Australian Open 2012: Is This Year Setting Up as Greatest Semifinal of All Time?

David DietzContributor IIIJanuary 25, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21:  (L-R) Andy Murray of Great Britain, Novak Djokovic of Siberia, Roger Federer of Switzerland and Rafael Nadal of Spain attend a ceremony for Carlos Moya's retirement during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 21, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Without question Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray are the most accomplished top four seeds to ever play in the same era. 

With a plethora of top talent and profusion of rising stars, the men's game has never been so deep, yet the Big Four have never been as dominant. Unfazed by the increasingly tough competition, Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray have elevated their own games and put further distance between themselves and the field. 

Since 2003, the year of Roger Federer's first win at Wimbledon, the four champions have combined for 2,092 wins, 162 trophies and 30 of the past 34 Grand Slams titles. 

The Big Four's almost decade-long run is one of unparalleled historic supremacy that will likely never be replicated. Nor, as this year's Australian Open has proven, does it appear as if the sun is setting on the game's most exciting four-way rivalry. 

Only one other player,Juan Martin Del Potro, has managed to overcome the odds and win a Grand Slam from a position outside the top four seeds. 

Since then, it's been all Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray. Last year the Big Four met in the Semifinals at the French Open (predictably won by Nadal) and the US Open, which went to Djokovic. 

At this year's Australian Open the Unbeatables are back at it again and this time it could be the best Semifinals showdown yet. 

Unlike the French Open when Rafael Nadal was the clear favorite, the hard courts of the Australian Open are a great neutralizer. More importantly and what makes this tournament even more alluring, is that all four players enter the tournament playing at the highest levels in months if not years. 

The favorite has to be Djokovic who besides being the reigning champion in Australia, is 30-1 in his last five Grand Slams.

Right behind him is Rafael Nadal won the French Open and reached the Finals of Wimbledon and The U.S. Open. 

Then there is Andy Murray, who while he has yet to win a major, has reached seven of the last nine Grand Slam Semifinals including consecutive appearances in the finals here in Melbourne. 

Last, but certainly not least, is the great Roger Federer who is likely the hottest player on tour and is currently riding a 31-match unbeaten streak. 

Given all the accolades, streaks, incredibly high tennis and of course the rivalries between the four remaining semifinalists, the 2012 Australian Open is shaping up to be the best end to tournament the Grand Slams have ever seen.

While it's unlikely that even these four legends can live up to such hype, tennis fans will no doubt be treated to some spectacular and special tennis to close out the Australian Open.

It's a golden age of tennis, enjoy.