Insane Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer streak extended in Turin – by Jannik Sinner

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - who is the GOAT?

An incredible streak shared by the ‘Big Three’ of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer was extended at the 2023 ATP Finals on Thursday.

Novak Djokovic overcame alternate Hubert Hurkacz, who replaced Stefanos Tsitsipas in Turin, in three sets in his final round-robin match at the year-end championships on Thursday afternoon.

Jannik Sinner then defeated Holger Rune in a three-set battle on Thursday night to finish the group phase with a perfect 3-0 record and ensure both he and Djokovic progressed to the semi-final stage.

Djokovic’s qualification for the knockout stage extended the remarkable run of at least one of the ‘Big Three’ making the last four at the ATP Finals every year since 2002.

The streak also stands when looking at just Djokovic and Federer, with all of Nadal’s semi-final appearances having come alongside at least one of his two great rivals.

Federer began the run by making the last four for the first time at the year-end championships in 2002, and he fell at that stage to Lleyton Hewitt.

The great Swiss then won the ATP Finals in both 2003 and 2004, defeating Andre Agassi and Leyton Hewitt in the respective title matches, before falling in the final to David Nalbandian in 2005.

In 2006, Federer downed Nadal in the semi-finals in the Spaniard’s debut at the event, before crushing James Blake in the final. He overcame Nadal at the same stage the following year when he went on to beat David Ferrer to win his fourth ATP Finals crown.

Djokovic was the only ‘Big Three’ member to reach the semi-finals in 2008 and he claimed his first title at the year-end championships with a final victory over Nikolay Davydenko.

In 2009, Federer was defeated by eventual winner Davydenko in the last four, with Nadal and Djokovic both eliminated in the group stage.

The legendary trio all made the semi-finals together for the first time in 2010, with Federer beating Djokovic in the last four and Nadal in the final.

With Djokovic and Nadal both exiting at the round-robin phase in 2011, Federer won his sixth and final title at the ATP Finals with a triumph over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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Djokovic won four straight titles between 2012-2015, defeating Federer in the 2012 and 2015 finals, earning a walkover when the Swiss withdrew in 2014, and beating Nadal in 2013. Federer advanced past the group in all these years, while Nadal did in 2013 and 2015.

The Serbian was the only ‘Big 3’ representative at the 2016 ATP Finals, where he fell to Andy Murray in the final, before Federer was the lone semi-finalist in 2017, losing to David Goffin.

Djokovic was a runner-up again in 2018, when he lost to Alexander Zverev, who had also downed Federer in the last four. Only Federer made it past the round-robin stage in 2019, before losing in the semi-finals for the third straight-year in his last ATP Finals appearance – this time to eventual champion Stefanos Tsitsipas.

In 2020, both Nadal and Djokovic were beaten semi-finalists, as they lost to Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev respectively.

Djokovic fell in the last four again in 2021, losing to eventual winner Zverev, before he overcame Casper Ruud to claim a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals title in 2022 to match Federer.

The 36-year-old Serbian will learn who he will face in the 2023 semi-finals after the conclusion of the Red Group on Friday, with Daniil Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz the possible opponents.

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