Men's Tennis: The Big One, Big Two, Big Three or Big Four?

AndersCorrespondent IIIDecember 21, 2011

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

The 2011 season has seen a new king rise to the tennis throne. Novak Djokovic surpassed both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, a duo that had ruled tennis from 2004 onwards. 

Those three men have been ranked No. 1-3 in different order for almost every single week since mid-2007. A good year later, Andy Murray joined them at the top of mens' tennis and the four of them have occupied those four spots ever since apart from a few weeks. 

They are commonly known as the Big Four, and this year they've been as dominant as ever winning all the Slams and the Masters (and a brief period as Juan Martin del Potro shot up the rankings, we were even talking about the Big Five). 

Some, however, prefer to refer to them as the Big Three, leaving the Slam-less Andy Murray out of the good company. 

Yet others say that it's really the Big Two, since Djokovic and Nadal have been the ones competing for the vast majority of the Slams in the past two years with four going Rafa's way and three going to Djokovic. 

Finally, it we only look at this year, one could make a case that it really only is the Big One as the season has evolved around one man, and one man only: Novak Djokovic. 

While Rafa has played an important role as his sidekick (and has won one Slam), he hasn't been able to win a single match against the Big One and in the last four matches between them, he is 2-10 in sets. 

Obviously, how we chose to label the men at the summit of tennis is nothing more than semantics and, in this sense, this is a non-technical, non-analytical and lighthearted article. 

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  2011 US Open Singles Men's Champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia is during an appearance on CBS the Early Show on September 13, 2011 in New York City. Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal of Spain in 4 sets during their match September
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

But with that disclaimer in mind, what wording makes the most sense?

The Big One given Djokovic's utter dominance this season? 

The Big Two given Nadal has made all those finals and has been the one winning most Slams if we count the last two years (no wonder he prefers a two-year ranking system)?

The Big Three given they are the only multiple Slam winners in the field who still have a very decent shot at the majors (sorry, Lleyton Hewitt, but that ship has sailed)?

The Big Four given that Murray is a fixture at the top of the rankings, though not a Slam-champion yet?

The Big Five envisioning Del Potro's comeback at the top of the rankings? 

Or are the semantics of what we call them entirely irrelevant? I, for one, am of the opinion that the terms we use has a descriptive meaning and thus says something about the state of the game as of now in very few words. 

Naturally, it doesn't predict who will win a given tournament, but it is a quick way to declare the favourites and say who's the dominant player(s). 

Personally, I tend to favour either the Big Three or the Big Four, but as stated above, there are reasons for all of them. 

What do you think—if you care?