back in the 2007 to upend the Fedal era, or Medvedev (and not Thiem, Tsitsipas, Kyrgios, Zverev, Shapovalov or Dimitrov) to end Djokovic's historic reign. Well, I predicted both back when neither was obvious, and I'm picking Daniil in 4 tomorrow to legitimize his time. Not only does he possess the tools for domination, growing up on Djokovic I've noticed how well ahead he knows Novak's each move, kinda like Osaka utterly being inside her idol's head, surpassing the teacher etc.
Course Tsitsipas would be the new Federer: offensive big game with incredible touch, potent one-handed BH and a winner-crunghing forehand. Also a big serve, some lady-friendly looks and an easy style on and off court. Media makes this connection too. However, Medvedev is a stylistic nightmare for him as much as Djokovic has been for Federer at slams for over half a decade, but he'll win a slam, probably Wimbledon first.
Thiem's mind-blowing athleticism, incredible clay court game with a potent top spin if he chooses, excellent tactical ability and infinite stamina makes him the new Nadal, even if not perfect style match, I know. Plenty of Roland Garros trophies in him, but with the ability to speed up his game, probably other slams too. He's perhaps the most compatible to win one of each, Daniil is a very prototype hard-courter right now and I don't fancy Tsitsi on clay. And I guess that leaves poor Zverev for poor Murray - not in style, but in possessing the talent but failing year after year - I do hope he gets a breakthrough, though his domestic violence accusations are a no-go.
What do you think? Is tomorrow the day and are these boyos the New Four?
Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Theim, and Zverev do seem to be set up as the next big four. Will they dominate the way Fed/Nadal/Djokovic have, hoarding all of the trophies for themselves? Probably not, and for a very simple reason.
They just aren't as good.
Tsitsipas may have the looks, the one-hander, and the forehand... but he's far more rugged in terms of style. He lacks Fed's elegant/efficient movement, can't really restructure rallies with the slice, and hasn't quite figured out the geometry of the tennis court yet. He doesn't seem as if he has a plan yet, other than to go out and play his hardest... he still looks somewhat raw and probably has the most upside.
Theim was thought to have infinite stamina, but he's now run out of gas in each of the last two slams. He's had the opportunity to solidify his US Open win -where he didn't face any of the big three- but has failed to even come close. His maiden GS win should now be under serious scrutiny. He's probably too nice a guy to transition to the type of competitor that Rafa is. Rafa can be downright ornery and intimidating on the court, and Theim just doesn't have that in him.
Medvedev/Djokovic is the most apt comparison... which means that Danill will probably win twice as many slams as anyone else in his group. He's looking like the leader of the pack, in terms of style, personality, and consistency. He doesn't have to red line to be effective, which is what you look for in terms of ability to dominate. Can you win without your A game, knowing that it's not always possible to play your absolute best? He seems best equipped to do so.