The last bastion for the so-called 'Big Four'. Of the four Grand Slams, Wimbledon remains the final stronghold for the quartet of players that have dominated the game over the past decade and a half.
Federer (7 titles), Djokovic (3), Nadal and Murray (both 2) have amassed 14 Men’s Singles titles between them at their SW19 fortress. As a collective, grass remains the surface on which they have never really looked troubled. It has been a glorious period to be following tennis, probably the greatest ever. But sport is inherently unstable - that's what gives it its fascination and that's what makes the staying power of these four players so remarkable.
However, Murray and Djokovic, who have shared the last 4 titles at Wimbledon, have had a torrid start to the season. Murray has struggled with injuries whilst Djokovic has recently split with his entire coaching team, having lost the air of invincibility that he has carried for the past six seasons. Despite their troubles so far in 2017, the world number 1 and 2 will both be confident of turning their season around during the grass court swing.
Nadal had seemingly all but given up on claiming a third Wimbledon crown but the rejuvenated Spaniard has rediscovered his best tennis this year with a promising start to the season on the hard courts of Australia and the US before utterly dominating the clay court season collecting two Masters 1000 titles and the ATP 500 in Barcelona. He will next appear at his beloved Roland Garros as an overwhelming favourite to collect 'La Decima', a tenth French Open. Whilst his game is not well-suited to the quicker grass, a confident (& injury free) Nadal will remain a challenge for anyone.
The eldest member of the big-4 has defied everyone by collecting an 18th Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne earlier this year and having skipped the clay court season to protect his physique, Federer is expected to play at his favoured pre-Wimbledon event in Halle before returning to his beloved Centre Court for a 19th appearance. He is undoubtedly the greatest grass-court player to pick up a racket and having returned to winning ways this year, picking up the Australian Open and two Masters 1000 titles in Indian Wells and Miami, he will again be considered a major contender at Wimbledon. There are few sights in sport that can be compared to Federer in full swing on Wimbledon's Centre Court. It is, quite simply, something that every sports fan should witness. The 35-year-old, arguably, offers the best hope for the ‘Big Four’ at this year’s Championships.
However, as we are reminded so often, all good things eventually come to an end and the question in this case, is who will take up their mantle? What of the so-called NextGen? Could 2017 be the first year since 2002 that a player other than Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray lifts the pot?
The impending power shift from one generation to the next makes this year’s Championships as exciting and captivating as any before it. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness history in SW19. Keith Prowse is one of the only two official tour operators providing official tennis hospitality packages at Wimbledon.