Greatness jumped a generation during tennis’ “Big Three” era

The “Big Three” era of men’s tennis ended last week with a farewell post on Roger Federer’s Instagram account. To tell you how long he’s been around, Federer had 16 major titles when Instagram was invented.

The Swiss master’s departure ushers in a period of dominance unlike anything tennis has ever seen – a period in which Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic took 63 of a possible 75 Grand Slam tournaments over two decades. During this time, the Big Three deferred the question of who could succeed them simply by sticking around. Federer won an Australian Open at age 37. Nadal and Djokovic – 36 and 35 respectively – have taken three of the four Grand Slam tournaments this season.

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