Novak Djokovic was just one win away from creating a 52-year history in the Open Era. Not since Rod Laver in 1969 had that feat being achieved. Djokovic had won the Australian Open, created history by becoming the first player in the Open Era to win all four Grand Slams twice. After winning Wimbledon, he drew level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slam titles. Djokovic had reached the final in grand style but he lost in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev.
Although the Calendar Grand Slam was not achieved, he still broke the record for the most week as the world number one with 337 weeks. Djokovic suffered his only loss in Grand Slams in the last tournament of the year. Now, the future remains uncertain for Djokovic after a punishing three months that saw him win Wimbledon, miss out on the Tokyo Olympics medal, and also miss out on the US Open title. In the post-match press conference, Djokovic dropped a hint as to what was his future plans.
Djokovic has given a subtle hint that he has no plans to retire. He wants to ensure that he wins more Grand Slams. However, the Serb did admit that there was a change of guard in the sport. The emergence of Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Dominic Thiem has been well-documented.
“Transition is inevitable, but us older guys, we are still there. I want to keep going and try to win more Slams and play for my country. Those are the things that motivate me the most at this point. But I think tennis is in good hands,” Novak Djokovic said.
The Serb’s fatigue on the big day finally caught up with him. But, the amount of support that he had received in the US Open made him emotional after the match. “I would like to say that tonight, even though I have not won the match. My heart is filled with joy. I am the happiest man alive because you guys made me feel very special on the court,” Djokovic stated after the end of the match.
But, with the 2021 season now almost done, it remains to be seen what the big three of Tennis want to do in 2022. Djokovic, Nadal and Federer are tied on 20 Grand Slam titles and all are on the wrong side of 30. Federer’s 2021 was plagued by injuries and his loss at Wimbledon raised speculations that he might retire soon. Nadal also did not participate in any tournament after the end of the French Open.
The 2022 season is important for men’s Tennis. With the new blood making a resurgence, the time for Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer to win more Grand Slams might be over. A win for any of the three will put them on new ground. Djokovic will be aiming to continue his domination in Australia. Nadal would want to stage a resurgence in France. Federer would want to bow out with another Wimbledon title.
But, the 2022 ATP season could be a new chapter in the history of the sport, with the big three taking a back step in favour of the new generation of the players.