Never before in the history of modern-day tennis have three men dominated the top of the sport as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have over the past five years.
It's as if the rest of the field in the 96-player draw at this week's Sony Ericsson Open are playing for one available spot in the semifinals and nothing more.
Sure, Andy Murray won Key Biscayne in 2009 and has been knocking on the door in the four majors. But every time the temperamental Scot has reached a semifinal (six) or final ((three), that door has been "slammed" shut on him by one of the terrific trio.
Of the last 21 Slams, only Argentine giant Juan Martin Del Potro has wrested a major away from the Big Three, when he stunned Federer in the 2009 U.S. Open finals. But a wrist injury has derailed his progress, and he has reached just one major quarterfinal since.
Call it the Continental (grip) Divide or the Grand (Slam) Canyon, but the chasm at the top of the men's rankings has never been wider.
"I think it's going to be this way for the oreseeable future," said Darren Cahill, a former top-25 player and ESPN-TV analyst. "These three and Andy Murray have separated themselves from the tour.
"These guys aren't showing any weaknesses, and they stand up at every single tournament, whether it's a Masters or Slam. ... From a standard of physicality and from a pure ball-striking ability, we're seeing something pretty special," Cahill said.
At 30, the third-ranked Federer has gone 37-2 since last year's U.S. Open, but while he has won a record 16 Slams, he hasn't lifted the trophy in his past eight. The so-called GOAT (greatest of all time) is just 9-18 against his arch-nemesis Nadal (before Indian Wells' late semi).
Nadal, 25, the king of clay with six French Open titles and 10 Slams overall, has shown signs of physical deterioration, but after taking six weeks off before the hard-court season, seems revitalized.
While the second-ranked Nadal seems to be in Federer's head, the sensational Serb, Djokovic, has owned the top-spinning Spaniard, beating him in seven consecutive finals, including the last three majors.
"Our matches in the past have made me a better player, made me to understand what I need to work on to win against them," said the top-ranked Djokovic, 24, who has won four of the last five majors.
"It's thrilling for us. It's challenging. It's interesting for the crowd, for the tournaments, to always see the top players playing against each other. It's something that, at the present moment, gives men's tennis that extra positive vibe in sports."
American favorite Andy Roddick has tried everything he can to become a member of this near-exclusive "Alpha Gamma Slam" fraternity. He did make a cameo appearance by winning the 2003 U.S. Open, but since then has been denied entrance in four other major finals -- all by Federer.
"The way the four guys are playing right now is the best the game has been played so far," Roddick said. "I know everyone wants to compare generations and it's fun, and then you get something you can argue about with your father. But it's an impossibility."
Other hopefuls trying to penetrate this tennis force field are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Milos Raonic and 6-foot-9 American John Isner, who will crack the top 10 this week after stunning Djokovic in the semis at Indian Wells on Saturday.
"I'm amazed how deep we go in every tournament, the four of us, since a long time now," Federer said. "But then again, the surface sort of allows us to do that, too. It's just a different time. And we're very good players."
The gap is so wide that the powers-to-be are considering increasing prize money for early-round losers.
"Their games are so much more well-rounded than any of the previous generations," Cahill said. "Every time they step on the court, we're wondering what's going to happen today. Can Roger do this? Can Rafa do that? Can Novak continue to be dominant? At the moment, we're very fortunate to be in this era."