‘SuperNova’k Djokovic pushes the barriers of greatness even higher after Wimbledon 2021

Novak Djokovic won his sixth Wimbledon title and 20th overall, tying with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Grand Slam titles but he is on the cusp of even greater success.

Novak Djokovic had earlier joined Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles. (Image credit: Wimbledon Twitter)

The holy triumvirate is complete. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and now Novak Djokovic. All these three legends now have 20 Grand Slam titles. Djokovic has joined the elite club after winning Wimbledon for the sixth time. The year 2021 is proving to be a legendary year for Djokovic, winning Australia, French, and now Wimbledon. The possibilities are legendary for Djokovic after securing Wimbledon.

Djokovic just has to win the US Open to become the second individual after Rod Laver to win the calendar Grand Slam in the Open Era. If he adds the Tokyo Olympics gold, he will join Steffi Graf as the only other Tennis player to win the Golden Grand Slam. It has been 52 years since Laver’s feat and 33 years of Graf’s brilliance. There can be no better candidate than Djokovic to achieve the Golden Grand Slam.

The brilliance of Novak Djokovic

Djokovic acknowledged after his win in Wimbledon 2021 that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are legends. Those two individuals showed where Djokovic had to improve as he made his foray into the Tennis world. Consider the turnaround that Novak Djokovic has had in his career. He burst onto the scene when Federer and Nadal were at their peak.

When 2010 arrived, Federer had won the career Grand Slam and was on top with 16 titles. Nadal had nine but was on the cusp of winning the Grand Slam himself. Novak Djokovic just had one title and that was the Australian Open. In addition, Djokovic had lost three or four major finals to both Nadal and Federer. But, with the start of the new decade, things changed drastically.

The tables have turned entirely. In 2011, he won three Grand Slams which were the Australian, Wimbledon, and US Open. In both Wimbledon and US Open, Djokovic got the better of Nadal. His three Grand Slam titles in 2011 set the foundation for future dominance. 10 years later, Djokovic has caught up with Nadal and Federer. From 2014 to 2021, Nadal and Federer won only 10 Grand Slams combined. Djokovic won a total of 14.

The three-peat of 2011 was repeated in 2015 with the Australian, Wimbledon and US Open success.

Djokovic achieves the career slam, has a better record against Federer and Nadal

Djokovic achieved the career slam in 2016 when he won the French Open. However, 2021 has cemented Djokovic as the Greatest of All Time for a variety of reasons. Out of his six Wimbledon titles, four have come by beating both Federer and Nadal. The French Open is his greatest testament.

In 16 years, Nadal has lost only thrice in the French Open. Two of those losses are against Djokovic. In his playing career, Federer never managed to beat Nadal in the French Open. Djokovic has had success against Federer and Nadal on all surfaces. In fact, he is the only player in the history of the game to have a positive head-to-head ratio against both Federer and Nadal. Djokovic has a 30-28 record against Nadal while against Federer, his record is 27-23.

But, if one excludes all the other stats, the fact that he is the only player in the history of Tennis to have won all four Grand Slams twice in the Open Era makes him a bonafide great. Period. Imagine you have won all four Grand Slams two times or more, you have better success against both Nadal and Federer, the Grand Slam tally is matched. If that does not merit a certificate for greatness, then pigs will start to fly.

Djokovic can push the barriers of greatness

If Djokovic achieves the Grand Slam, he will have 21 titles which is the most by any male player. With Federer on his last legs, the only person who can match Djokovic now is Nadal provided he is injury-free.

One can even think of breaking a lot of records on the women’s circuit as well. Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, and Margaret Court have 22, 23, and 24 Grand Slam titles respectively. If Djokovic continues to have the year that he is having for the next 3-4 years, there is no reason to believe the tally of 24 can be overhauled.

There have been only seven players in the history of Tennis to have won all four Grand Slams twice. Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, and Djokovic are from the men’s team. Court, Serena, Graf, Martina Navratilova, and Chris Evert are the players from the female side to have won all four Grand Slams two times or more. The thing that goes against Emerson is that he achieved it in the professional era. Laver did it in both the professional and Open Era which is a feat in itself.

The next two years can cement Djokovic’s reputation as one of the greatest players in the history of Tennis. If he overhauls 24, the gold standard would have shifted. But, Djokovic is already revolutionized the men’s game. Not bad who was lagging behind Federer and Nadal for a long time. Now, he is finally on par.

Sportslumo Desk

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