Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - The quest to break men’s records intensifies

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are currently tied on 20 Grand Slam titles but it looks like only Djokovic and Nadal might be in quest for some more records.

Novak Djokovic will be gunning for a 21st Grand Slam but his missed medal in Tokyo Olympics 2020 might go against him. (Image credit: Twitter)

The Golden Grand Slam quest ended in double heartbreak for Novak Djokovic in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. After being undefeated for most of the year, Djokovic lost two consecutive games to be denied even a medal in Tokyo Olympics. Djokovic’s quest for Olympic gold has now taken a big hit, with the next Olympics scheduled in Paris in 2024. Now, the focus shifts to the Grand Slam quest for Djokovic.

Until 2024 or possibly even after, Steffi Graf’s achievement of being the only player in history to win all four Grand Slams and the Olympic gold in the same year remains unequaled. Djokovic had the right chance to level it. He had won three Grand Slam titles, became the first male player in the history of the Open Era to win all four Grand Slams twice. He is now on 20 Grand Slam titles, but his US Open aspirations now seem to have taken a big hit.

Who will win the 21st Grand Slam? Novak Djokovic or Nadal?

The exertions that Djokovic put up for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 have probably dented his chances at the US Open. The fatigue plus the motivation to do well after a grueling schedule might pave the way for Nadal to have a go for the record.

Nadal missed the Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics after falling to Djokovic in the French Open. He is now refreshed and will be gunning for a 21st Grand Slam title at the US Open. This is the Grand Slam where Nadal has had the best success after the French Open. With Nadal already winning the Olympic gold in singles and doubles, Nadal is the best bet for going ahead of Federer and Djokovic.

Federer, on the other hand, is low on confidence and is plagued by injury. He is nearing 40 and this is the time when Federer may have to consider a major step. Either he stays on 20 or continues pushing on. The disadvantage of pushing on is that he might get eliminated in the early stages. Thus, it might tarnish his legacy. Thus, the 21st Grand Slam could be up between Nadal and Djokovic in the US Open.

A new champion after the triumvirate?

Apart from Nadal, Federer, and Novak Djokovic, the new champions are fast emerging in Tennis. Alexander Zverev is already a Grand Slam finalist and now an Olympic gold medal winner. Age is not on Nadal and Federer’s side, but Djokovic has. He has more chances to win close to 25 Grand Slams, but for that, the consistency has to be sublime. On top of that, the new young crop is making rapid progress and ensuring that Djokovic and Nadal are on their toes.

Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Matteo Berrettini are some of the young guns who will step up when the Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic period ends. But, in the next couple of years, Djokovic and Nadal might continue their domination alternatively. Djokovic will go to 21 if he wins the US Open. He will be the second after Rod Laver to win the Grand Slam in the Open Era.

With the Australian Open firmly in Djokovic’s grasp, the chances that he might overhaul even Margaret Court’s record cannot be ruled out. But, a dip in form is inevitable in the long run. Before that happens, Djokovic would be determined to create some more records. He might want to amass some numbers which many might not be able to achieve.

Can records be broken?

Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer have already broken so many records in men’s tennis. The expectation of more records from them speaks volumes about their brilliance. But, time may be running out for Federer. Nadal and Djokovic can gun for more than 20 Grand Slams. But, the change of guard might take place around 2022.

Nadal will be over 35 at that time while Djokovic will be nearing the time when others figure out his game. The quest for gold in Tokyo Olympics might have opened the door for the youngsters to ensure that their time is now.

Sportslumo Desk

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