Decade 2010s

The fifth decade of the Open Era  [2010-2019]
# Rafael Nadal, like Jimmy Connors (1974), Mats Wilander (1988) and Roger Federer (three different years), wins three majors within a season, thanks to his first title in New York, he shares with Andre Agassi a so-called “Career Golden Slam” (all Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal)
# Fabrice Santoro plays his farewell Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open) becoming the first man who notched at least 70 majors… participating in them in four different decades, which is a specific record too
# Nadal becomes the first player to win the same tournament in six consecutive years (Monte Carlo), he follows that triumph with titles in Rome & Madrid surpassing Agassi‘s record of the most ‘Masters Series’ titles
# The Bryan brothers establish a new record in tournaments won by a team
# John Isner and Nicolas Mahut play at Wimbledon a titanic first-round match, extended to three days (they produced an unimaginable ’59:59′ unfinished set in the middle day) on Court No. 18, overcoming multiple records, the three most important, insurmountable:
longest match: 11 hours 5 minutes (previous record: 6:35h)
# longest 5th set in terms of games: 70-68 (previous record: 21-19)
most aces served: each of them more than 100 (previous record: 78)
# The year of amazing Novak Djokovic‘s supremacy. The Serb wins three majors, and wins all six finals he plays against Rafael Nadal! In Australia, Nadal was trying to win his fourth consecutive Slam when lost in the quarterfinals
# Djokovic, with his 43-match winning streak (initiated at the end of 2010 claiming the Davis Cup), joins Bjorn Borg, Guillermo Vilas, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, and Roger Federer as the 6th man to win at least 40 matches in succession in the Open Era
# Daniel Nestor becomes the first player to win at least 800 doubles matches and the season-ending ‘Masters’ with three different partners; after clinching a title in Shanghai he is the only player (singles or doubles) to win all ‘Masters’ events
# Federer triumphs at the year-end championships second straight year without a loss to get the record 6th ‘Masters’ title; he faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga eight times which is the most matches between two players within a season
#Andy Murray, coached by the legend, 8-time Slam champion Ivan Lendl, ends successfully his campaign at the US Open becoming the first player of Great Britain in 76 years to win a major! The gusty wind helped him in the final
#Novak Djokovic is the best player in the world second straight year, however, it’s the most balanced season since 2003; for the first time in nine years four different players win Grand Slam tournaments… at Aussie Open, the Serb defeats Rafael Nadal after the longest final in history (5 hours 53 minutes); they play four Grand Slam finals in a row against each other (!), never before two players dominated the circuit to such a degree
# Pete Sampras‘ record of the most weeks (286) on No. 1 is broken by Roger Federer when the Swiss celebrates at Wimbledon for the seventh time (as many as Sampras)… the Swiss waited two years to overcome the record because he stuck at 285 weeks
# Surprisingly a player outside the Big 4, David Ferrer, notches the most victories in tournaments (7) and wins the most matches (76); paradoxically he achieves his biggest success indoors instead of clay or hard (Paris)
# The Bryan brothers become the first doubles specialists to have collected all the most important titles as they get the Gold medal at the Olympics (earlier they’d won all Grand Slams, Davis Cup, and Masters); Mike Bryan overcomes Todd Woodbridge‘s record of the most doubles titles, winning his 84th (two without the twin brother)
# Clay-court tournament is played for the first time on a blue surface (Madrid) with mixed acceptance & the new idea is rejected in the aftermath

# The Olympics bring two new records regarding decisive 3rd sets with two-game advantage: in time (Federer d. Del Potro, 4 hours 26 minutes) and in number of games played (Tsonga d. Raonic, 25-23)
# After 15 months of Novak Djokovic‘s dominance over Rafael Nadal (H2H 7:0), the Spaniard finally solves the riddle in Monte Carlo 2012 and continues his good streak facing the Serb in 2013 (period with H2H 6:1, including three major meetings)
# Nadal returns to No. 1, but when the season kicked off it was a difficult task; the Spaniard missed seven months and when he came back to the tour in February ’13 he didn’t shine in the first small ATP events while Djokovic seemed to keep the fantastic form of two previous years
# Roger Federer loses 2R at Wimbledon, he didn’t lose a major match before the quarterfinals since 2004 (!); he wins only 1 title, he is 32 y.o. and seems finished like many great players at his age before (he has few good years ahead though)
# The Moravian Czechs (Tomas Berdych & Radek Stepanek) defend the Davis Cup title, Stepanek joins a narrow list of four players to clinch the most prestigious Cup twice; a year before they pushed Czechia to the last final of the World Team Cup (the event held in Dusseldorf disappears from the calendar after 34 years); in the first round of the Davis Cup, Berdych takes part in the longest doubles match in history (seven hours one minute) which he wins against the Swiss duo
# Tommy Robredo, as the first man in the Open Era, wins three consecutive matches trailing 0-2 in sets (Roland Garros)
# It seems that the dominance of the Big 4 off the years 2008-2013 is near the finishing line; for the first time since 2003 there are four major champions, two new names added to the history of sports: Stan Wawrinka & Marin Cilic
# Kei Nishikori becomes a Top 10 player, the best Open Era player from Asia, and he’ll remain in the elite to the end of the decade, he has the skills (technique & mental) to play on equal terms against the top guys, but he’s physically unable to deliver his best tennis day-by-day which deprives him of becoming a Slam champion
# Roger Federer rediscovers his form and plays more finals (11) than anyone else, he leads Switzerland to the Davis Cup triumph
# Juan Martin del Potro is forced by injury to miss almost the entire season for the second time in his career
# Unique situation, unprecedented in history before: the best players of a specific period (80s/90s): Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker & Stefan Edberg are coaches of the best current players – Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic & Federer respectively… among the greatest only Rafael Nadal is still loyal to his uncle Toni
# Nick Kyrgios – finally emerges a player born in the 90s who has the skills to become a major champion, it’s soon to be revealed that his work ethic is far from the required, and he’ll need another 8 years to play his first major final
# Novak Djokovic enjoys another brilliant season and virtually secures the position of the best player of the decade finishing the season for the 4th time at the top, and second year running defeating in the tight Wimbledon final (first time French Open and Wimbledon separated by three weeks) the aging Roger Federer… in retrospect, Djokovic was only two sets away from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all majors as he sensationally lost to Stan Wawrinka in Paris
# Shocker during clay court season – Rafael Nadal cannot clinch a title on his favorite surface in five successive events, he seems to be finished as a top player, but two & four years later he will be the best in the world again!
# Leonardo Mayer and Joao Souza play the longest Davis Cup rubber in history (Buenos Aires 1R, six hours forty-three minutes) overcoming the previous record of the year 1982 when the no-tie-break rule obligated!
# It’s Andy Murray‘s time after 12 years when only three players were finishing seasons at the peak: Roger Federer did it 5 times, Novak Djokovic 4 times & Rafael Nadal thrice
# The 29 y.o. Murray wins the race at the finish, for the first time in history the last match of the season decides who is No. 1 and Murray defeats his toughest rival Djokovic; earlier that year the Scot defends his Olympic gold medal (Rio), no one did it in the past (it was possible only six times though) – he is very dedicated representing Great Britain, a year before almost alone he wins the Davis Cup obtaining 9.5 points (only Bjorn Borg in 1975 had a bigger impact on the Swedish success)
# Djokovic, the first man since Rod Laver, finally wins four Slams in a row, but he doesn’t do this in a calendar year (he does it between London ’15 & Paris ’16 overcoming in the finals Roger Federer twice, then Murray twice), he was one match away from that feat already in 2012
# Stan Wawrinka, who was for many years giving the impression of someone fulfilled advancing to a major semifinal at least once in his career, collects his third different & last major title (within three seasons)!
# Juan Martin del Potro comes back to action after being sidelined for almost two years and plays sensational tennis representing his country: gets Silver medal at the Olympics and leads Argentina to the first Davis Cup triumph… he faces Murray in both competitions with reverse luck
# Carlos Moya becomes Nadal‘s coach and helps him to reinvent himself – the younger Mallorcan becomes more methodical, begins to depend more on his serve, and increases the frequency of attacking the net
# An injured Federer ends his season after Wimbledon (Nadal did the same in 2012)
# Davis Cup introduces tie-breaks at 6-all in the 5th set, but ironically the first match with the 5th set tie-break will occur the following season, in the first round
# Magnificent comeback of Roger Federer; the 35-year-old player missed six months, but as he comes back he wins three big titles (Aussie Open, Indian Wells, Miami); despite terrific form he decides to skip the clay-court season for the first time in his career believing he would win his beloved Wimbledon for the first time since 2012 – it happens in incredible style, the Swiss superstar doesn’t lose a set en route to the title
# This time Novak Djokovic & Andy Murray finish their seasons after Wimbledon (Rafael Nadal did it in 2012, Federer in 2016) – Djokovic struggles with an elbow injury, Murray with his right hip
# Nadal wins the race with Federer thanks to the clay-court season in which he was unquestionably the best again (after disappointing two previous years) and thanks to the fact Federer doesn’t play on the dirt at all
# Two new events on the tennis map: Laver Cup & Next Gen (for the best players under-21 with controversial rules)
# Finally more players born in the 90s than born in the 80s finish the season in the Top 10, nonetheless it was a season in which 30-year-olds (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic & Murray) were main favorites to win the biggest titles, like ten years ago – never before a group of player ruled so long, never before players in their 30s, using modern equipment, were so good
# Incredibly sensational final at “Masters”: Grigor Dimitrov defeats David Goffin; when the season started neither of them was expected to participate in the event
# Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer finish the season in three Top positions just like ten years before!
# Federer wins his 20th major (in Australia) and shortly after, in February, becomes No. 1 as the oldest player in history (36 years, 10 months when he spends his last week at the peak in June)
# Kevin Anderson joins a solid group of players to lose two Slam finals, for many years reaching a major quarterfinal seemed his limit
# Anderson’s Wimbledon semifinal against John Isner, which lasts 6.5 hours (26-24 in the decider), forces the officials to introduce a decisive tie-break at 12-all in the following season!
# The rule of maximum time required to play between the points is unified: it’s 25 seconds for both organizations, and the time is running down on a displayed clock each time as the umpire announces the score (in the past 27 years it was 25 seconds for ATP & 20 seconds for ITF, but the rule especially under the ITF was constantly violated & matches “the best of five” turned to be ridiculously long)
# Andy Murray is back in action after a 12-month break
# It’s crazy, actually surreal: in the first Wimbledon with a rule of decisive tie-break at 12-all, the only match with that specific tie-break occurs in the final, and Novak Djokovic for the third time in his career defeats Roger Federer saving a double match point in the 5th set! Afterward, Djokovic has defeated Stan Wawrinka & Federer, each of them, four times in five-setters (before nobody had defeated anybody four times at full distance)
# Djokovic & Rafael Nadal share major titles, but the Spaniard gathers ~800 points more
# Nadal, Djokovic & Federer are the best three players together for the 8th (!) and last time, but behind them, there are finally a bunch of hungry youngsters
# …one of them it’s Daniil Medvedev (b. 1996), who at the age of 23 rediscovers himself, shows no emotion winning sets & matches, and wins them a lot in the second half of the season; two others, a bit younger players (Alexander Zverev & Stefanos Tsitsipas) also look like future Slam champions
# Federer is 38-year-old, twenty ATP seasons in his body, and ultimately reaches his physical limits; in Halle & Basel, his “bedrooms”, he collects the last titles (10th title in each German-speaking city), with 103 titles he will not overcome Jimmy Connors, who was playing well at 40
# Hopman Cup (Perth), the only event  in which men & women are teamed, is played for the last time after 30 years (Switzerland wins the last two editions; Federer‘s first and third contribution are separated by 18 years)
# First season with a modified Davis Cup structure, Nadal helps Spain to get the title (Madrid) for the sixth time, first time in the “best of three” format
# Andy Murray‘s career is seriously threatened, at the Australian Open he plays something which might be his last match, afterwards he undergoes second hip surgery, comes back after 5 months and wins a doubles title in his first appearance (alongside Feliciano Lopez, who a year before establishes a record of the most Grand Slam events in succession – 66)!

The 2020s