Source: AFP

Who will end Roger and Rafa’s reign?

Last week saw the tennis season come to a close with Grigor Dimitrovcrowned the ATP Finals champion. Overcoming David Goffin in a dramatic three sets, he became the first debutant to win the prestigious year-end tournament in 19 years.

Make no mistake though – 2017 was, unquestionably, the Roger and Rafa show.

Rolling back the years, the two greatest tennis players of all time clinched two grand slams apiece, taking their combined tally to 35, and ended the year firmly on top of ATP World Rankings. Their renaissance was nothing short of remarkable, particularly given that both overcame injury concerns at the start of the season. Once again we are left wondering if anyone else can catch them.

Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic, have certainly pushed Federer and Nadal over the years. The latter, in particular, has been a real contender to end the duo’s dominance, and arguably has every right to be included in the same bracket as the pair. However all three champions, who were side-lined for various parts of the season, are now over 30. More worryingly for those in the Djokovic camp, the 12 times grand slam champion has sighted a loss of motivation to compete at the top of the men’s game.

The aforementioned finalists, Dimitrov and Goffin, are hopeful prospects to challenge the tennis status quo. Although their performance in the ATP Finals will instil them with confidence, at 26 we would have expected them to have tasted grand slam success by now.

Our attention naturally turns to the next generation of tennis players, of which Alexandez Zverev (20) is the established leader, winning two Masters titles this year and soaring to No. 4 in the rankings. Add the enigmatic Australian Nick Kyrigos, who previously upset Nadal at Wimbledon, to the mix and we are certainly in store for an exciting year ahead.

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