The Big Four is stronger than ever with Andy Murray finally now having elevated himself alongside the other three. But who can upset the established order? Here are a few thoughts.
Is there anyone capable of upsetting the Big Four?
David Ferrer enjoyed a remarkable year in 2012, but still failed to win any big matches at the Major tournaments. The only players still active outside the Big Four who have managed to reach or win a Grand Slam final in recent years are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych.
Frenchman Tsonga is attempting to re-structure his game after having gone solo, without a coach. Clearly, he stalled in 2012. Still, he has rare assets to his offensive game which, if well developed, can give problems to the best in the world.
Argentine Del Potro is gradually returning to his best form after a nasty wrist injury. If he can reach his peak he can legitimately undermine the members of the top four. Still, he must be able to beat two of them consecutively if he is to win a Major.
Finally, Berdych has not been able to develop his game and no longer truly poses a threat, especially as his confidence remains volatile. Don't forget, though, that he has just won the Davis Cup against Spain by showing great determination and great mental toughness. This may have given him a boost that could mean he will be dangerous in the first quarter of 2013.
Will 2013 see the emergence of a new star?
One youngster is more advanced than the others: Milos Raonic, who continues to progress each year. He is by far the most dangerous of this group and will be mentally even stronger this year. He is the one who promises things at the moment. What also interests me is that he has no issues: he has found his place among the best and he believes he can compete with them.
Kei Nishikori also continues to advance, but the Japanese lacks the big shots to play a leading role in the immediate future.
Meanwhile, Australian Bernard Tomic, who completely messed up his 2012, continues to fuel the tabloids with his escapades away from the court.
Grigor Dimitrov and Jerzy Janowicz have showed promise and are also part of this exciting new generation. They could lay down a marker in 2013. I think they're capable of doing so and it seems credible.
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