TENNIS: In July 1978, Bjorn Borg won the men’s singles title at Wimbledon for the third straight season. Nobody had matched that feat in over 40 years. Granted, 1 reason behind this drought was that, for the majority of the 20th century, tennis careers were rather short. Prior to the dawn of the Open Era in 1968, amateurs were not permitted to generate income from tennis.

Those few who sought to make money as pros were banned in the prestigious Grand Slam events. After prize money was allowed, there wasn’t that much available, compelling a great many players even in the 1970s and’80s to quit competing by age 30–Borg played his last major at age 25.”When I was playing, you had to win big to make big cash,” Jimmy Connors once said.

Borg’s third straight Centre Court victory lap raised his prestige to a whole other level. The Borg mystique grew more in 1980 when he earned his fifth straight Wimbledon title–and a year later, won a record sixth at Roland Garros. Those remain titanic accomplishments.


Thirteen: the number of occasions Rafael Nadal has won Roland Garros.

— Eight: Roger Federer’s tally in Wimbledon and Novak Djokovic’s in the Australian Open.

–And that is just how much the Big 3 have dominated the majors. Federer has won the singles at Halle and Basel 10 times apiece.

Djokovic hasn’t dropped in Beijing, racking up six titles along with a 29-0 game album. Then there is Nadal’s clay-court path to Roland Garros: Monte Carlo (11 names ), Barcelona (11), Rome (9). That is no mere road. It’s a rampage.

“Winning begets winning,” says strategy coach Craig O’Shannessy, that has worked with a number of top pros, including Djokovic. “We see it with these guys winning these very same events every year.”O’Shannessy believes one big reason behind such dominance is that the top players are in a position to more carefully manage their schedules with long-term achievement in mind.”

In Halle, Federer dedicated to playing for five decades,” he says. “You see the marriage of the player and the tournament. So then you get familiarity–with the requirements, together with all the courts, together with everything.”

However while in certain cases continued excellence at a certain tournament is caused by planning and even a specified business relationship with an occasion, the manner Federer has organized with Halle and Basel, in other situations, it comes down to more subjective factors.”Sometimes a player just feels more relaxed in one town than another,” states 1993 Roland Garros doubles winner Luke Jensen.

“It may be the hotel, a restaurant, getting to and from the tournament, the speed of the courtroom, a friendly face at the transport desk–any and all those small things can make a big difference in the way you perform.”And for repeat champions who add considerable luster to the marquee, you can be sure tournament directors take every prevent potential to make sure all those player-friendly characteristics are appropriately managed –right down to the proper mint on a pillow…


Beyond the makeup of a specific tournament, in more recent decades, there were considerable upgrades in the maintenance and care section. When Borg went to championships, his service team largely consisted of his own coach, Lennart Bergelin. For matters related to his entire body, Borg relied on the on-site team of coaches that treated everyone entered in the case.

It is different today.” As more money has become our sport, especially at the top, gamers have the ability to hire a group-specific people for specific purposes,” says O’Shannessy. “For Roger, Rafa, and Novak, they could hire somebody for strength, another person for flexibility. Just think about that: Roger has had someone on daily basis care for his body. Every tiny tweak has cared for immediately.

So that the body is not aging just like it used to. The physio is the MVP.” Having worked with 10 players ranked No. 1 in the world, Hall of Famer Nick Bollettieri is very knowledgeable about continuing performance.”It’s not just exercising with your trainer,” says Bollettieri.

“it is a total dictionary. What they drink, what they eat–every single thing can be measured and studied. It’s completely changed, the bodily and psychological. It is a science”It adds up to a combination that is powerful and intimidating.” The mindset of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic is amazing,” says Bollettieri. “They think that they’re winners. They have proven they’re winners. And I believe that gets in the mind of opponents.

They instill fear.”And yet, every year, the same message echoes: the depth is increasingly greater, a threat from a lower-ranked participant that far more likely, the flaws among the Top 100 surely less pronounced. That would certainly preclude dominance, would not it? How, then, are Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic capable to stay so much better and keep to win these championships year in, year out?

Federer, after his 2017 rush to eighth Wimbledon: “Winning eight is not something you can ever aim for, in my estimation. If you do, I do not know, you must have so much ability and parents as well as the coaches who push you in age three on, who think you’re like a job.”

Djokovic, after winning his eighth Australian Open earlier this year: “My upbringing was in Serbia during many wars throughout the ’90s, tough time, embargo in our country in which we needed to wait in line for bread, water, milk, some basic things in life. These types of things make you stronger and hungrier for success that I believe in whatever you decide to perform… That is probably one reason why I was able to find that extra gear or necessary, I figure, mental strength to conquer challenges when they present themselves.”

Nadal, earlier this month after winning his 13th title at Roland Garros: “In the game, the entire life changes fast. I did the things that I had to do with the big support of my team. I had all the time my staff alongside supporting and me, especially in the tough days since is hard to work each and every day without a transparent schedule. Is great to have these great professionals and great human beings alongside me to push me and also to help me in those hard days, no!”