US Open 2012: Is the Fed-Djoko-Nadal, Top-3 Dominance Good for the Men's Game?

Martin Baldridge@MARTIN BALDRIDGECorrespondent IIAugust 9, 2012

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In the 37 Grand Slams played since Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon in 2003, Federer has amassed a record 17 Slam titles, Rafael Nadal 11 and Novak Djokovic five.

The only players to have broken the top three's Grand-Slam-winning monopoly during this time were 2003 and '09 U.S. Open champions Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro respectively, 2004 French Open champion Gaston Gaudio and 2005 Australian Open champion Marat Safin.

So is this a healthy state of affairs for the men's game?

From the 2005 French until Djokovic won the 2008 Australian, no player other than Federer or Nadal won any of the 11 Slams on offer.

Personally, I found this somewhat monotonous.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Pete Sampras enjoyed an entertaining rivalry with Andre Agassi and to a lesser extent Jim Courier and Michael Chang.

The so-called "Golden Generation" of U.S. players won 27 Grand Slam titles between them.

Previous great rivalries included that of Bjorn Borg, Guillermo Vilas, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe in the late 70s and early 1980s, followed by Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg in the late '80s.

It's not unusual, therefore, for a small group of players to dominate the highest level of the game. 

What's great about the current crop of Grand Slam combatants is that apart from at the French, fans genuinely have little idea who's actually going to win.

Nadal appears virtually unbeatable on red clay, his seven Roland Garros titles bearing testament to his legacy as the "King of Clay".

But at the Australian, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, it's anybody's guess as to who of the top three will emerge triumphant. 

And with four-time Grand Slam finalist Andy Murray winning the London Olympics gold medal, along with Del Potro, there appear to be five genuine contenders for the forthcoming U.S. Open.

This can hardly be considered monotonous.

Has the men's game ever been in a better state of health?