During the ATP Finals, many tennis players were asked about the possibility of also playing the Grand Slam tournaments in the best of three sets. According to many experts, to win over more audiences and allow tennis to continue to be one of the most popular sports, it would be right to speed up match times and propose something different.
To analyze this new proposal in detail, it is correct to also rely on numbers and answer the question: “How many Slams would the Big Three have won less with a different scoring system?" Let's start with Roger Federer.
The Swiss champion has won 20 majors over the course of his career. With best-of-three matches, he would lose in the round of 16 at Roland Garros 2009 to Haas 7-6, 7-5 and in the third round of Wimbledon 2012 to Benneteau 6-4, 7-6.
Also Nadal would find himself with two slams less following this logic: Wimbledon 2010 and Roland Garros 2011. In the first case he would have left London in the second round losing against Haase 7-5, 2-6, 6-3; in the second Paris even in the first round against Isner with the score of 4-6, 7-6, 7-6.
The most penalized, despite the opinion expressed last week, would be Djokovic himself. The Serbian would end up with two Australian Open, three Wimbledon and one US Open less. In Australia he would have lost in 2012 in the semifinals with Murray and in 2020 in the final with Thiem.
On the grass of the All England Club in 2014 and 2015, respectively against Cilic in the quarter-finals and Anderson in the round of 16. Recall that in both editions he then beat Federer in the final, And finally he would have surrendered at the US Open 2011 in the semifinals against Federer.
Filip DeWulf believes the Big 3 of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are not done winning yet. The Belgian did mention, however, that Federer might struggle in his comeback to the tour next year.
Dewulf on the Big 3
Filip DeWulf pointed out Thiem's and Medvedev's breakthroughs in particular, but also noted that winning the ATP Finals is not necessarily a barometer of upcoming Slam success.
"Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem showed in the O2 Arena, by keeping Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic behind them, that they have moved one step further in the hierarchy," DeWulf said. "But to declare the 'Big 3' (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) over right now is a bit short-sighted.
Don't forget that the last four editions of the ATP Finals were won by Dimitrov, Zverev, Tsitsipas and Medvedev and the four of them meanwhile have zero Grand Slam titles to their credit. Nevertheless, Thiem has clearly received a boost with his win at the US Open," he added.