World No. 1 Andy Murray was sent home from Australia by the 29-year-old German Mischa Zverev, ranked No. 50 in the world. Is it a new era in tennis? Someday it’ll have to be, and fans may point to the Australian Open 2017 as the moment when the Big Four finally left the scene. World No. 2 Novak Djokovic is also out down under, the 29-year-old star having surrendered to 30-year-old World No. 117 Denis Istomin. The Big Four can’t break up officially or anything, like the Beatles, but younger hunger will be served eventually — and the hits will stop coming. For now it’s parity or maybe just bad luck, rather than youth that’s challenging the Big Four dominance. Murray, 29, is the same age as Zverev.
A Russian-born lefthander, the 6’3″ Zverev charged the net 188 times against the indefatigable Scotsman, winning 65 points there in a Pete Sampras-style gambit. He hit some spectacular shots, nailing the line on multiple occasions with full swing overheads. It was enough to keep Murray at bay and out of the Australian quarterfinals, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.