In Part 1 of this piece I consider the competitiveness of sports, with particular focus on tennis. As stated, I believe we are currently watching three of the greatest tennis players not just of a generation but of all time. Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic have between them won 38 of the last 45 Grand Slams. Since Federer's Wimbledon victory in the summer of 2003 only Andy Roddick, Gastón Gaudio, Marat Safin, Juan Martín del Petro, Andy Murray (twice), Stanislas Wawrinka and Marin Cilic have won a Grand Slam.
The trio of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic held a monopoly on Grand Slams from Wimbledon 2004 until the 2009 US Open when sixth seed Juan Martín del Petro shocked Federer in the final, winning by 3 sets to 2. Remarkably, del Petro was vistorious despite the fact Federer, Nadal and Djokovic all reached the semi-final stage. However, the monopoly quickly resumed and was only broken in 2012, again at the US Open, when Andy Murray overcame Djokovic in the final.
The graph below attempts to capture the dominance of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic since 2005. The top four players in the ATP Tour Ranking at the end of each season are analysed to give a C4 measure of competitive balisrnce.
The measure of competitive balance illustrates how unbalanced ATP Tour Points were among the Top 20 players. Perfect balance would report a score of 100. The rising blue line from 2008 to 2012 indicates a growing imbalance in the allocation of points between the Top 4 (C4) and the rest. This coincides with the dominance of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, especially in Grand Slam events. 2013 and 2014 were the first two years since 2002 that Roger Federer has not claimed a Major title. The C4 graph also declines during this period. It's no coincidence that two new Major champions were crowned; Stanislas Wawrinka and Marin Cilic.
While Federer is enjoying a resurgence under coach Stefan Edberg, and Nadal continues to suffer from injuries, it's likely that the great imbalance is coming to an end. Federer may not win another Grand Slam and Nadal needs to fully get over his injuries to ensure the same fate doesn't meet him. While many players and spectators may be happy to see and end to such dominance, many others will miss them. I'm just happy to say I got to witness their fantastic talents.