Stanislas Wawrinka’s victory over world number one Rafael Nadal in the opening Grand Slam of 2014 may just mark the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for in the men’s game, offering a slither of optimism to those players who have been futilely battering the top 4 fortress until now.
The seemingly impenetrable top four that have monopolized the game and, naturally, the annual Grand Slam tournaments, was infiltrated for the first time since Argentine Juan Martin del Potro nabbed the US open title in 2009. Since 2006, Switzerland’s Roger Federer, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Spaniard Rafael Nadal, with a couple of appearances from Murray, have taken the crowns at all of the glamour events, an eight year tri-domination that would only resemble Sampras’ individual ownership of the Grand Slam landscape through the 1990’s.
Discussions have been centering on the transitional period, by no means the disintegration of the reigning elite who will undoubtedly be found heaving up various trophies in the next few years still. But perhaps, we might just see the advancement of contenders otherwise found floating in the top 10, trying to continue to muster the motivation to aspire to Grand Slam success in the face of devastating opposition.
…the start of 2014 has ruffled feathers amongst the tennis community…
I suspect names of prospective party-wreckers will comprise the physically imposing bods of Tsonga and del Potro, the less imposing but equally aggressive Ferrer, who’s roots reflect the run-everything-down culture of Spanish tennis that defines fellow countryman Nadal’s play. I anticipate 7th ranked Czech Tomas Berdych will be a fixed feature in the final stages of the tournaments this year also.
One thing is apparent; the start of 2014 has ruffled feathers amongst the tennis community with many reassessing their comfortable assumptions of a season that could quite conceivably be anyone’s.