At the end of last year, tennis appeared to be well on its way out of the Big Four era. Yes, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic were still the top two players in the world (and with a wide gap between them and everyone else), but their counterparts in the group, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, had both struggled with various injuries throughout the year as age took its inevitable toll on them.
One month later, two of the members of the Big Four absorbed early, shocking upsets in Melbourne, while the other two faced off in the final of the season's first Grand Slam, with the winner overcoming a long-standing, well-known head-to-head disadvantage. If that description had been provided to anyone before the event began, it would have been expected that Murray had finally bested Djokovic and claimed his first Australian Open crown.
Instead, it was Federer and Nadal facing off in their first Grand Slam final in almost six years - a remarkable match that more than lived up to the hype (and easily justified my decision to wake up at 2:30 AM to watch it live). Federer's victory, rallying from a break deficit in the fifth set, gives him an 18th Grand Slam title. We'll cover the historical ramifications of said title when we update Grand Slam Scores in a later post, but for now, how does this affect his standing in the shorter-view Melog ratings?