A few years ago, tennis has undergone a historical transformation with regards to the speed of the various surfaces: clay became faster, grass became slower, as did a lot of the hard courts, and carpet disappeared. Furthermore, the balls also changed. Everything was put in place to even out the speed as much as possible. For what purpose? So that the best players would be in the decisive stages in a vast majority of tournaments.
The ATP and the ITF have been entirely successful with those changes, which had for consequence that the crowd favourites have been playing the final of most of the important tournaments. For instance, since Wimbledon 2003, Roger Federer (17), Rafael Nadal (14), and Novak Djokovic (8) have had the monopoly of the Grand Slams, winning 39 of the last 47 majors.
The last year in which surface specialists have won the Grand Slams was in 2000:
- Australian Open: Andre Agassi (counter-puncher)
- Roland Garros: Gustavo Kuerten (a solid player from the back of the court)
- Wimbledon: Pete Sampras (serve and volleyer)
- U.S. Open: Marat Safin (aggressivity and power)
To this day, Novak Djokovic is the player who possesses the best of those champions, showing exact measures of winner’s mentality and flexibility. He showed it again last week, winning the Masters 1000 of Rome after defeating Roger Federer in the final, and having won his last 22 matches, on both cement and clay, which makes him the favourite to win the French Open, further proof that the experiment of the best tennis organisations of the world bore fruits.