It’s no secret that Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have dominated all facets of the men’s game, including the ATP Masters 1000 tournaments as they own a combined 106 titles between them.
However, it looks like the ATP’s “Big 4” has hit a bit of a snag when it comes to winning in Indian Wells and Miami. For the first time since 2002-’03, three stagings of the tournaments that make up the “Sunshine Double” have gone by without one of them coming out on top.
In 2004, Federer captured his first Indian Wells title, kicking off a six-year run where at least one of the two hard-court titles were claimed by the four. That streak came to an end in 2010, when Ivan Ljubicic defeated Andy Roddick in the Indian Wells final, followed by Roddick denying Tomas Berdych in Miami.
After Roddick’s win, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray won the next 14 titles between them, with Djokovic sweeping the events for four years and Federer pulling the feat off in 2017 as part of his recent renaissance.
Last year, though, is when the mini-streak for the rest of the field started. In Indian Wells, Juan Martin del Potro beat Federer in a three-set battle for his first career Masters title. Del Potro’s bid for a sweep of the two tournaments came to a halt at the hands of John Isner, who defeated Alexander Zverev in the final for the biggest win of his career.
Kicking off this year’s Masters tournaments, Dominic Thiem also recorded his first tournament triumph at that level in Indian Wells, denying Federer the crown. He won't win the "Sunshine Double" though after falling in straight sets to Hubert Hurkacz in his opening round in Miami.
At the Miami Open, only Djokovic and Federer are there representing the four players who have dominated the men’s game for so long. Will a new champion be crowned, or will the title end up in either of their hands?
A hungry field, surely inspired by the most recent “Sunshine Double” tournament winners, will look to keep their own streak alive.
Follow Van on Twitter: @Van_Sias