Waiting the night before a grand slam final is often described by tennis players as one of the hardest nights to try to get some sleep. Often players describe it as being the most nervous they have ever been in their lives. Most would make scenarios in their head about how the match would eventuate . Playing out the outcome of the match, the trophy celebration, holding the trophy above their head, or standing dejected with the runner-up plate.
It is so difficult to even make a grand slam final. Many have never been able to experience the feeling of even losing a grand slam final. However, winning can also be so temporary. The elation, the euphoria, the child who dreams every night of being in this situation, can begin and end so quickly. The feeling, despite being the most intense feeling a tennis player could ever experience, is ephemeral. A few months down the track, another major waits, and you want that one.
It is why what the big 4 have done is something which is so impressive. Even Andy Murray, who managed to win 3 grand slams, participated in 11 grand slam finals. Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic, however, have each played in at least 30 grand slam finals each. The exhilaration is in making a major final at least once in their lives, for most players. For the big 3? It is, on average, a twice yearly occurrence. Almost like summer and winter for normal folk.
In the US, Federer was like clockwork in New York. He made 6 consecutive US Open finals. His record ever since is almost unfathomable compared to his history as the greatest champion in US Open history. However, even the Federer who has had very mixed results over the last decade in New York, has made a grand slam final there in recent memory. Many almost overlook his 2015 US Open run, where he played a fantastic two weeks before being brought to a stop by Novak Djokovic.
So the question remains: Would you rather win 1 grand slam, and never experience another grand slam final again, or would you prefer the chance of competing for another 10, albeit losing all of them?