There is no denying the fact that Novak Djokovic has established himself as one of the greatest players in the history of Tennis. His come from behind win against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the French Open will go down in folklore as the greatest in the history of the game. His victory at the French Open has made him the only player in the sport to win all four Grand Slams twice in the Open Era. To cap it all off, Novak Djokovic had defeated Rafael Nadal in the semi-final for the Spaniard’s only third loss in 16 years at Roland Garros.
With the focus now shifting to Wimbledon, the situation presenting men’s tennis is unique. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic now are within touching distance of more history. Federer and Nadal have 20 Grand Slams, Djokovic has 19. If Djokovic wins Wimbledon, then this will his 20th title. We could see three of the greatest Tennis players level on 20 Grand Slams. That will be a record and achievement few could have fathomed when they watched the game of Tennis.
Djokovic is now over 320 weeks as the world number one in Tennis. The Serbian is the only player to have a positive head-to-head record against both Nadal and Federer. In 58 encounters with Nadal, Djokovic has a 30-28 head-to-head record against the Spaniard. Against Federer, his record is 27-23. But, it is his achievements against Federer in Wimbledon that stand out.
There are only two players who have managed to break Federer’s dominance on grass. One is Nadal and the other is Djokovic. Nadal prevented Federer from winning six consecutive Wimbledon titles when he beat him in the 2008 final in near darkness. But, since then, Djokovic has been in prime form.
The turnaround is remarkable considering Djokovic had minimal impact from 2005 to 2010 in Wimbledon. But since then, he has been on a different pedestal altogether. In Wimbledon, Djokovic has a 3-1 head-to-head record against Federer. In fact, three out of his five Wimbledon titles have come by beating Federer in the finals.
With Federer suffering defeat in Halle, it seems the year 2021 might be the last for Federer. The Swiss maestro is gunning for an unprecedented ninth Wimbledon title, something that only Martina Navratilova has accomplished in the world of tennis. However, with Djokovic riding on the high of winning the French Open for the second time, it might be difficult for Federer.
Djokovic is the only person to beat both Nadal and Federer more than twice in their favorite surfaces. Out of Nadal’s three losses in Roland Garros, two have been at the hands of Djokovic. Federer has lost three out of the four matches in Wimbledon to Djokovic, with all of them being the finals.
Federer got the better of Djokovic in the 2012 Wimbledon semifinals but since then, the tables have turned. After beating Nadal in 2011, Djokovic has won in 2014, 2015 and 2019 against Federer. Each time, the margin of victory was to the limit. Out of the three wins, Djokovic has two five-set wins. The 2019 victory went into the super tiebreaker. The wins against Federer in Wimbledon has made Djokovic mentally confident and supremely skilled in all surfaces.
Having won the French Open 2021, the future is now literally golden for Djokovic. If he participates in the Tokyo Olympics and wins gold, then he will join Nadal and Andre Agassi as the only players to have won the golden slam. Nadal is one better than Djokovic in the sense that he has won both the Olympic singles and doubles gold. Djokovic’s best performance has been a bronze medal.
If he wins Wimbledon, then Djokovic joins Federer and Nadal on 20 Grand Slams. If he wants to create history, then he can win the gold medal and the US Open to complete the golden slam, something that has been accomplished only once in the history of the sport. Steffi Graf won all four Grand Slams in 1988 in addition to the gold medal in the Seoul Olympics.
History might be repeating itself in the coming months. But, for that to happen, it may need supreme levels of fitness, focus and consistency. The fact that it has been achieved only once in the history of the game shows how hard it is. But then, Djokovic created history by winning all four Grand Slams twice in the Open Era for the men. It will not be far-fetched if Djokovic achieves the golden slam or the golden Grand Slam. But, seeing three players on 20 Grand Slams is a feat which might be unique in any sport.