Have a look at this:

1. Rafael Nadal
2. Novak Djokovic
3. Stanislas Wawrinka

That just looks funny, and that's to Wawrinka's monumental credit.

Now, look at this:

1. Rafael Nadal
2. Novak Djokovic
3. Stanislas Wawrinka
4. Juan Martin del Potro

Tier 2 breathes. Tier 2 lives. Tier 2 almost rules! After Stanislas Wawrinka beat Rafael Nadal in four sets (6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3) to win the Australian Open on Sunday, Tier 2 has invaded the impasse and dislodged half the logjam in the ATP rankings. Tier 2 has dwelled beneath the four-man hegemony of this golden tennis era for so long that you might want to call these guys "Tier 3" and, in fact, nobody really calls them "Tier 2" anyway, because nobody really calls them anything. The chances are you could walk past Tier 2 mainstay Tomas Berdych on the street and think only, Wow, that guy's tall.

They're the cadre of players forever beneath Federer-Nadal-Djokovic-Murray, and some have shown a yeoman capacity to endure in those rankings spots between 5 and 10. Seldom has such capacity intersected with such anonymity. Some even like that anonymity. Asked once about that anonymity, Tier 2 de facto CEO David Ferrer said sincerely, "I don't care." Ferrer and his anonymity have earned $22 million in prize money. Doggedly they have reached a whopping 10 straight Grand Slam quarterfinals, one final. In that final, Ferrer played Nadal. Nobody noticed Ferrer.

So the 28-year-old Wawrinka's smelling-salts upset of Nadal on Sunday in the Australian Open final, in which Nadal was injured but Wawrinka bullied Nadal pre-injury, came as a reminder: Tier 2 boast some incredible tennis players. You shouldn't fret if you didn't know. The Humongous Four had won 34 of the previous 35 Grand Slam titles, 36 of 38, 38 of 41. From the Australian Open in 2006 to the Australian Open in 2014, only on a sole Monday in New York in September 2009 did Tier 2 revolt in full, when Roger Federer went to the net and said to victorious del Potro, "You deserve it; you had a great tournament."

At the end of 2008, the ATP Tour men's rankings went Nadal-Federer-Djokovic-Murray. After 2009, they went Federer-Nadal-Djokovic-Murray. After 2010, they went Nadal-Federer-Djokovic-Murray. After 2011, they went Djokovic-Nadal-Federer-Murray. After 2012, it was Djokovic-Federer-Murray-Nadal, and after 2013, Nadal-Djokovic-Ferrer-Murray, with Federer having slipped to No. 6, and with the latest of Ferrer's occasional pokes into the midst coming as a whisper.

Wawrinka's comes as a Grand Slam shout.

Actually, the Swiss No. 1 player -- and how strange does that sound? -- is a relative newbie in Tier 2. He began 2013 at No. 17, made excellent forays with the Australian fourth round, the French quarterfinals and the U.S. semifinals, where he collaborated with Djokovic on a five-set classic that thrilled the New Yorkers. He'd spent the past 13 weeks at No. 8. That's a Tier 2 knack.

I'm not sure, but I'm going to edge out on the limb here and guess that Berdych is the only player in history to spend 42 straight weeks at No. 7 and 39 straight weeks at No. 6. If you know anyone who knows for sure, please thank them and then get them some help. Berdych spent 2013 between No. 5 (three weeks) and No. 7, 2012 between Nos. 6 and 7, 2011 the same as 2012, 2010 getting from No. 20 to No. 6. He ought to have a No. 6 clothing line or something. That's not an insult.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a Tier 2 marvel, has spent the last two years entirely in the 5-10 range and the two years before that right at the top-10 cusp. He's at least a Tier 2 vice president. del Potro, who started 2011 at No. 259 after a surgery hiatus, has had separate runs in Tier 2, the recent one entirely between Nos. 11 and 6 in 2012 and 2013 until nudging into No. 5 last October. The proverbial Tier 2 committee is still reviewing the membership application of Richard Gasquet, having stayed between Nos. 9 and 11 since November 2012. Others have hung out in Tier 2 in recent years, from Andy Roddick pre-retirement to Janko Tipsarevic, Fernando Verdasco for a bit, Mardy Fish for a while.

And of course, by decree, the Tier 2 insignia would have to feature some sort of photo or likeness of Ferrer for doing the hard, hard slog of epitomizing Tier 2, lurking around all excellent and unnoticed.

A funky Australian lent us fresh thoughts. It reminded us that alongside forehands, backhands, court coverage and all of it, we ought to rate durability given the injury-affected losses of Serena Williams, Murray and Nadal. It reminded us to look for (and hope for) Agnieszka Radwanska to break through sometime. It promised Federer as an attacker and cemented Li Na as a titan. It reminded that humans are not meant to play tennis in 47-degree-Celsius heat. Then in the end, just before the Nadal coronation we all anticipated, it reminded us that Tier 2 players might need just one more dimension (such as confidence) to soar more, and that any Tier 2 in a golden age would have to be in the running for the best Tier 2 ever.

In fact, Tier 2 could run the risk of losing the very nickname that nobody has given it.