In men’s tennis, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal make up the Big Three. They have combined to win 29 of the last 30 Grand Slam tournaments. Andy Murray has long been viewed as the likeliest player to challenge the talented trio, and he finally broke through by winning the gold medal at the Olympics several weeks ago.
Can anyone challenge the Big Three in the Desert Valley League — La Quinta, Palm Desert and Palm Springs?
It’s been 10 years since any team has done so. In 2002, Cathedral City and La Quinta tied for the DVL title with a 5-1 record. Since then, the three perennial DVL powers have finished 1-2-3 in some order every year to advance to the playoffs.
The only anomaly occurred in 2007 when Palm Springs lost to Cathedral City 45-40 in the regular season finale. It’s the only time in the past 10 seasons when either Indio, Cathedral City or Coachella Valley has defeated one of the Big Three. But there were extenuating circumstances. The Indians were rattled after coach Steve Fabian was injured in a sideline collision. Although Palm Springs finished in a three-way tie with Indio and Cathedral City, the Indians earned the playoff berth by virtue of a tiebreaker. They eventually lost in the semifinals to Palm Desert.
Last year, the gap between the Big Three and Indio, Cathedral City and Coachella Valley was wide. In nine games between the two groups, the average margin of victory was approximately 43 points. The closest game was Palm Desert’s 31-10 victory over Indio.
Like Andy Murray, will a team emerge and finally knock off one of the Big Three?
A celebration as wild as Murray’s after he won the gold medal will ensue if it happens. It would be a great scene to witness, and we would print the result with a big, bold headline in The Desert Sun the following day. But will it happen this year?
Check back on the blog Tuesday to see my answer, along with previews of Cathedral City, Coachella Valley, Indio and Xavier Prep.