Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are popularly known as the Big-4 of tennis. Now the number of Grand Slams ( Majors) won is a fair and acceptable point to determine the proficiency of a tennis player. The number of Majors won by these 4 are 19, 16, 12 and 3.
However another champion Stan Wawrinka too in recent times has also won 3 Majors. Accordingly why the big 4 should not be an extended big 5 by including Wawrinka as well.
Before discussing whether Stan can join them a comparison between Murray and Stan would help – to decide whether Stan can join the Big 4 and whether Murray should be in it.
Stan’s 3 Grand Slams were won by defeating the then current World Number 1 which makes the achievement even more stupendous. He defeated Rafa in the 2014 Australian Open and Novak in the 2015 French Open and the 2016 US Open.
However apart from these 3 fantastic performances Stan just has a solitary other Major final appearance which was against Rafa in the 2017 French Open Final where Rafa steamrolled him in straight sets. He has entered semifinals of Majors only 3 more times at the US Open in 2013 and 2015 and the Australian Open in 2015.
Stan has also won a solitary Masters 1000 and is the runners-up only thrice more. His total tournament wins are 16 comprising of 3 Majors, 1 masters, 3 ATP 500 and 9 ATP 250 Tournaments. Total tournament finals are 28 and final losses are 1 in the Majors, 3 at the Masters, 5 in ATP 500 and 7 in ATP 250.
At the Olympics Stan has won the doubles gold once with Federer in 2008 and has been part of a Davis Cup winning team once as well with Federer playing an important role.
Lets look at what Murray has done in comparison. Murray like Stan has won 3 Majors. While Stan has total 16 tournament wins, Murray has 45, the break-up being 3 Grand Slams, 1 year end Championships, as many as 14 Masters 1000, 2 Olympic Gold medals, 9 ATP 500 and 16 ATP 250.
Murray’s with 14 Masters wins is as high as all time 9th and only greats like Novak (30) , Rafa (30), Fed (26), Lendl (22), Mcenroe (19), Connors (17), Agassi (17) and Borg (15) are ahead of him. More important, greats like Becker, Edberg and Sampras have less than him. In Comparison Stan has just 3 Masters and even lesser known players like Andrei Medvedev and Juan Carlos Ferrero with 4 have more. In fact as many as 27 players have 4 or more Masters 1000 titles while Stan has 3.
Similarly in comparison to Stan’s overall 28 finals, Murray has as many as 67. More importantly he has also reached as many as 11 Finals ( 3 wins) in Majors and 21 Masters finals ( 14 wins). This is far superior to Stan’s performances.
It is also a pertinent stat that of his 22 Finals losses, 15 are to Fed or Rafa or Novak. Of his 8 losses in the Grand Slams , 3 losses are to Federer and 5 to Djokovic. Curiously Andy and Rafa have not met at a Grand Slam final. His 3 wins in Majors include 2 against Novak and one against Raonic.
At the Masters too, of his 7 losses in finals , 5 are against Novak and 1 against Rafa. The only member not of top 3 who has defeated him in a Masters final is Cilic. Murray has also defeated Novak 5 times in Masters finals and has also defeated Fed twice and incredibly has a clay court Masters win over Rafa at Madrid Open.
Murray’s 2 Olympic Golds were won with wins over Federer and Del Potro. He also spectacularly featured in Great Britains victorious 2015 Davis Cup campaign where he won 3 matches for his team ( both singles and doubles) in each and every round to lead his team to a Davis Cup triumph after 79 years.
One final comparison where Murray is way ahead of Stan is wins over top ten players. Murray has as many as 101 while Stan has 50. Of Murray’s 82 losses versus top 10 players as many as 56 are against Fed (14), Novak (25) and Rafa (17) which shows that in his entire career he has a 72-26 win-loss position against other top ten players. He also has 11 wins each against Federer and Novak and 7 versus Rafa which in itself is no mean feat. In contrast Stan’s record against all three is worrying with him having a 3-20 head to head against Federer and 5-19 versus Novak and 3-16 versus Rafa.
The above analysis shows that though Stan and Murray have 3 wins each in the Majors, the achievements of Murray are way ahead and therefore there is no way that he can be included in an extended Big 5
However Murray has had extraordinary consistent performances since 2008 including winning 8 of his 1st 10 Masters finals between 2008-2011. His spectacular performance in the 2nd half of 2016 which took him to world Number 1 and ended with a win over Novak in the year ending championships has also shown he is a worthy entrant of the Big 4 club.
Do you agree.