Novak Djokovic provided - should it have been required - proof of his supremacy on hard courts and at the Australian Open. Fighting back from two sets to one down, he also moved back to the top of the ATP rankings with his five-set, four-hour triumph.

Australian Open
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It was his 17th Grand Slam title - his eighth in Melbourne alone.

Dominic Thiem, meanwhile, was in his third Grand Slam final. His previous two were defeats at the hands of Rafael Nadal on the clay of Roland Garros.

The Austrian is 26 - six years younger than Djokovic. Daniil Medvedev, now aged 23, lost to Rafael Nadal in last year's US Open final. That is the closest that the next generation have come to challenging the Big Three in Grand Slams.

Watch: Fifth-set 28-shot rally between Djokovic and Thiem

The women's game has long been fascinating in the sheer number and variety of champions it offers up at Grand Slams.

New Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin is just the latest; Bianca Andreescu won her maiden Slam at the US Open in September; Ashleigh Barty won hers at Roland Garros a few months before.

Serena Williams's absence has given others a chance to break through; from the day she took maternity leave at the start of 2017 through to today, there have been seven new winners of Grand Slam titles.

Highlights: Kenin downs Muguruza to win Australian Open

That's not to say it's always been the case, though. Look back 30 years or more, and see the dominance of Stefanie Graf and Monica Seles, and before them Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, with the occasional upset; at that time, there were any one of half a dozen men vying to lift the big trophies - John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, then Jim Courier, Andre Agassi, and Pete Sampras.

This lengthy era of dominance in the men's game is pretty much unprecedented.

Three greats of the game playing at once - sure.

Three greats of the game with nobody coming up to challenge them over the course of a decade and a half - unusual.

The Big Three's contemporaries Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka have been unbelievably unlucky with injury, but still won three Grand Slams each; Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro both won lone US Opens; apart from them, it has been either Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic lifting the big trophies since the French Open in 2005.

The Tennis Legends predicted this early in the tournament, saying the men's next generation simply couldn't cope with the pressure of challenging the best in the world.

Tennis Legends - Young WTA stars have cracked it, but Next Gen men can’t cope with the pressure

Could it be that the next new men's champion is still a generation away? Perhaps men's tennis has to wait until Federer, Nadal and Djokovic choose to hang up their rackets - and then, and only then, will their epic run of victories be broken.

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