Only on four occasions in the last 70 Grand Slam events did neither of the top-two ranked players enter the quarter-finals.
Dominic Thiem’s maiden Grand Slam title win on Sunday, September 13, was the first men’s singles Major, in over 15 years to not have featured the big three – Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal – in the quarter-finals.
With the 39-year-old Federer nursing an injured knee, Djokovic disqualified after accidentally hitting a lineswoman and Nadal opting out due to COVID-19 fears, the 2020 U.S. Open marked a rare occasion without the Big-3 in the closing rounds.
Long spell broken
Starting with the 2004 Wimbledon, for 63 consecutive grandslams, at least one of the big three entered the quarter-finals, until the 2020 U.S. Open during which Djokovic got disqualified in the fourth round. The table lists how many among them reached the quarter-finals in each event. For instance, in the 2008 Australian Open all three entered the quarter-finals, while in the 2009 French Open only one of them did so.
A rare event
Only on four occasions in the last 70 Grand Slam events did neither of the top-two ranked players (rank at the start of the tournament was considered) enter the quarter-finals. The table lists the highest ranked player to have entered the quarter-final stage in an event.
For instance, in 2003, the highest-ranked player to enter the Wimbledon quarter-finals was Roger Federer with a ranking of 5 (The top three – Andre Agassi, Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero lost before the quarters while fourth-ranked Carlos Moya did not play).