It's been a whirlwind few weeks across the tennis landscape, with both Serena Williams and Roger Federer stepping away from the court and closing the books on their respective record-setting careers.
Williams announced her retirement ahead of her last U.S. Open in New York, where she injected some firepower into the New York sports betting landscape with an inspired run to the third round before falling to Ajla Tomljanovic.
Federer then announced his retirement soon after the conclusion of the most recent slam, which he did not compete in due to lingering knee injuries.
While it remains to be seen who will supplant Williams as the face of women's tennis, the future of the men's game looks brighter than ever.
For nearly two decades, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have dominated the field (to put it lightly), combing for 63 grand slam titles since 2003.
But with Federer calling it a career, Nadal at age 36, and Djokovic embroiled in a vaccination controversy that has left him unable to compete in several recent slams, young talented faces are breaking through on the men's circuit and look poised for years to come.
None more so than 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who just captured his first slam at the U.S. Open this month.
The Spaniard is now the youngest ever No. 1 men's player in the world, and may very well become the new face of the game in short order.
But can Alcaraz and his contemporaries truly give the records of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic a run?
NewYorkBets took a look at the career slam totals of the three legends and the pace at which they won to see if Alcaraz, 26-year-old Daniil Medvedev and 23-year-old Casper Ruud can become the next Big 3 across men's tennis.
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First & Most Recent Grand Slam Wins For Big 3
Hard Acts to Follow
While Alcaraz, Medvedev and Ruud look like perennial favorites across NY bettings apps for years to come, whether they can get within reach of The Big 3's records requires a closer look at the dominance of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.
Federer collected his first slam in 2003 at Wimbledon at age 21, two years older than Alcaraz is now. Nadal, similar to Alcaraz, was 19 when he entered the history books at the 2005 French Open. Djokovic was 20 years old when he broke onto the scene with a title at the 2008 Australian Open.
While Alcaraz is younger than both Federer and Djokovic were when they won their first slams, it's far from a guarantee he will be able to match the pace both men carried on for years following their maiden victories.
In Federer's case, to say his performance at the All England Club in 2003 opened the floodgates would be an understatement. Two years later at the age of 23, Federer had already raised his slam total to five, nearly winning the Grand Slam in 2004 (minus the French) and winning again at Wimbledon in 2005.
Nadal and Djokovic also kicked their respective doors down. By the end of the 2010 tennis season, Nadal had captured nine slams in total (averaging 1.5 slam wins a year from 2005).
Djokovic had captured six slams in total by the end of the 2013 season, averaging one slam a year from 2008-2013.
In total, by the age of 25, tennis' Big 3 had captured 25 slams: 6 for Djokovic, 9 for Nadal and 9 for Federer.
The Task Ahead
The question of whether Alcaraz can crack any of the Big 3's records is a daunting one, even with his youth.
In order for the Spaniard to simply get on pace to catch Federer's 20 slam titles (the lowest of the Big 3), he will need to win eight more slams over the next six years. Not out of the question, but hardly a given.
And even if he accomplishes that feat, he will be less than halfway to Federer's mark, and possibly even farther behind Nadal (22) and Djokovic (21) should they each add more slams in the near future.
Another hard fact for Alcaraz? He's currently not the betting favorite at Caesars Sportsbook NY for the next slam, the Australian Open. He sits at +350 behind Djokovic (+150) and Medvedev (+300).
While that's certainly no slight from the oddsmakers, it shows how difficult it will be for Alcaraz to maintain the pace of the Big 3.
A Look at Daniil Medvedev and Casper Ruud
With Alcaraz clearly the front-runner to become the face of men's tennis, who could join him to form the next potential Big 3?
NewYorkBets likes the odds of both Medvedev and Ruud, though neither are likely to threaten the 20-slam threshold passed only by Nadal, Djokovic and Federer.
Medvedev, like Alcaraz, is a U.S. Open champion, but at 26 years old, that remains his only slam title to date (he lost in the past two Aussie Open finals). While the Russian looks like a strong bet to become a multiple slam champion (BetMGM NY has him at +300 for January's Aussie Open), Medvedev simply got too late of a start to threaten the 20 slam mark.
Medvedev will turn 27 early next year, and didn't capitalize in his early twenties in the manner the Big 3 did. Nadal, Federer and Djokovic all had at least seven slams by the time they were 27.
That brings us to 23-year-old Casper Ruud, who has 9 ATP titles in his young career and 2 Grand Slam runner-ups (losses to Nadal and Alcaraz).
The Norwegian also looks poised to collect multiple slams in the coming years, as he rose to No. 2 in the world following the U.S. Open.
But, like Medvedev, he simply is already behind the paces of the Big 3, even at a still young age.
Should Ruud want to match Djokovic's slam pace by the age of 27, he would need to collect seven slams in the next four years.
Where does this leave us? While players like Medvedev, Ruud and perhaps Alexander Zverev and/or Jannik Sinner will likely step into the spotlight of men's tennis for years to come, only Alcaraz has a true opportunity to reach the slam records of the modern Big 3.