With Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer struggling with injuries, can the next generation, led by Dimitrov, Thiem and Zverev, finally step up?What to make of the state of men’s tennis? For the best part of a decade a quartet of hall‑of‑famers have transcended their sport by lifting it to hitherto untouched heights with their titanic struggle for supremacy while below them a host of challengers have strained to swell the numbers of the elite club known as the Big Four. Plenty have tried, most have failed. Some have offered flashes of impertinence but only Stan Wawrinka has provided a sustained threat to the established order. The entry requirements are gruelling. The top players ally astonishing skill with an almost masochistic willingness to suffer for their art.But throughout 2017 there has been a persistent sense that the curtain may be about to fall on this golden age. Where once there was order now there is disarray. The show isn’t quite over yet, but the audience is waiting to rise to its feet and this is when the mind goes back to Andy Murray’s prediction on the eve of the ATP World Tour Finals last November. Continue reading…

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