The Emergence of Men’s Grand Slam Champions in the Open Era
1974 was the single biggest year for men’s tennis in the open era up until the emergence of modern troika of greats. Both Borg and Connors had their first Grand Slam wins in that year.
The early 80s was arguably the most fertile period for men’s tennis. From 1979–1985, there were five new champions who went on to win at least six grand slams each (McEnroe, Wilander, Lendl, Edberg, Becker).
Sampras and Agassi emerged in the early 90s. The late 90s saw many new champions, but few made their mark. From 1995–2000, there were eight new new champs, but among these only only Gustavo ‘Guga’ Kuerten managed three titles in their careers.
It’s hard to fathom, but Federer and Roddick won their first Grand Slam titles in the same year — 2003 — along with Juan Carlos Ferrero.
In the 13 years since Djokovic had his first major win in 2008, there have been only five new champions who have won nine majors between them.
In the 54 years (2021 inclusive) of open era tennis there have been 18 that have seen no new men’s champion emerge. Half of these (nine years) have been since 2010.
This quick take was inspired by these great podcasts hosted by the very under-rated Mats Wilander: