Roger Federer won his first Grand Slam title in the summer of 2003, his first of six Wimbledon titles. Rafael Nadal won his first Roland Garros in 2005, his first of five in six years. The two have 26 grand slam titles between them, winning them in the last 34 majors, 76.4% split between two men.
Still, some of those that have come before are still out there. Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero are still playing, Juan Martin del Potro is looking for his way back to the top while Novak Djokovic is looking to repeat a three grand slam year.
Llyeton Hewitt, Australia
At 30, Lleyton Hewitt, is far from the days of the early 00’s, when he won two grand slam titles and reached the number one spot in the ATP rankings. Hewitt beat Pete Sampras in straight sets at the 2001 US Open, reaching the world #1 a few months later.
In 2002 he won at Wimbledon, beating David Nalbandian in straight sets to capture his second Grand Slam title. He dropped only two sets during the tournament. Since then? Reached the 2004 US Open final, losing to Roger Federer, and the 2005 Australian Open final, losing to Marat Safin. He’s currently 182nd in the world, winning his last title in June 2010.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, Spain
A pro since 1998, Ferrero peaked in late 2002 going into 2003, before the Roger Federer domination took over. He reached the 2002 French Open final, losing to compatriot Alberto Costa in the final. A year later he won his first and only Slam title, beating Martin Verkerk in the finals. He also made the US Open final that year, losing to Andy Roddick.
He did reach the top of the ATP rankings in late 2003, and is #47 these days. He was rather successful in 2010, winning three singles titles and managed one title in 2011. All of his recent successes have been on clay.
Andy Roddick, United States
No longer the no.1 American player on tour, Roddick won his lone Grand Slam title in 2003, beating Juan Carlos Ferrero at the US Open final. He reached four Grand Slam finals after that one, losing all of them to Roger Federer. Roddick, who was the number one player in the world for a short while in 2003 is still among the top 20, after over a decade on tour, lately ranking at 16. His last title was nearly a year ago, winning in Memphis.
Roger Federer, Switzerland
Sixteen and counting, although Federer will be two years without a Grand Slam title by the time the 2012 Australian Open kicks off. The best player in the history of the game, if the major title count for anything. Beginning his domination of anything not clay related, Federer won his first Wimbledon in 2003, winning five more later on. He has four Australian Open titles, five consecutive at the US Open and one oh so important at the Roland Garros. He’s currently the number 3 player in the world.
Rafael Nadal, Spain
The only thing that has stopped Roger Federer from reaching an incredible number of Grand Slam years and titles before Federer’s age actually did the rest of the work, although it’s not done with him yet. Nadal has won 10 Slam titles so far, also completing a career grand slam in 2010 by winning his first US Open. He has one Australian Open title as well, six at the Roland Garros, his playing ground, and twice at Wimbledon. He has beaten Federer in five of those finals, losing to him twice.
Novak Djokovic, Serbia
In 2008, Djokovic won his first Grand Slam title after annihilating Roger Federer in the Semi Final and Tsonga in the final. The Australian Open was supposed to be his bursting onto the scene, but it took three more years for Djokovic to become the best player in the world, winning three Grand Slam titles in 2011 while destroying anyone and everything in his way. The current world number one has quite a job ahead of him in 2012 in order to keep his dominating position in the world of tennis.
Juan Martin Del Potro, Argentina
Once upon a time, it looked like Juan Martin del Potro is going to join the top of the ATP rankings, especially after beating Roger Federer in a thrilling 2009 US Open final. Then came the injuries, and Del Potro is fighting his way back, trying to find his way to the top echelon. He’s currently 11th in the world, and a healthy year should put him very close to where he was just over two years ago.